The new Paddington movie is every bit as clever as it seems in the previews. The Little Made Man had a blast with it, giggling all the way through. One of the things that caught my attention, was the calypso band that is featured throughout the movie. I thought it was a little strange that a calypso band, complete with steel drums and bongos, would be playing in the snowy streets of London, but I liked it. The scenes with the band even felt a little bit “Miami-ish.” My next thought was, “Well, maybe Paddington Bear likes calypso music?” Or maybe it was that Michael Bond (the author of the Paddington series ) had a thing for it?” Yet bongos and bears don’t really seem to go together, at least that’s what I thought. I needed to know more.
I found this excellent post about the story behind Paddington’s calypso songs on the BBC New’s website. Turns out the Paddington Movie Soundtrack is “packed with calypso songs which hark back to the music of the immigrant community who were settling in Notting Hill – where Paddington bear makes his home – around the time when Michael Bond began writing his classic children’s books. (“A Bear Called Paddington” was first published in 1958.)
“One of the songs Paul King, the film’s director, heard was Lord Kitchener’s “London is the Place for Me.” Lord Kitchener, real name Aldwyn Roberts, was a Trinidadian musician among the passengers on the Empire Windrush, the ship which brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to the UK in 1948.” According to the film’s production notes, “the on-screen music was a hugely important aspect of the film to Paul [King].” The inclusion of “London is the Place for Me” preformed by D Lime, is one of the highlights of the soundtrack.
“Paddington is certainly an outsider and he’s trying to find a home,” explains King. “There’s something special about London. Without trying to be political about it, big cities can feel like safe places for people who feel a little bit different.
If you have unusual tastes in music or fashion, or you’re from a different group of people, big cities – certainly when I was growing up – felt like an exciting place to go because you could find like-minded people.”
Paddington Bear and Calypso? Who knew?
PADDINGTON follows the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to fear that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the Brown family. They read the hand-written label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him tea, a name and a roof over his head. It looks as though Paddington’s luck has changed – until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a sinister museum taxidermist who has an old score to settle…
PADDINGTON is based on the best-selling and internationally adored series of children’s stories by British author Michael Bond, from an original screenplay by filmmaker Paul King.
The cast of PADDINGTON is led by Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington, Hugh Bonneville, as uptight patriarch Mr. Brown and Sally Hawkins as the kindly and free-spirited Mrs. Brown. Starring alongside them is Nicole Kidman as Millicent, a sinister taxidermist with her eye on Paddington, Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber, antique shop owner and wise mentor, Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird, the Browns’ eccentric housekeeper, and Peter Capaldi as Mr. Curry, their crotchety, curtain-twitching neighbor. Rounding out this esteemed ensemble are Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton, as the voices of Paddington’s Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy. The film also features Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris as the Brown children Jonathan and Judy, who welcome in the lost bear and find their own lives changed forever.
Paddington opens in Miami and nationwide January 16th.
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