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Disney’s “Encanto” scores big with fans and Santa Barbara musician

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The News Channel 3-12 team shines the spotlight on a Santa Barbara musician who squeezed his way into the hearts of movie-goers, worldwide.

You might not recognize his face, but if you're a Disney fan, you'll definitely recognize Brian Mann's musical touch on the accordion in two popular movies. 

"Encanto" accordion clip (Courtesy: Disney)

Film critics consider Disney's "Encanto" one of the best animated movies in years. The quality of the animation, the richness of the colors, textures, storytelling and, the music are all superb.

"I love the movie. I mean, it's well loved for a reason," said Mann. "I think Lin-Manuel just wants to, he wants to heal us."

Lin-Manuel Miranda -- award-winning composer, singer, actor and creator of stage phenom "Hamilton" -- was among those who chose Mann for his accordion expertise.

He gave News Channel 3-12 reporter/anchor Beth Farnsworth and Chief Videographer Herb Tuyay a couple of impromptu accordion performances in his living room.

"You keep that up of course, it's a fast tempo because the whole movie moves shwp, shwp, shwp, shwp."

Like "Encanto" Mann leads an up-tempo life! He is well known for mentoring local kids and teens with music and singing. And, he is highly accomplished in the music industry. Multiple gold and platinum record awards grace his walls.

"My dad and Kenny are the two people that really launched me in my career and forever grateful."

Loggins hired Mann back in the mid-70's.

"It was this huge break and then that led to playing with Michael McDonald, it led to playing with David Lee Roth, with jazz groups Larry Carlton's band and Robin Ford. I got to play with just the most amazing musicians."

But Mann's real break started at a very tender age.

"Three years old. Yeah, three years old. My dad started me on the accordion and he was a great accordion teacher and well known in the accordion world."

Extremely well known.

Students performing under Milton Mann Studios (Courtesy: Brian Mann)

His father, Milton Mann, gained fame as a teen musician and eventually, with his wife, ran 21 music schools throughout Los Angeles. The Santa Barbara musician has a keepsake photo that shows some of the thousands of students who performed under Milton Mann Studios.

Like his father, Mann has music is in his blood.

Whether sitting in front of his computer or on the piano bench, this musician becomes one with his instrument. In fact, Disney incorporated Mann's moves for the accordion-playing nuns sequence in "Coco."

"They animated my motions. They put them in the computer and then converted them into the animation," Mann said with a little laugh. "Well, this becomes part of you when you're playing. Yeah, I think because I started so young and, it's probably how I express myself best. Not always the best with words but with music, I can say it."

Mann is humble. He sang Miranda’s praises for the timing and message of the composer's songs in "Encanto."

"He wants to bring people together and everyone to feel loved and appreciated which, I think is really at the heart of this movie is feeling loved and appreciated for who you are."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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