Tom Vendetti always thought of the talents of Christopher Hedge and Paul Horn for composing the soundtrack from the moment he accepted the invitation to film in Bhutan.
I have worked with Paul Horn and Christopher Hedge on several documentary films. They are a remarkable team,” says Tom Vendetti. “I was first introduced to their music when they released the Grammy nominated album ‘Traveler.’”
“Many of my films take place in exotic and remote areas around the world such as Tibet, Fiji, Cambodia and Bhutan,” he continues, “and their music is presented in a way that is culturally sensitive and appealing to the western ear. Because Paul and Christopher are world travelers and mindful of the importance of culture, the music is composed through them as opposed by them. They use natural sounds recorded on location and then build a soundtrack around them. The natural sounds maybe nuns chanting in Nepal, or large horns being blown in Tibet, or simply the wind blowing in the Himalaya Mountains. From these sounds a musical composition is composed taking the listener on a wonderful journey. Their music has brought my films to life and has given them the audio substance needed to create award-winning films. Put simply, it is an honor to have them as part of my team,” he concludes.
“In the soundtrack, I wanted to build music that bridges the viewer from West to East,” says composer Christopher Hedge, “that specifically has the internal perspective of a traveler in a land that he is fascinated but unfamiliar with.”
To that end, Christopher included collaborations he did with Paul Horn and Bhutan’s national maestro Jigme Drukpa as well as ceremonial chanting, peoples’ voices and other national sounds he collected in Bhutan during a field recording trip and concert performance. “But by including the sounds of Bhutan, I only want to contextualize the music, to respect its inherent sense of place and yet, frame it in an attitude of a traveler’s observations,” he continues. “The idea was never to imitate or try to emulate that which I didn’t understand but to react artistically nevertheless.”
There was another aspect of both the film and soundtrack that interested the composer. “Bhutan is observing us too making decisions about how to accept a world that is pressuring them on all borders geographically, politically and philosophically,” he reflects. “The music in this sense leaves an undivided, questioning tone that has both a background of excitement as well as caution and trepidation.
“Musically, as I move through the composition, I hope to feel the common ground and the hope we share for a positive relationship,” he continues. “I can’t compose this kind of collaboration intellectually or formally. It is a reaction; it is blind, ignorant, innocent and inevitable. Ultimately, I will not be the author. It creates itself by itself, by inertia. It doesn’t exist, it never was; there is no context yet. At best, I hope to enable the music to happen,” concludes the composer.