Catherine Called Birdy is a medieval comedy film written and directed by Lena Dunham, based on the 1994 novel of the same name by Karen Cushman. It stars Bella Ramsey as the title character, alongside Billie Piper, Andrew Scott, Lesley Sharp, Joe Alwyn, and more. Catherine Called Birdy debuted at the 2022 Toronto Music Festival and is now playing on Prime Video.
Award-winning composer Carter Burwell contributes an original score performed by GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth, whose vocal performances provide the foundation for the film’s larger sonic landscape. Also included on the soundtrack are 7 cover songs, which have been reinterpreted in the Medieval tradition by executive music producers Luis Felber and Matt Alchin and performed by UK singer-songwriter Misty Miller.
Of the soundtrack, director Lena Dunham says, “I spent years trying to work with the iconic Carter Burwell. Apparently he was seduced by the idea of a period piece about getting your period- period period music, and he had always wanted to do an all choral score. The result, melded with Luis Felber and Matt Allchin’s Medieval iterations of songs that evoke teen emotion, evokes the most teenage emotions in me. Misty Miller becomes the troubadour who narrates Birdy’s inner life. The song selection- music that reminds me of the intensity and power of adolescence- is a tribute to Birdy’s inner life and the power of the teenage girl as a timeless icon of strength and wild inspiration. I hope it has you singing in harmony with yourself.”
“It’s unusual for me to read a script and not only know what the music should be, but who should perform it,” adds composer Carter Burwell. “On reading Lena’s script, I immediately thought it should be a vocal score, both to avoid the question of using medieval instruments and to put us directly inside Birdy’s head, and it should be performed by Roomful of Teeth, who could make it both idiosyncratic and beautiful. It was huge thrill to work with both Lena and these amazing musicians on this score.”
Catherine Called Birdy is now playing in select theaters and on Prime Video.