Song of the Day #33: ‘Cucurrucucu Paloma’ – Caetano Veloso

My second foreign-language selection, this time by Brazilian troubador Caetano Veloso. He’s one of those people I feel ashamed for not knowing more about considering Wikipedia has references calling him “one of the most respected and prolific international pop stars” and the “Bob Dylan of Brazil.”

His voice is better than Dylan’s, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s so achingly lovely that I was shocked to read he is more known for his songwriting than his singing. That said, he did record an album of English-language covers a couple years back.

But enough about the singer; on to the film.

Pedro Almodovar is in love with cinema, head over heels for images and sounds. He often uses songs in his films to strike a wistful tone, as when Penelope Cruz’s Raimunda sings the title song in Volver or a young altar boy performs a delicate ‘Moon River’ in Bad Education.

In Talk to Her, a film about two men who bond over the comatose women they care for, Almodovar punctuates each segment of the film with a performance. First, an interpretive dance. Then a bullfight. Later, a silent film.

Halfway through the film comes this scene, in which the film’s protagonist is at a party with the woman with whom he will fall in love. He intrigues her by weeping during Caetano Veloso’s performance of ‘Cucurrucucu Paloma.’

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #33: ‘Cucurrucucu Paloma’ – Caetano Veloso

  1. Kerrie says:

    Almodovar is a genius!! I loved this movie just as I loved All About My Mother, Volver, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. The way he blends the music with the film really is something special and this is no exception. Thanks for the reminder of why I love his work. Beautiful song, too. 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    I have yet to see this film, but the scene works beautifully on its own. When you watch people moved by music it feels almost as though you’re getting a glimpse into a rare, vulnerable, even intimate moment in a person’s life. Almodovar captures that sensation effectively by having a character within the film experience that voyeurism along with the viewer. Or something like that.

  3. Dana says:

    very nice scene, but not a song I would ever find myself listening to.

  4. Dana says:

    Oh, and calling him the Bob Dylan of Brazil is a bit like calling someone the Bruce Springstein of Bulgaria–it may be technically true, but that just means Brazil ain’t the the USA, baby!

  5. Clay says:

    I wouldn’t listen to it outside of the movie, either, which is true of pretty much all my selections this week.

    And get ready to catch some hell from my Brazilian readers! 🙂

  6. Dana says:

    I assumed these were songs that had actually made it into your music collection?

  7. Clay says:

    Nope… I own just two three of the seven, neither of which have been posted yet.

  8. Dana says:

    Well, I just laughed as much at Dana’s “Bruce Springsteen of Bulgaria” comment as I did at Tropic Thunder.

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