British Columbia

The Force Awakens to feature new take on famous Cantina scene

The Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars is perhaps the galaxy's most famous hive of scum and villainy. But when it appears in The Force Awakens, it'll have a new take on the old music.

Oota goota, reader? (translation: Going somewhere, reader?)

The Star Wars Cantina band: a.k.a. Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes (Wookiepedia)

Star Wars fans will all know and love the Mos Eisley Cantina as the original hive of scum and villainy, but when the backwater dive appears on the silver screen again in The Force Awakens, there will be a key difference: This time around, the Cantina band will not be there, and long-time Star Wars composer John Williams will not be writing the music for the scene.

Instead, the music will be written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose musical Hamilton is currently earning rave reviews on Broadway.

And while Vancouver music educator Alan Matheson has no inside knowledge about the change in music at the most famous bar in a galaxy far, far away, he does say that the original Star Wars Cantina music is a very influential piece.

"So many of my students grew up in the world of Star Wars, so to speak. It's a really popular piece and it's been arranged for concert bands in junior high schools and college ensembles," he told On The Coast's Lisa Christiansen.

"I like to think that it might be the introduction to jazz for some people, because it's a very 1920s style of jazz tune, with a little bit of electronic magic to make it sound a little different. … It sounds like intergalactic New Year's Eve!"

What Matheson likes about the tune is that it's not like a lot of other nightclub tunes in movies: It's high-energy and upbeat, but also played in a minor key, which he says gives it a bit of a "sinister" quality.

When asked to put himself in Miranda's shoes, if he were to write music for a new Cantina scene, he admits it would be a big, intimidating task.

"It's almost like introducing a new character to the plotline. So it'll be interesting to see what Miranda does," he said.

Straight from the Force's mouth

Wookiepedia is widely-known as the best source of info about the Star Wars universe. Here are some facts from that website about the Cantina band and their music:

  • The name of the Cantina band is Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. The band was portrayed by some of Star Wars' make-up artists wearing rubber masks.
  • Their species is Bith and they hail from the planet Clak'dor VII.
  • They are a seven-piece group with instruments like the Dorenian beshniquel, kloo horn, fanfar, ommni box and double jonimer.
  • They are members in good standing with the Intergalactic Federation of Musicians.
  • The in-universe name of the famous "Cantina song" is "Mad About Me."

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Star Wars Cantina to appear in The Force Awakens with new take on music

With files from Lisa Christiansen