A soundtrack, a playlist, a mix-tape…
An old clock-radio, a reel-to-reel tape-recorder, base from a passing vehicle soundsystem, Andean pipes echoing in a bus station…
The notes, the sounds, the lyrics all ring out differently depending on the time and place.
Like scent, music possesses tremendous evocative power. Be it Bennie Goodman or the Beatles, watch the old folks jive or sing along at a wedding reception dance. Remember the old tradition of choosing ‘our song’, either a hit from when the couple met or a piece to be played at the wedding. This is especially sweet if the band later plays requests, too!
Music can drive someone crazy. Remember how they tried to draw out or punish the dictator Noriega with tinny pop music. Music can heal the sick. Doctors encourage patients to listen to the radio/headphones/i-pod/ whatever form they can use in the hospital. Of course, a simple live performance, even a capella, still enchants.
Kitschy, corny, pop or classic, much does depend on taste. The memories flow with the notes and words, especially in One Dress, One Day. Old American songs on the public address system or on the radio were playing in Spain in 1990, as the search for the stolen wedding dress continued. One example, the saccharine “Sweet Caroline”, seemingly a Karaoke anthem, was playing on the radio, even at the police station where the theft was reported. Each moment of the tale corresponds to a real song from the time. And the Gypsy Kings’ “Bambaleo” was a global hit early in the wave of Spanish-language music gone mainstream! Curiously “Sweet Caroline” and “Bambaleo” fall on the playlist near “Vogue,” by the then reining queen of pop. These songs all follow the movements of Francisco the wedding gown thief as he tries to fence the dress or parts thereof.
Followed by the classic Gypsy Kings’ Bambaleo instrumental
Sound familiar? Where were you when you last heard these tunes? The soundtrack of life runs through good and bad times. Remember an invitation to come over to listen to music? Remember making a party or mix tape for someone special? There are also the songs associated with faith, hymns like “Amazing Grace”.
The One Dress, One Day theme song remains “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, in three moving renditions: early rock (The Animals) , disco (Esmeralda) and blues (Nina Simone). Each version suits the tale at that specific moment. Each musical moment (there are a dozen) adds to the atmosphere of 1990s Barcelona. As in ALMODOVAR’s cinema, there are nods to the Spanish tradition. Songs are indicated along with sound effects throughout the novellario and a final list gives the reader over a dozen titles to sample. After all, this genre provides the best of both film and novella.