Jim ParisiMusic Review

El Regreso Soundtrack

el regresoBy Jim Parisi

Writing a soundtrack is tricky business. The music needs to compliment the action and images of the movie of the film without being pervasive. It needs to follow the storyline so in this way it is almost like an assignment. And all good musicians want to put their own personal stamp on their music, so it needs to fall into the category of artistic expression as well: no musician wants their work to become wallpaper. This article is a review of the soundtrack of the new Costa Rica movie “El Regreso”; it is not a review of the film, which is wildly popular right now.

Federico Miranda picked up his first guitar with serious intentions at the age of twelve and taught himself to play. In 1993, he formed the popular Costa Rican rock band Gandhi, one of the first of this genre in this country. They have since released four albums and in 2005, Miranda also teamed up with pianist Walter Flores to work on the Baula Project, a fusion quartet who dedicated this album to the preservation of the leatherback turtle.

Jaime Peligro Books and Music

Moving in a new artistic direction, Federico scored the music for this soundtrack, then brought together ten musicians to begin recording it under the name Banda Sonora. Sr. Miranda plays acoustic and electric guitars on the soundtrack, as well as programmed keyboards. The band consists of Guier Abel on bass guitar, piano, the two percussionists Juan Carlos Pardo and Ale Fernandez, violinists Caterina Tellini and Ingrid Solano, Ricardo Ramirez playing viola and Marianela Lamb on cello, making up the string section, along with Jhonathan Mena Jimenez on flute and Jorge Rodriguez Herrera, contributing the horn section. I should point out that six of the twenty-three songs were contributions from six other Costa Rican bands, including Calavera y la Canalla with “Solo Conmigo” from their very popular new album. So, the soundtrack really is an extensive team effort. But the album belongs to Miranda, whose acoustic guitar works is showcased on the gentler numbers on the disc, such as the opening cut, “Chepe Centro” as well as on a variety of other musical vignettes throughout the CD. He worked for hours with filmmaker Hernan Jimenez discussing various scenes and plots of the film before even a single note had been written. The music seems to alternate between soft and up-tempo, giving a kind of pulse to the album and becoming one of the fibers that is the tapestry of “El Regreso”.

Other standout songs on the album include Son de Tikizia performing the Walter Flores composition “Jugaste con mi Destino” and the title song, “El Regreso”. I also really liked the two bonus tracks at the end of the disc.  

It is no surprise that Papaya Music is distributing the CD, as one of their goals is to display to the world the great array of Costa Rican music. This CD, containing more than one hour of variety of Costa Rican music, fits right into that philosophy and is an excellent addition to anyone’s music collection.