Opetaia Foa‘i is the founder and lead singer of Te Vaka, is a winner of numerous world music awards, including the Senior Pacific Artist award for his contribuon to Pacific music.
I participated in the Moana Press Event in Santa Monica and enjoyed listening to him talk about his involvement with the music in Moana.
Opetaia enjoyed working with the musical team of Lin-Manual Miranda and Mark Mancina on the music for Moana. He said that Lin is very good with lyrics and directing and Mark is very experienced. Even though Opetaia doesn’t read music he is able to write from emotion because he can grab a scene and get the emotion out of it very quickly.
His favorite instrument is a box or a wooden floor. When he would collaborate with Lin and Mark he would use a box to start laying out the feel for the music. He said he can find the tune by just feeling it and then expand the sound from there.
He said there are chants and a lot of drums when telling the stories of ancient Polynesia. When he saw the finished movie with the music he said that it was beautiful because the animation and the story are incredible together. His ancestors would be proud of the movie.
His children are members of his band Te Vaka. Two of his sons are Percussionists and his daughter Olivia is a singer, she sings the melody in the opening Castle animation.
Video from the World Premiere of Moana where Te Vaka performed at the El Capitan Theatre “We Know the Way” before the movie started.
The song that had the most meaning to Opetaia on the Soundtrack is “We Know the Way.” It was the first song written in 2015 by Opetaia Foa’i and Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is performed by them as well. I cried when I saw this part of the movie because it is such a moving point in the story.
The Moana two-disc deluxe edition feature additional tracks including demos, outtakes and instrumental karaoke tracks. The Deluxe version is a MUST for any Lin-Manuel Miranda fan. There are demos song by him on the Deluxe version.
Lin-Manuel also performs demos and outtakes of the following songs that are only available on the Deluxe version:
- Warrior Face
- Where You Are
- You’re Welcome
More details about the soundtrack can be found here “Moana Soundtrack Details and Clips”
It was a pleasure interviewing Opetaia Foa’i to learn more about his journey to his success with Moana.
Check out these other Moana posts from the press junket.
- The Spirit of Polynesia Sails into Hollywood for the Moana Premiere
- Go on an Adventure with Moana – Film review of Moana
- Interview with Dwayne Johnson (Maui)
- Interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Music by)
- Interview with Auli’i Cravalho (Moana)
- Moana Merchandise
Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, is a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome. Charismatic and funny, he wields a magical fishhook that allows him to shapeshift into all kinds of animals and pull up islands from the sea.
During her journey, Moana (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) meets the once-mighty demigod Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson), who guides her in her quest to become a master wayfinder.
Together, they sail across the open ocean on an action-packed voyage, encountering enormous monsters and impossible odds, and along the way, Moana fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors and discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity.
MOANA is now playing everywhere!
Visit the official MOANA website
Disclaimer: Disney invited 5 Minutes for Mom (and me) to Los Angeles to attend the Moana Press Junket. All expenses have been paid by Disney, but all opinions are always 100% my own.
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