Gustavo Santaolalla

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Gustavo Santaolalla
Gustavo Santaolalla - 9MAR07 -presidencia-govar.jpg
Gustavo Santaolalla on 8 March 2007
Background information
Birth nameGustavo Alfredo Santaolalla
Also known asMoviola
Born (1951-08-19) 19 August 1951 (age 67)
El Palomar, Argentina
GenresLatin rock, electrotango, film scores
Occupation(s)Musician, film composer, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, charango, ronroco, singing, piano, bass
Years active1967–present
Associated actsBajofondo

Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla (born 19 August 1951) is an Argentine musician, film composer and producer. He has won Academy Awards for Best Original Score in two consecutive years, for Brokeback Mountain in 2005, and Babel in 2006. More recently, he composed the original score for the video game The Last of Us, and the theme music for the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

Life and career[edit]

Santaolalla was born in El Palomar, Argentina,[1] and grew up during the military junta and period later known as the Dirty War.[2] His professional music career began in 1967, when he co-founded the group Arco Iris,[3] an Argentine band that pioneered the fusion of rock and Latin American folk as part of 'rock nacional'. The band adopted the lifestyle of a yogic commune guided by former model Danais Winnycka (known as Dana) and her partner, musician Ara Tokatlian. The band had a few hits, such as Mañanas Campestres ("Country Mornings"), and made inroads into different forms of expression (notably a ballet piece for Oscar Aráiz), but Santaolalla felt constricted by the strict requirements of Dana's teachings, which prohibited meat, alcohol and drugs. He left the group in 1975.[4]

A year later, he assembled Soluna, in which he played alongside teenage pianist and singer Alejandro Lerner and his then-girlfriend Monica Campins. Together they recorded just one album (Energía Natural, 1977). Santaolalla left for Los Angeles, where he adopted a rock and roll sound and made the rounds with his band Wet Picnic, together with ex-Crucis member Anibal Kerpel.

He briefly returned to Argentina in 1981, to produce Leon Gieco's Pensar en Nada and record his first solo album.

As a solo artist, he has recorded three albums. His first self-titled album, Santaolalla (1981), broke new ground by incorporating the "eighties" sound into rock in Argentina for the first time. He was joined by Lerner and the Willy Iturry-Alfredo Toth rhythm section, who were two-thirds of the band GIT. His second album, titled Gas, was released in 1995. His most recent solo album, titled Ronroco (1998), contained several tracks with the characteristic sound of the charango, a folk string instrument, that poured into what constituted his next significant endeavor: music for movies. Ronroco also contains his solo piece for charango Iguazu, which has been used in The Insider by Michael Mann, Collateral also by Michael Mann, Babel by Alejandro González Iñárritu, a 2007 Vodafone TV commercial, as well as the HBO TV series Deadwood, the Fox TV series 24, and a 2011 episode of the BBC TV series Top Gear.[5] It also contains the track De Ushuaia a La Quiaca used by Walter Salles in his The Motorcycle Diaries.

Santaolalla aided the development of rock en español by acting as producer for Mexican acts, Neón, Maldita Vecindad, Fobia, Molotov, Café Tacuba, and Julieta Venegas; the Colombian singer, Juanes; Chilean rock trio, Los Prisioneros; Argentine rock musicians, Divididos, Bersuit Vergarabat, Érica García and León Gieco's "De Ushuaia a La Quiaca" (1 and 2), among many others.

Santaolalla transferred his efforts to film soundtracks in the late 1990s, producing albums for the films Amores Perros, 21 Grams and The Motorcycle Diaries. Based in California, where he first moved in 1978, one of his contributions since then has been the instrumental music for the soundtrack to the 2005 Ang Lee film, Brokeback Mountain, from which "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" won the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Santaolalla received the 2006 Academy Award for Original Music Score for Brokeback Mountain.[3] In 2007, he received his second Academy Award for the film score to Babel, beating out such composers as Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat, and Javier Navarrete. Gustavo dedicated the award to his father and to his country Argentina.

In addition to his film work, Santaolalla has acted as the producer of Gaby Kerpel's Carnabailito and co-produced the Kronos Quartet's Nuevo, an album which renders homage to the rich musical heritage of Mexico. He has also been part of the resurgent neo-tango movement, as prime mover behind the Bajofondo Tango Club collective. He is also mentioned as the co-producer of Calle 13's song "Tango del Pecado", a song from their album Residente o Visitante. In 2005 he received the Platinum Konex Award as best Argentine artistic producer of the 1995-2005 decade.

In 2008, Santaolalla composed the soundtrack for the Louis Vuitton film "Where will life take you?" directed by Bruno Aveillan, as part of the "Journeys" Campaign.

In 2008, Santaolalla recorded two songs on "All You Need Is Me", a single by British singer Morrissey. The tracks, "Children In Pieces" and "My Dearest Love" were recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jerry Finn.

He directed music for Aamir Khan's latest movie Dhobi Ghat, which was released on 21 January 2011.

Santaolalla has also collaborated with Argentine Composer Osvaldo Golijov on several projects commissioned by soprano Dawn Upshaw. These include the opera, Ainadamar, based on the murder of Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, and Ayre, a collection of folk songs, in which Santaolalla plays with a group that calls itself The Andalucian Dogs.

Among his more recent projects are the score for the 2012 film On the Road, produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Walter Salles. In 2012 he was nominated for Producer of the Year by Latin Grammy Award for Best Producer of the Year for his work in ‘De Noche’ (Antonio Carmona), ‘Entre la Ciudad y el Mar (Gustavo Galindo) and Rêverie (Luciano Supervielle) co- produced with Juan Campodónico from Bajofondo.

He composed the score for the 2013 survival adventure video game The Last of Us Santaolalla's first experience in the video game industry. In December 2016, it was announced that Santaolalla was also composing the music for the game's sequel, The Last of Us Part II.[6]

In 2015, Santaolalla was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.[7]

Santaolalla lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Alejandra Palacios and children Luna (b. 1994) and Don Juan Nahuel (b. 1999). His eldest daughter Ana (b. 1980) is from a previous relationship with Monica Campins.

Discography, filmography and video games[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]




  1. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla discography". Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla - How Movie Music Moves Us". On Being with Krista Tippett. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b Rohter, Larry (14 August 2008). "Gustavo Santaolalla's Film Scores Are Minimalist and His Tango Is Newfangled". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  4. ^ "ARCO IRIS". Viajero Inmóvil. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  5. ^ "TG What's That Song? - [16x03] February 6th 2011". Final Gear. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  6. ^ "PlayStation® Experience 2016 | Day 1". Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Latin Songwriters Hall Of Fame to Induct Emilio Estefan, Myriam Hernandez, Gustavo Santaolalla, Alvaro Torres, Diego Torres and Hector Ochoa Cardenas at the LA MUSA AWARDS. Presented by WorldArts". PR Newsire. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla Takes Over Scoring Duties on 'August: Osage County'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Album Premiere: Gustavo Santaolalla - 'Camino'". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  10. ^ DeFore, John (9 September 2016). "'Before the Flood': Film Review - TIFF 2016". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla Named Icon at 15th Annual BMI Latin Music Awards". Retrieved 11 October 2010.

External links[edit]