The “Narval” Music


Music and sound are central to the “Narval’s” community building and to building bridges with outsiders like SEYMOUR. We show their playing onscreen and their music threads through the scenes in “Little Narval.”

One of the first things we did during pre-production was to meet with jazz musician and composer, Jon Irabagon. Jon had composed new music and lent existing tracks to our documentary, PAINTING THE WAY TO THE MOON (2015). We wanted to see if he’d be interested in composing a piece for ANYA.

In April 2017, we sat with Jon over coffee to talk story and music. As a Filipino-American, he understood immediately the combination of immigrants’ hope for a new future and longing for their old home that we hoped the theme song would evoke. As he composed, he considered the Narval’s backstory and investigated sounds that would an appropriate mix of old (Narval Island) and new (Queens, NYC) and interwove them as the song progresses from traditional to modern and back again. Jon's empathy for the Narvals' struggle to bridge multiple cultures at once is clear in the Narval Theme Song. We couldn’t be more pleased with the Narval Theme Song that is at turns beautifully mournful and thrillingly exuberant. It captures the spirit of the Narval.

Jon later came to set to help our “Narval” extras and actors synch to his music. You can even catch a glimpse of Jon playing sax in SARA’s bookstore.

Brief bio: Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition (2008), Jon has performed and/or recorded with musical luminaries such as Billy Joel, Wynton Marsalis, and Herbie Hancock. Solo or with his quintet Outright!, his composition and improvisation embrace the history of jazz while pushing boundaries. His most recent release is “Dr. Quixotic’s Traveling Exotics” (2018).

jacob okada