Senegalese drums and S. African talent in soundtrack

The African utopia of Wakanda, home ground of Black Panther, might be fictional. But the rich background score of the film as well as the accompanying soundtrack add yet another layer that makes the universe created on-screen feel real.

The score draws heavily on West African influences, while the critically acclaimed soundtrack, curated by Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, draws on the music styles of South Africa.

The score's composer is Sweden-born Ludwig Goransson, who told entertainment magazine Variety that he spent 21/2 weeks in Senegal accompanying singer-guitarist Baaba Maal on tour.

He was introduced to other Senegalese musicians, such as Massamba Diop, with many of them eventually performing on the soundtrack.

Perhaps the most distinctive sound is of six Senegalese talking drums, which are heard every time the protagonist, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), is on screen.

Instruments such as a traditional sabar drum, an African harp called a kora and a vuvuzela - more commonly associated with sporting events - were used during challenge scenes.

Meanwhile, Lamar's soundtrack veers into modern territory, highlighting talent from South Africa.

One of the songs, Redemption, features Californian singer-songwriter Zacari alongside South African singer Babes Wodumo. Wodumo is a proponent of the gqom, a style of house music with roots straight out of the clubs in Durban.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg-based rapper Yugen Blakrok features in a spitfire verse on the track Opps, over a dark, thumping tribal drumbeat and klaxons. The song was remixed and sped up in a blistering car-chase scene set in Busan, South Korea.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 25, 2018, with the headline 'Senegalese drums and S. African talent in soundtrack'. Print Edition | Subscribe