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Soundtrack to Pedro Almodovar's "Volver"-

"p"Estrella Morente, chosen by director Pedro Almodovar, performs the main theme of the original soundtrack for his new movie "Volver" (featuring Penelope Cruz). Almodovar, a Spanish director who takes great care in the music of his films, wanted Morente to sing the tango (made famous by renown Argentinean singer Carlos Gardel) with Spanish influences.

"p"Almodovar is one of the few Spanish directors who understands the importance of a solid soundtrack in the success of a film. "In my movies, the songs are an active part of the screenplay. They form part of the dialogue and tell us a lot of things about the characters. They are not just sung because they are beautiful. I choose the music directly from the heart. These songs appear because I like them and at the same time reflect and speak about the characters".

"h3" "p"When he makes a movie, Pedro Almodovar builds a consistent aesthetic universe, and that of course extends to the music. His close, enduring collaboration with composer Alberto Iglesias is as artistically fruitful as the one between director Douglas Sirk (a strong influence on Almodovar) and composer Frank Skinner in the 1950s. The work of Iglesias (who was nominated for an Oscar for "i"The Constant Gardener) is just perfect for melodrama, and it easily stands on its own--a must-buy for fans of 1950s-style scores. Check out "Dicen Que La Han Visto" or "Tema Lloron," for instance, which are like stepping on a time machineset to 1955 (in sensibility rather than strict form). But Almodovar also has a keen ear for songs, and three excellent ones are included. Estrella Morante, daughter of flamenco legend Enrique Morente, is the singing voice of Penelope Cruz, and her performance of the title track (cowritten by tango icon Carlos Gardel) gives the movie its sonic identity. The CD also includes the crackly (it sounds as if it was transferred from a 78 record) "Las Espigadoras," performed by Conchita Panades, and a complete (but somehow convincing) change of mood in the shape of the heady, breezy "A Good Thing," by London indie-popsters Saint Etienne. "i"--Elisabeth Vincentelli