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Sunday 3 May 2020

Canción Mixteca

Playing around with the Harry Dean Stanton monologue from Paris, Texas when I was putting yesterday's Isolation Mix together last week caused me to play the entire soundtrack through a few times. It's not a very long album, only ten tracks and if it wasn't for 'I Knew These People...' which clocks in at over eight minutes it would be much shorter. Ry Cooder's guitar playing, all slide guitar, delicate finger picking, reverb and atmosphere, perfectly matches the moods and look of the film- the dust of the desert, the longing of the characters, the melancholy and loss of Travis and Jane. Ry Cooder said in 2018 that director Wim Wenders caught the ambience of the south west of the USA with the use of ambient microphones which picked up the sound of the desert and the wind, which he discovered is in E. So for the soundtrack they tuned all the instruments to E♭. That's the kind of detail I like, tuning your guitar to the key of the wind.

This song, Canción Mixteca, is ne of the highlights of the soundtrack and is little more than Ry Cooder's echo laden guitar, some piano and Harry Dean Stanton singing. The song is a Mexican folk song, written between 1912 and 1915 by Jose Lopez Alvarez. He wrote it in Mexico City suffering from homesickness for Oaxaca, his home. Since then it has been adopted by many Mexican exiles who long for their hometown.

'So far am I from the land where I was born!
Immense nostalgia invades my thoughts,
and, to see myself, as lone and dismal as leaf on the wind,
I would that I'd weep ‒ I would that I'd die ‒ out of sorrow!

O land of sunshine! I sigh for‐to see you.
Now that, far from you, I live without light ‒ without love.
And, to see myself, as lone and dismal as leaf on the wind,
I would that I'd weep ‒ I would that I'd die ‒ out of sorrow!'

Canción Mixteca


drew said...

I love that soundtrack, although my copy has seen better days.

Swiss Adam said...

Replacement copies on vinyl are expensive. CDs are cheap as chips.