Your heart in the dark
by Liz Martin
‘Music for...’ is one of two Opera House Spotify playlist series where we ask friends of the House to curate playlists based on a theme of their choice: music for a particular moment, place or feeling.
Sydney-based Liz Martin has been captivating audiences since the 90s with her atmospheric and alluring sound before she entered club culture and crossed paths with Paul Mac with whom she collaborated on the gold-selling 3000 Feet High (2001). Since then she released several solo records, leaning into her distinctive, memerising voice. It’s been over a decade since Liz Martin graced the Opera House stage. Upon her return, as part of our new digital music series Liminal, Liz curated a playlist for 'your heart in the dark' – a tribute to the music of the films of Pedro Almodóvar.
“One of my favourite places to listen to music is in the cinema, wrapped in darkness, listening to songs chosen by filmmakers like Almodovar, Tarantino, Lynch and Jarmusch. They’ve introduced me to Caetano Veloso, Chavela Vargas, Mulatu Astatke, alongside old favourites like Tom Waits, Dusty Springfield, and Ennio Morricone.
Here is a selection of songs featured in films by Pedro Almodóvar. Probably my favourite filmmaker, not only for his narrative melodrama set amongst the colourful backdrop of Madrid, but, and perhaps most of all, for the music he’s introduced me to over the years.
I hope you enjoy,
“This version, performed by Brazilian composer, singer, guitarist and political activist, Caetano Veloso, features in Almodovar’s film from 1995, The Flower of My Secret.”
“High Heels (1991) tells the story of a famous torch singer returning to Spain after living in Mexico for 50 years. Luz Casal is the stunning voice behind the character played by Marisa Paredes. ‘If you have a deep sorrow, think of me. If you feel like crying, think of me’.”
“Ah, La Lupe... born in the barrio of San Pedrito in Santiago de Cuba, here her version of Puro Teatro features in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).”
“Encadendados has been covered by numerous singers over the years. Here we have the version featured by Almodovar in Dark Habits (1983) by ‘the King of Bolero’, Lucho Gatica.”
“‘Since you left, I haven’t had moonlight…’. Chavela Vargas’ Luz de luna from Almodovar’s Kika (1993). Chavela features in many of Almodovar’s films including The Flower of My Secret (1995) and High Heels (1993).”
“Chilean singer, Monna Bell’s Estaba Escrito, featured in Almodovar’s Pepe, Luci, Bom and Other Girls on the Heap (1980).”
“Cucurrucucu Paloma is a Mexican song of heartbreak written by Tomas Mendez in 1954 and covered by numerous artists over the years. This recording is not the same as the one from the film, Talk to Her (2002) – a stunning, intimate version, which features Caetano’s vocals, acoustic guitar, cello, and double bass. But I’ve never been able to find that version anywhere but the film. This one by Caetano Veloso is still wonderfully beautiful! ”
“Lip synced by Penelope Cruz in Almodovar’s film, Volver (1996), this version of the song features Spanish flamenco singer Estrella Morente. ‘You always return to your first love… to return’, this song was created in 1934 by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera and has been covered numerous times.”
“From Almodovar’s short film Trailors for Lovers of the Forbidden (1985), here’s Mexican singer Chelo. ‘When nobody loves you, when everyone forgets you, you’ll return to the path where I stood’.”
“The second song featuring Luz Casal’s voice behind Marisa Paredes in High Heels (1991), Un año de amor. ‘And at night, so as not to feel alone, you will remember our happy days together, you will remember the taste of my kisses, and in an instant, you will understand, what a year of love means’.”
“Here is Italian singer, Mina’s Esperame En El Cielo, or, ‘Wait for Me in Heaven’, featured in Almodovar’s film, Matador (1986).”
“Featured in Almodovar’s comedy thriller Law of Desire (1987) here Los Panchos sings Lo Dudo. ‘I doubt it, I doubt it, I doubt it, that you find a purer love, like the one you have in me’.”
“Portuguese singer, Elis Regina and Antônio Carlos Jobim deliver Por Toda A Minha Vida (For All My Life) in what is perhaps my favourite soundtrack of Almodovar’s – Talk to Her (2002).”
“Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias has composed a number of original scores for films directed by Almodovar including The Flower of My Secret (1995), Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), Bad Education (2004), Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), and The Skin I Live In (2011).”
“We started this list with Caetano Veloso’s version of this song. It’s only right that we come full cycle and finish with Venezuelan singer and original composer of this song, Simón Díaz. Hauntingly beautiful.”
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