PR: Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema


South Africa's Official Submission For The 2009 Academy Awards Foreign Language Category

Features Original Music By Alan Lazar

(June 2, 2010- Los Angeles, CA) - Lakeshore Records will release Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema -- Original Soundtrack, available digitally on June 15, 2010. Alan Lazar (An American Crime, Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss) composed the original score. The film was written and directed by Ralph Ziman (Hearts and Minds, The Zookeeper).

South African-born Alan Lazar was a natural choice to compose the music for the film, which is set in Johannesburg. Lazar was a child prodigy who wrote arrangements for and conducted the National Symphony Orchestra. He enjoyed enormous success with the platinum-selling multiracial group, Mango Groove. He penned the 1996 South African Song of the Year, "African Dream", also a hit in Europe, recently performed at the inauguration of South Africa's second democratic president.

Alan Lazar has written music for more than 30 feature films and TV programs, including festival Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and the Emmy award winning Sex and the City. He also moonlights as a director. His feature, Purpose starring Mia Farrow, Paul Reiser, Peter Coyote, Hal Holbrook, John Light and Jeffrey Donovan, was sold for worldwide distribution to Lakeshore Entertainment.

"What's unique about the Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema score," said Lazar, "is the way in which we combined a classical Hollywood orchestral suspense score with unique African instruments and rhythms. The director, Ralph Ziman, wanted the tension and drama of an action thriller, but didn't want the score to sound just like Bourne Identity. He wanted it to match the unique African milieu in which the story is set."

The music was recorded both in South Africa and in Los Angeles. The sessions began in South Africa with a 12-piece African drumming ensemble, led by Godfrey Mgcina. It was recorded at the SABC (South African Broadcast Corporation), in an apartheid era orchestral hall originally intended to record symphony orchestras. "Multi-instrumentalist Mosoeu Ketlele provided us with the sound of many unique ethnic instruments, including amanzi, storotoro, mbira and even a cut-off garden hose swung in the air, to produce a unique flutey sound," Lazar said. "Vocalists Sipho Nxumalo and Beaulah Hashe, with their unique plaintive voices, performed melodies I had written with my lyricist, Marilyn Nokwe."

"Musically, our challenge was to combine the improvisational style of many African musicians, who do not use sheet music, with the formal music training of Hollywood symphony musicians," Lazar described. The composer transported the hard drive of materials to Los Angeles, and the sessions continued with a 50-piece ensemble, "with an emphasis on double basses and French horns. There were no violins! Somehow, they sounded strange on top of the African sounds."

Inspired by a true story, Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema is an unflinching look into the crime, corruption and the transgressions of those looking to survive in the most crime-infested district of Johannesburg.

Starting off with simple smash and grabs, and petty crime, Lucky Kunene (Tsotsi's Rapulana Seiphemo) quickly graduates to more aggressive heists such as armed robbery and carjacking. Soon, Lucky realizes he needs a bigger score to fulfill his goals of making it big, and escaping from the slums, to a dream house by the sea. Kunene hatches an elaborate and violent plan to make his fortune - hijacking buildings from landlords of Johannesburg tenements by winning the favor of the tenants and then holding their rent hostage from the landowners. His high-profile real estate acquisitions attract the attention of the local police force who have no qualms about using unprovoked brutality to bring him down. His trouble with the law, coupled with an escalating war between a local drug lord, creates a tense standoff: both sides are closing in and Kunene must stay one step ahead - or his empire, and his life, will come crashing down.

Anchor Bay Films presents a Ralph Ziman film, Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema, in select theaters on June 11, 2010. Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema - Original Soundtrack on Lakeshore Records will be released digitally on June 15, 2010.


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