In the last issue, Songlines (April/May 2014, #99) selected its essential list of ten favourite soundtracks. You can read the full piece here, but here were my choices:
Cuban Fury (Decca, 2014)
English funny man of Shaun of the Dead fame, Nick Frost, returns with his latest movie about an out-of-shape salsa dancer. As expected, the film’s soundtrack is chock full of Latin fire and tracks from the greats including Tito Puente, Oscar D’Leon and Los Van Van. Need inspiration to shuffle those feet and get out on the dance floor? Look no further.
The Motorcycle Diaries (Deutsche Grammophon, 2004)
Argentinian musician and composer Gustavo Santaolalla wrote this soundtrack to Walter Salles’ biopic on Che Guevara, starring Gael García Bernal. From the man also behind the music for Babel and Brokeback Mountain, this is a wonderful album of the Latin American sounds you’d expect with the beautiful ambient atmosphere for which Santaolalla has made his name.
O Brother Where Art Thou? (Universal, 2000)
The Coen brothers’ oddball take on Homer’s Odyssey introduced a whole new generation to old fashioned Americana – from blues and work songs to gospel and bluegrass. With a soundtrack just as good as the film, O Brother… features some of Americana’s biggest names, including the man with a voice as pretty as George Clooney’s face, Dan Tyminski; Alison Krauss and Tim O’Brien.
Slumdog Millionaire (Interscope, 2008)
Though he may be one of the most prolific film composers in the world, it was his soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s colourful Indian epic that made AR Rahman a household name in the West. Having swept the awards in 2008 – including two Grammys, two Oscars, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA – the soundtrack stands up well on its own as a mix of the sounds of modern India, and includes the international hit, ‘Jai Ho’