So, there’s this scene in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Newt Scamander, Jacob Kowalski and Tina and Queenie Goldstein visit a speakeasy for reasons pertaining to their adventure. The venue is called The Blind Pig. It’s dark, seedy, and the perfect sanctuary for witches and wizards looking for a drink. Remember, this film is set slap-bang in the middle of the No-Maj Prohibition era.
Newt, Tina, Queenie and Jacob go about their business, ordering shots of Gigglewater as a petite goblin entertains the patrons with a song – and for the moments she’s on screen, you can’t take your eyes off her. You forget, for a moment, what’s going on in the plot. ‘Whose voice is that?’ you think, in awe.
That voice belongs to an artist called Emmi. That song is called ‘Blind Pig.’ It was written by J.K. Rowling and composer Mario Grigorov, and here it is, in full for the first time:
Emmi told me that the process of recording this song was extremely mysterious. She first recorded the track without knowing where it might end up or for whom she was working. Her only clues were the words ‘Hippogriff’ and ‘Phoenix’ in the lyrics. She didn’t even know why the song was called ‘Blind Pig’ until the trailer for the film came out.
‘I knew the song was called ‘Blind Pig’ but I had no idea why, because there’s no mention of a pig in it,’ she said. ‘I now know it’s because that’s the name of the speakeasy, but I found that fact out online like everybody else. I thought it was some codename to cover up what the song was about. It’s been like a hilarious mystery.’
Emmi came to understand the scale of this film when she turned up to a recording session at Abbey Road Studios. While she was there, she listened to an orchestra play the film’s theme song, composed by James Newton Howard. Like me, she was transfixed by it.
‘The recording was amazing,’ she told me. ‘I cry when I hear a cello, so it was just too much for me. The music is just stunning in the movie. Men like James are superhuman to me; writing dots on a page and bringing it to life. Every moment of the film has so much knowledge and passion poured into it. I was flying for a week afterwards because that’s what I want to be part of: creating something that lifts you up in the world.’