Let’s do one more soundtrack selection. This time coming from France with Cameroonian legend Manu Dibango. If you only know him via his hit Soul Makossa then you know a sliver of his contributions to music. His catalog and credits is huge and diverse—the man has basically done everything in music including lending his talents to several soundtracks like this one for the film, L’Herbe Sauvage. I’ve never seen even a clip from this film, but I’m super curious knowing it had funky music like this running through it.
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, late 80s maybe, when we lost movie soundtrack albums. Nearly every “soundtrack” now (excluding animated kid films), are really nothing more than just playlists. The days of having one popular artist or band compose new music to be used in actual scenes well before the credits ever roll are sadly gone. This formula peaked in Blacksplotation films like Super Fly and Shaft, but there were so many more. One of my favorites was WAR‘s soundtrack to the 1978 film Youngblood . WAR scored all sorts of scenes for this including this one for a chase scene. Just imagine if Marvel would have had The Roots do the same for Black Panther!
While perusing Netflix the other night to my delight I discovered Los Viajes Del Viento was available for rent/streaming. I had seen this amazing film by Ciro Guerra in the Spring as apart of San Francisco’s International Film Festival with Papicultor y China Tu Madre. Watching a second time left me just as inspired as after seeing it in the theater. If there was ever a Pelanga film festival this epic movie would be at the top of my list. Most reviews speak of the breathtaking Colombian landscape that Guerra beautifully captures, but the visuals are equally matched by the sounds of vallenato music.
One of the best examples comes during an annual festival where juglares (vallenato troubadours) duel each other for prize money. This type of duel is all about the lyrics, where each juglar disses the other while boasting their skills – essentially a freestyle battle! The previous year’s champion welcomes all challengers and ends up taking down his competitors 1 by 1 to a folkloric song called El Amor Amor (perhaps originally by Samuel Martinez or Francisco Rada?). Well that is until the Ignacio and his devil’s accordion steps into the ring. This recording is from the film that will be on the forthcoming soundtrack. Enjoy!