Monday, August 1, 2011


Gustavo Santaolalla

"No city is like Buenos Aires" is the expression Gustavo Santaolalla uses to refer to our hometown.

I didn't know much about Gustavo Santaolalla until he won his first Oscar for "Original Soundtrack" for the film Brokeback Mountain. It was then that I became more curious and started to look into his work. We are from different generations and although Santaolalla has repeatedly said that he has two loves - Rock 'n' Roll and Latin Culture, his music was at first very influenced by Argentine "folk". Perhaps that explains why I was never going to listen to it... because as a teenager, I found it was "uncool".

His electrotango band "Bajo Fondo" however, got me interested in the way he had integrated his "loves" into his music introducing technology to make tango sound different, to bring it closer to other generations. I thought his was a unique idea.

Today, I read that he was from a neighborhood called "Ciudad Jardín". A very small and humble town in the Western section of the greater Buenos Aires area. And, though I still don't know that much about him, this article made me think about his dreams. There is a long way between Ciudad Jardin and Hollywood, California, to name a place he made it to. I can assure you this cause I know how far Ciudad Jardín is, even from Buenos Aires city.

He mentioned in this article that the streets in his hometown were made out of dirt and that services were very limited. He remembers coming to the city was a great, long, and exciting trip and that a common expression in his neighborhood was "I am going to the capital", meaning the city of Buenos Aires. The distance he had to travel and the means of transportation he used to get to town were, at that time, far from convenient and it was a long trip indeed, but he remembers that every time that he arrived he thought: "this is everything they say about a great city, so many avenues! so many different people!"

I see his trip to the city as a metaphor for his later achievements. The trip was probably a little complicated and long, yes, but, in his head he knew the way and in his heart he had passion. He knew, also, how to let himself be surprised and how to surprise others with the ingenuity (the same ingenuity with which he discovered the city) that of the child that lives inside of him.

For your music and talent, thank you Mr. Santaolalla!

Post by: Valeria Mendez Cañas

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