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Striking The Right Note
Complementing the film is an eclectic and evocative soundtrack with selections representing each decade from the story's 60-year time span. A delicious offering of blues, rock, traditional gospel, updated romantic classics and spicy Cajun tracks, each song rings true to the Ya-Yas' distinctly southern roots and helps define significant moments of their lives.

Produced by multiple Grammy Award-winning producer and musician T Bone Burnett, this diverse collection of songs was compiled by Burnett with help from noted composer David Mansfield and director Callie Khouri, who tapped into the musical rhythms of her own Texas and Kentucky background to find pieces with precisely the right resonance for each scene. More than a retrospective of popular tunes of the day, it was essential to Khouri that the soundtrack was authentic to the region and to the characters. "These are songs that Vivi, Necie, Teensy and Caro would likely have listened to and danced to," she says. "When I hear this music, I imagine being in the room with them."

Together, Khouri and Burnett spent more than a year reviewing hundreds of CDs. When it came time to narrow the field, Khouri found their instincts to be remarkably in sync. "We instantly spoke the same language," she recalls of the collaborative effort. "Our musical sensibilities and taste overlapped."

Khouri listened to the music while writing her screenplay, and by the time production began she was already sure about some of the selections, for example, Taj Mahal's rendition of the Fats Waller classic Keeping Out of Mischief Now, and the beautiful Dimming of the Day, by Richard and Linda Thompson. "I didn't know exactly where they would go," says Khouri, "but there was no doubt they would be in the film."

The Taj Mahal piece is heard at young Vivi's big birthday party, where the blues legend himself plays a cameo as a bandleader. Dimming of the Day, Khouri explains, "was re-arranged to add more strings to the original guitar and banjo, and underscores beautifully a poignant scene in which Ellen Burstyn as Vivi, alone in her garden one night, does an impromptu dance that reminds her of her childhood."

Likewise, Ann Savoy's French Cajun tracks provide the right mix of passion, high spirits and haunting ambiguity to a party where Ashley Judd as Vivi learns her fiancé is going to war, and later, legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson's Walk in Jerusalum adds inspiration to a scene in which young mother Vivi and little Sidda share an intensely joyful hour soaring in the sky on a prop plane ride.

Two original songs make their debut on the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood soundtrack. Waitin' for You was composed and performed especially for the film by Bob Dylan, a longtime friend and associate of Burnett and Mansfield from their days touring together with Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review. Dylan wrote Waitin' for You after seeing an early screening, and it plays over the film's end credits. Lauryn Hill, who stormed the 1999 Grammy Awards with 11 nominations and a record-breaking five awards for her first album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, contributed Selah, a soul-baring song about redemption.

Backed for the first time by a big band with a 12-piece horn section, assembled by Burnett, and using old-fashioned microphones for a subtle vintage sound, critically acclaimed vocalist Macy Gray recorded Billie Holidays' My Mother's Son in Law, an upbeat song with a touch of humor, just right for a scene in which the young Ya-Yas cut loose one humid summer night by driving around in their pajamas in a convertible with the top down to cool off.

Music legend Tony Bennett's contribution to the soundtrack, a soulful rendition of a Nat King Cole song, If Yesterd


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