Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Gustavo Santaolalla Scores Freedom

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

This week’s Free Ride* muses on the songs of Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who turns 62 today. He began his artistic career as a fusion musician, merging traditional Latin folk music with rock and roll. After recording with several groups and as a solo artists, he turned his attention to composing for the big screen, and has garnered two Oscars for Best Original Score, Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and Babel in 2006. Brokeback Mountain was a difficult movie to watch, full of pain and angst in failed attempts of two gay lovers to lead a straight life. What made the movie bearable for me was the music. Along with some brilliant song choices – I especially loved Willie’s version of He Was a Friend of Mine and Emmylou’s A Love That Will Never Grow Old and Rufus Wainwright’s cover of The Maker Makes – the sparce guitar driven original score was just perfect to capture the range of feelings in the movie.

For Santaolalla’s contributions to the songbook of freedom, The Wings from the Brokeback soundtrack is an example of one of those “perfect” songs, simple and direct and expressive of the elusive freedom of spirit and grace the lead characters experienced when they were able to surrender to the love they shared.

You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I’m floating so free, so high
Falling with grace, for you, am I
You give me the wings to fly
You give me the wings to fly
You are the clear blue sky
I’m floating so free, so high

Gustavo Santaolalla has also scored a freedom theme for another film that speaks of the difficult challenges of fulfilling one’s destiny in a world that doesn’t believe in that destiny. The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom documents the Dalai Lama and his followers in their quest for freedom in the face of Chinese occupation. I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to hear more of Santaolalla’s brilliance behind the drama of various freedom struggles that make it to the big screen.

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