New Disney Show Represents Lebanese Culture and Who is Leila Milki
By: Ala Abed-Rabbo/Arab America Contributing Writer
A New Disney Show Representing Lebanese Culture and Featuring Music by Leila Milki
“The Rocketeer,” is a new Disney Junior’s animated TV series that celebrates Lebanese culture and food displays an episode that is named “Recipe For Disaster.”
The show is an appealing and empowering re-creation of the original 1991 movie, but this time, highlighting a female character, Kit Secord, a seven-year-old who learns that she is to become The Rocketeer, a superhero who flies, and Sareena Secord, her Lebanese mother, that is voiced by Kathy Ann Najimy, a Lebanese American actress and comedian, serves Mediterranean cuisine.
Besides, Beau Black, the Disney show’s Emmy-nominated composer, asked Leila Milki, a Lebanese American singer, songwriter, composer, and classical-pop pianist to write and sing an original song, dubbed “Enjoy Your Meal,” for the sequence’s ninth episode, “Recipe for Disaster;” the episode was shown on January 24, 2020, on Disney Junior and Disney Channel.
Nicole Dubuc wrote the lyrics of the song that contained Lebanese dishes in its verses (“Kibbeh, tahini, baba ganouj/hummus, loubieh, kousa, Fattoush/Muttabal, halaweh, mujadara, ma’ moul/mouhalabieh, labneh, fatayer wa ful”). Such was concluded in an Arabic/English repetition: “Ahla wa sahla, (Welcome, welcome!), and Sa7a wa Hana, (Enjoy your meal)!
According to Milki, “This is my first placement on a TV show and a perfect union of my worlds. It’s an honor to have composed and performed this music, in celebration of my heritage.”
The Recording of the Song and Episode Scheme Summary
Beau Black produced the song and the soundtrack, presented singing parts, piano, and an original tune/musical preparation composed by Leila Milki. Lebanese drum player, Marc El Khoury, was also showcased on Doumbek and drumming.
The episode shows as follows: Kit and Sareena have made some well-known food from Grandma Sitti’s recipe that generations have used. Cast-Iron Chef, a food truck chef, visits Hughesville. Then, Kit and Sareena disagree to share the secret ingredients, so the cook tries to take them without anyone knowing to better his business. Kit, the Rocketeer, must save the cookbook and tell on Cast-Iron Chef’s plan.
Moreover, the episode starts with Katherine (Kit) Secord saying good morning to her Lebanese grandmother “Sitti” and announces that it is “Lebanese lunch day,” while she greets a portrait of her and takes out a precious family cookbook (featuring Lebanon’s emblematic cedar) from a drawer at her mother Sareena’s diner. The kit promises that she and her mother will protect Sitti’s recipe-book as they always do.
Milki’s song prompts, as the recording when Kit and Sareena’s prepared baba ghanoush. The song is played two times in the episode: minute 01:01-02:12, and 11:50-12:08.
Leila Milki resides in Los Angeles, California, and works hard to translate her energetic, wide-ranging, and multilingual creativity into an open platform for emotional and cultural empowerment.
Milki says, “I’m grateful that Disney has used its platform to represent Lebanese culture, with its unique close-knit families, one-of-a-kind recipes, infectious rhythms, and of course…its inspiring women across generations.”
In addition, as an evolving innovative artist with an Arab background, she mergers rich cultural traditions with modern pop-alternative styling, and includes Arabic, English, French, and Spanish into her presentations. “Promises,” is her self-written debut album, and is available worldwide.
In 2012, in the summertime, Leila won the gigg.com Once Upon Another Time Cover Contest; this made her have a Skype conversation with Grammy-nominated artist, Sara Bareilles, who motivated her to follow her passion as an enduring skill.
In September of 2014, she was asked to write the lyrics of the music for “Boys’ Toys,” a documentary discovering the depiction of women in video games. Also, in October, she was presented as Star Central Magazine’s “Female Artist of the Month.”
More About Leila Milki
Since she was four years of age, Leila began taking classical piano lessons. In December of 2011, she then went on to pursue her higher education in the practical and theoretical program of the Royal Conservatory of Music, earning her ARCT Diploma in Piano Performance (the corresponding of a college degree).
Leila’s seamless pitch allowed her to learn tunes for any event and setting, such as weddings, proposals, business functions, private parties, restaurants, and hotel/resort lounges, as she likes accepting requests from visitors on the spot.
Also, she is striving to make a name for herself in the Lebanese American communal, sharing her roots pride through her acts at red carpet events, festivals, conventions, charity dinners, regional gatherings, and more.
In all, “Today, Leila regularly incorporates her skills as a pianist into her professional life.” She has since joined her previous training with her love for famous styles to pile together an original blend of performance, validity, and accessibility in her playing.
Moreover, she is also the keyboardist for various Los Angeles artists, and she is available for live shows, studio soundtracks, video shoots, and tours.
See an Arab America Related Story about Milki here!