John Barnes
Original Music Composition

The Credits | Cinematic Style | Audio Samples

John Barnes is a composer/producer/arranger/musician who has collaborated with a variety of acclaimed artists. Some other popular musicians he’s worked with include Marvin Gaye, Quincy Jones, Herb Alpert, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie and the Pointer Sisters.

For the soundtrack of DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST he has assembled an impressive collection of musicians and styles to evoke the magic and mystery of the film’s theme.

In composing the soundtrack, Barnes spanned the continents and musical genres by using a myriad of instruments, including the synclavier, he Middle Eastern santour, African bata drums and African talking drums. He successfully mixed the synclavier-based percussion with authentic music from Africa, India and the Middle East.

One of the composer’s aims was to depict various religions – including traditional West African worship ritual, Santeria, Islam, Catholicism and Baptist beliefs – through musical expression.

Barnes drew from his own spiritual beliefs – which include a respect for astrology – in composing music for DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST. For instance, he wrote the UNBORN CHILD’S THEME in the key of “B,” the key of Libra , representing balance and justice, he says, because “this character was coming into the world to impart justice, a healing, upon her father and mother and her family”.

Similarly, he wrote NANA’S THEME in the key of “A,” representing the Age of Aquarius, or the new age that was imminent for Nana’s family.

The film’s closing theme, called then ELEGBA THEME, was written in the key of Taurus, “D” sharp (or “E” flat). Barnes says, “It is the key of the Earth, the key ruled by love.” The lyrics, Ago Elegba,” “….show the way, Elegba…” he says, “are about people moving forward after having been given love and dignity and now facing the crossroads.”

Barnes says, “In the African Diaspora, we all feel what each other does…whether we know the people, understand the language or know the culture.” The music of DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST has resonance, a transcendence that aims to make audiences feel the Pazant family’s story, even as they view it.