“El Regreso” Soundtrack

Review by Jaime Peligro

El Regreso Soundtrack

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.
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 Abel Guier 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 Johnathan 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 Lucho 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.