Here you have the second special article of the 7th edition of the Movie Score Malaga – MOSMA festival, dedicated to the concert “Cobra Kai Symphony”, which featured the participation of its composers Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg.
The article comes from the hand of our friend and collaborator Asier G. Senarriaga, admirer of the Cobra Kai series and great connoisseur of its music.
July 8, Friday, the second day of concerts during MOSMA 2022, and a fascinating musical experience came from the composers of the Cobra Kai saga, Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg, along with a symphonic Suite of the origin of its main characters, the trilogy ‘The Karate Kid’, by the incomparable Bill Conti, who gifted the audience with a video from Los Angeles, presenting this Suite and thanking the affection of the fans.
From hesitant beginnings in terms of audience on YouTubeRed a few years ago for its first and second seasons, to Netflix’s acquisition of the show, investing in its stories and in the nostalgic interest of the film buffs and lovers of the original trilogy, but without losing sight of updating the material to today’s world, Cobra Kai has transformed into a massive and deserved success.
Its music, vibrant, eclectic, respectful of the legacy and at the same time brave and powerful, has crossed borders and continents. Now, it has arrived in Spain for this Absolute World Premiere, with a triumphant, exciting, and, above all, passionate rock symphony, culminating the musical story of the definitive confrontation between Miyagi Do Karate and Cobra Kai Dojo. And that is the moment in which an eternal enmity will be transformed into friendship and sacrifice, and in the hands of Zach and Leo, we will discover…
The Moment of Truth
As a prologue to the beginning of the concert, the surprise was brought to us by the original creator of the world of the Valley, Bill Conti, with his music telling us the story of Miyagi, Daniel Larusso, Johnny Lawrence, Kreese, Terry Silver and the rivalry between abusers and people who draw a line, “this is it, I won’t tolerate it any further” rebelling against injustice and abuse of the weak.
Unforgettable melodies, full of epic, sensitivity and lyricism, fanfares of triumph and redemption, and a lavish and magical musical rendition of the soul of these films; “Training Hard”, “The Moment of Truth”, goosebumps of genuine and sincere emotion. Great suite created by the Ferrando Brothers.
Then it was time for Zach Robinson on electric guitar, Leo Birenberg on keyboards, EWI and bansuri, Nacho Doña on synthesizer, Pedro Valdivielso on drums, Salvador Benitez on guitar, and a sensational Pablo Florido on electric bass, together with the incredible and dedicated voices of Noelia Franco and Luis Regidor, and under the dexterous and extraordinary baton of Isabel Rubio, to take us on a magical journey with the accurate and triumphant interpretation of the Symphonic Orchestra of Malaga and the Chamber Choir of Granada leading the way.
That night, the immersion in the music of Cobra Kai was total on the part of the fans, who, if it had been possible, would have danced along with the performers. Such was their ability to transmit sensations, through retentive melodies, powerful rhythms, and overwhelming songs that have accompanied us for almost forty years now.
The concert offered a chronological musical and narrative account of the four seasons of the television series, with the following program (in brackets the season in which each piece is set):
From the first season Zach and Leo rescued for us the rock pieces “Awake the Snake”, “Ace Degenerate”, and “Strike First”, which together with “Quiver” (we believe extended with material from the still unreleased fifth season) made our feet move to the rhythm of the central themes of the series. The “Miyagi Suite” served as a lyrical and emotional counterpoint, with the memory of the Maestro of Okinawa with ecstatic strings and solos of ethnic instruments.
As vibrant examples of the second season, more focused on action, we find the percussive “Hallway Hellscape” and the lyrical love theme of “Sam and Robby”, as a relaxation before the symphonic rock macro explosion that followed, without a moment to breathe since then.
The third season arrived with the madness of guitars, drums, and bass giving their all in “Miyagi Metal”, with which the hearts of the audience already began to beat with intensity before the increasingly powerful rhythms, while the choir entered and prepared to make us reach ecstasy with the sensational “Crane Technique” and the superlative “Duel of the Snakes”. In them, the integration of the choral voices with an excellent polyphony of melodies that were intertwined, gave greatness and character to the story they accompany, reflected in the first tears of emotion among the audience.
Zach, Isabel, Leo and each and every one of the musicians, made us dance in our seats and at the same time accompany the rhythm with our neck and head, in moments like “Return to Okinawa” (magical), “Challenger” (apotheosis) or already from the fourth season, “A Storm of Senseis”, to then give way to the grandiose symphonic explosion of “It’s Karate Time”.
Shivers of emotion were felt by hundreds in the audience, while Zach and Leo reached the Valhalla of perfection with some overwhelming orchestrations extolled by the solo musicians, in absolute state of grace. The arabesques on guitar between Zach and Pablo Florido on bass were legendary, and the orchestra, not wanting to be less, reached unparalleled heights of greatness in the concluding “Bonsai Badass Suite” & “The Fight I Have to Face” (both of which we believe contain unreleased material from the fifth installment in their developments). To finish this fabulous night, Noelia Franco and Luis Regidor reached a biblical level of greatness, with their extraordinary vocal interpretation of “The Moment of Truth”.
Tears of pure emotion, a standing ovation from the entire theater in unbridled communion and delivery, and a total satisfaction in each and every one of the attendees concluded a night, which we ardently hope will have continuity in future years with a “Cobra Kai Returns” to Malaga.
An experience that we all lived with excitement and emotion, including a close, friendly, and incredibly kind and affectionate with the fans: Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg, who took pictures with everyone who asked, signed CDs, posters, and t-shirts, and won, not only as musicians, but as what they are, extraordinary people, an audience that vibrated like never before, which was rewarded with more than expected.
As the Cobra Kai Dojo motto says,
they struck first, they struck hard, no mercy.
And they made us, very happy.
Article by Asier G. Senarriaga
Pictures by Rafa Melgar & Gorka Oteiza