Composer Yalil Guerra scores Univision’s World Cup theme

Composer Yalil Guerra

Cuban-born composer and Sibelius user Yalil Guerra has arranged, orchestrated and co-produced the theme music that will accompany the coverage of this summer’s football World Cup on America’s primary Spanish-language television network, Univision, and I got in touch with him to find out more about this project.

Yalil Guerra first trained as a classical guitarist, but for the past twenty years he has been composing, arranging and producing music for television in the US, and he has worked with Univision for nearly a decade. “I have in my portfolio the composition and production of the theme music for the Latin Grammy Awards, and other prominent shows on the network such as Premio lo Nuestro, Viva el Sueño, Premius Juventud, and many more,” he says. “At the same time, I have an active career as a classical composer, and have had works premiered in Europe and the Americas, including by wonderful ensembles like the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.”

With this year’s World Cup coming from South Africa, I asked Yalil whether the rich musical tradition of the continent had played a part in the music he wrote. “Yes, the work starts with an African section, with energetic rhythms and chants,” he says. “After the intro, the song starts with a techno-style arrangement, and aggressive, modern-sounding brass, with two trumpets and trombones, both sections doubled, performed by some of the best musicians in Los Angeles, where I live.”

Most of the people watching Univision will be rooting for the teams from the American continent that will be participating in the competition, including the US, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, and Brazil. There must be a Latin-American feell to the music too. “In the middle of the song, the music travels to Brazil,” says Yalil. “A Batacuda-style section, with surdo, cuica, tambourine, repique and agogos, creating a Carnaval atmosphere that again ends with the techno part. The main chants then return, until the brass again enters, building to the finale.”

Yalil uses Sibelius as his main software. “I have been using Sibelius for nearly three years now for composition, arranging and printing parts. I am very pleased with the user interface, how easy to use it is – the program simply works.”

Yalil’s theme music will be heard daily on Univision once the World Cup kicks off in 99 days! If you want to know more about Yalil and his other music, check out his web site.

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