I was travelling by bus the other day and realized that I no longer know how to travel by bus without the company of some sort of music device (a simple mp4). What comforted me trough traffic jams was the soundtrack of the movie "Frida", by Elliot Goldenthal. There's a song in particular that always seems to make me think: "Burn it Blue", sang by Caetano Veloso. For some unknown reason, I started trying to remember how many times I'd heard his voice in movies and, when my memory was no longer enough, I saw myself in IMDB... Here's what I gathered from my research.
Caetano's first collaboration with cinema was in Viagem ao Fim do Mundo (Voyage to the End of the World), based on the book Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis; the song was "Alegria, Alegria" (Joy, Joy), my favourite song when I was 12. By that time, Brazilian music was already trying to converge with music from all over the world, in a stab at the spreading of information - which would later lead to what we now call globalization. But that's a topic for a whole different discussion.
For his image, attitude and personal way of feeling music, Caetano is able to capture the Brazil-Latin America-World expansion, making the exotic sound not so quirky and letting our music create a border-less identity, especially when it comes to Spanish songs. Consequently, he was in two soundtracks for Almodóvar's movies: La Flor de mi secreto with "Tonada de luna llena" and in Hable con ella with “Cucurrucucú Paloma”; the latter is also featured in the Chinese movie Chun gwong cha sit (Happy Together).
In American cinema, he appeared in The Tailor of Panama with “Let's Face the Music and Dance” and in the Jack Black movie, Nacho Libre, writing and performing "Irene". But his biggest hit was, without a doubt, the song “Burn it Blue”, that earned Goldenthal the Oscar for Best Original Score, a duet between Caetano and Lilá Downs; there is a deep passion and melancholy in it, so appropriate for a movie about Frida Kahlo... It's a pity, the song is in English, as well as the movie. They would've been so much better in Castilian.
In Brazilian cinema, the singer has been in the soundtrack for Lisbela e o Prisioneiro with the sweet song “Você não me ensinou a te esquecer”, which is still a radio hit here, and “Lisbela”, which he wrote himself and which became an icon with the (extinct) band Los Hermanos. He also wrote songs for A Dama do Lotação, O Quatrilho, Orfeu and, more recently, O Ano que meus pais sairam de férias and Ó pai, ó.
For the full list of Caetano's appearances in soundtracks, here's a link to Imdb. Below you can listen to “Burn it Blue” (music by Elliot Goldenthal, words by Julie Taymor and performance by Caetano Veloso & Lila Downs).