Personnel: Graci Pedro, Juan Carlos Quesada, Juan Serrano, Muriel Anderson, Paco de Lucía (guitar); Jean-Félix Lalanne (electric guitar).
Liner Note Author: Woody Allen.
Editor: Paul Blakemore.
Arrangers: Miguel Llobet ; Andrés Segovia.
Ask a lover of Spanish cinema what Spain's equivalent of Hollywood is, and the obvious response will be Madrid; most of Spain's top actors and directors are based in Spain's largest city. Barcelona, meanwhile, is the city that dominates the Spanish porn industry; if Madrid is Spain's Hollywood, Barcelona is Spain's San Fernando Valley. But some excellent non-porn movies have been filmed (or partly filmed) in Barcelona, ranging from Pedro Almodóvar's Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) to American director Whit Stillman's clever Barcelona. Stillman isn't the only American director who has filmed in Barcelona; the capitol of Cataluña (or Catalunya in Catalan) is where Woody Allen filmed his romantic comedy/drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona (starring Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Scarlett Johansson). In the liner notes, Allen explains that this soundtrack called for Spanish music but candidly admits that Spanish music isn't something he is terribly knowledgeable about. However, Allen obviously did his research, and the recordings that he chose are excellent. Although this 42-minute disc contains two sensuous vocal offerings by the Barcelona-based group Giulia y los Tellarini ("Barcelona" and "La Ley del Retiro"), most of the soundtrack focuses on instrumental flamenco guitar -- specifically, flamenco of the nuevo flamenco variety. The nuevo flamenco outlook works as well for Juan Serrano on "Entre Olas" and "Corrión" as it does for Juan Quesada on "Asturias," which isn't to say that more traditional flamenco is totally absent from this soundtrack. Paco de Lucía, one of Spain's great flamenco traditionalists, is heard on the familiar "Granada." And the soundtrack moves into jazz territory on two selections by guitarist Biel Ballester: "When I Was a Boy" and "Your Shining Eyes," both of which offer an intriguing mixture of gypsy swing (the house that Django Reinhardt built) and Catalan-style rumba. Some soundtracks don't hold up very well if you haven't seen the film, but that isn't a problem for this CD; even if one hasn't seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, this soundtrack is still a fine Mediterranean-oriented compilation. ~ Alex Henderson