World & Latin

The Sound Of Spain

06 AUG 08 JOHN C. BRUENING

Woody Allen has assembled an eclectic but authentic collection of Spanish music for the soundtrack to his latest film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The music reflects the film's passionate yet lighthearted tone.

The film chronicles the emotional and sexual fireworks that erupt when the lives of a Spanish painter (Javier Bardem), his volatile ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) and two American tourists (Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall) converge in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

The bouncy title song, "Barcelona," was written and recorded by Giulia y los Tellarini, a little-known indie band from Barcelona. Their other contribution to the soundtrack is the more pensive and sultry "La Ley Del Retiro," also from Eusibio.

As might be expected, instrumental guitar pieces make up the lion's share of the soundtrack. Guitarist Juan Serrano, whose reputation as a flamenco virtuoso spans six decades, delivers the churning and complex "Gorrión" early in the set, followed much later by the equally intricate closer, "Entre Olas."

Other noteworthy performers include Paco de Lucia, whose "Entre Dos Aguas" opens with a simple and casual guitar/percussion arrangement that eventually segues into something much more fiery and ambitious, and Emilio de Benito, who gives a thoughtful reading of the Isaac Albeniz guitar classic, "Granada."

The Biel Ballester Trio creates an infectious chugging guitar rhythm on "When I Was a Boy," but later takes a more melodic approach on "Your Shining Eyes." In contrast, Juan Quesada's smooth, easygoing "Asturias" is just this side of hypnotic.

Allen calls the set as a whole "one of the most lovely scores in all of my films. It's an eclectic mix, to be sure, but mostly Spanish and reflecting the feeling of Spain -- or certainly Barcelona as I've portrayed it."