thoughts on music, design and literature

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Estrella Morente: Volver

What is there not to like about Penelope Cruz? She's delicious in Almodavar's Volver. But the scene which made me truly fall in love was when she lip-syncs the title song of the film to the voice of flamenco sensation Estrella Morente.

From what I've learned, Estrella Morente is flamenco royalty--her father was Enrique Morente, perhaps one of the most influential contemporary flamenco artists, and perhaps one of the most daring and experimental.

People who know my music know that I'm a big fan of a great melody. The song 'Volver,' which means 'To Return,' is a great tune: it sputters, climbs, lurches, and after a downward melodic tumble, is finally given room to breathe in the chorus on the word 'Volver...' ...before collapsing upon itself again. Then that same melodic phrase comes in a fourth higher, as if it is given new life--again, it spirals achingly upwards (this is where Morente really shines) before descending once again. And in its final breath, it finds itself returning home.

(By the way, from what I understand, all these downward melodic gestures are characteristic of flamenco music on the whole.)

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