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Gustavo Santaolalla

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gustavo Santaolalla
Santaolalla in March 2007
Santaolalla in March 2007
Background information
Also known asMoviola
Born (1951-08-19) 19 August 1951 (age 70)
Ciudad Jardín Lomas del Palomar, Argentina
  • Musician
  • composer
  • record producer
Years active1967–present
Associated actsBajofondo

Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla (born 19 August 1951) is an Argentine musician, composer, and record producer. He won Academy Awards for Best Original Score in two consecutive years, first for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and then Babel (2006). He also composed the original scores for the video games The Last of Us (2013) and The Last of Us Part II (2020), as well as the themes for television series such as Jane the Virgin (2014–2019) and Making a Murderer (2015–present).

Early life

Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla was born in Ciudad Jardín Lomas del Palomar on 19 August 1951,[1] and grew up during the Dirty War.[2]


Santaolalla's music career began in 1967 when he co-founded the group Arco Iris,[3] a rock band that pioneered the fusion of rock and Latin American folk known as rock nacional. The band adopted the lifestyle of a yoga commune guided by former model Danais "Dana" Winnycka 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 musical expression (notably a ballet piece for Oscar Aráiz). However, Santaolalla felt constricted by the strict requirements of Dana's teachings, which prohibited the consumption of meat, alcohol, and drugs; he left the group in 1975.[4]

In 1976, Santaolalla assembled Soluna, a band 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 in 1977). He then left for Los Angeles, where he adopted a rock and roll sound and formed the band Wet Picnic with ex-Crucis member Aníbal 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 1980s 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.

Santaolalla's most recent solo album, Ronroco (1998), contained several tracks with the characteristic sound of the folk string instrument of the same name, which later became a defining instrument in his soundtrack work. Ronroco also contains his solo piece for Iguazu Falls, which was later used in films such as The Insider and Collateral, as well as a 2007 Vodafone TV commercial and TV series such as Deadwood, 24, and 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 the Mexican acts Neón, Maldita Vecindad, Fobia, Molotov, Café Tacuba, and Julieta Venegas; the Colombian singer Juanes; the Chilean rock trio Los Prisioneros; fellow Argentine rock musicians Divididos, Bersuit Vergarabat, Érica García, and León Gieco, among many others.

Santaolalla began working on film soundtracks in the late 1990s, producing albums for the films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and The Motorcycle Diaries. He provided the instrumental music for the soundtrack to the 2005 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, and dedicated the award to his father and his home country Argentina.

Santaolalla acted as the producer of Gaby Kerpel's Carnabailito and co-produced the Kronos Quartet's Nuevo, an album which renders homage to the musical heritage of Mexico. He has also been part of the resurgent neo-tango movement, as the prime mover behind the Bajofondo Tango Club collective. He is 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, he composed the soundtrack for the Louis Vuitton film Where Will Life Take You? directed by Bruno Aveillan. Later that year, he recorded two songs on "All You Need Is Me", a single by English singer Morrissey. The tracks, "Children In Pieces" and "My Dearest Love", were recorded in Los Angeles.

Santaolalla directed music for Aamir Khan's movie Dhobi Ghat, which was released on 21 January 2011. He 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. He provided the score for the 2012 film On the Road, produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Walter Salles. That same year, he was nominated for Producer of the Year at the Latin Grammy Awards for his work on De Noche (Antonio Carmona), Entre la Ciudad y el Mar (Gustavo Galindo), and Rêverie (Luciano Supervielle), co-produced with Juan Campodónico from Bajofondo.

Santaolalla received critical acclaim for composing the score to the 2013 action-adventure video game The Last of Us, which was his first experience in the video game industry. In 2020, he returned to compose the music for its sequel, The Last of Us Part II.[6]

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

On 20 and 21 September 2019, Eric Clapton invited Santaolalla to participate at his Crossroads event at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. He performed the song "De Ushuaia a la Quiaca" and a version of "Ando Rodando". He also played in the last song of the event on with Clapton, Gary Clark Jr, Buddy Guy, John Mayer, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Jimmie Vaughan, James Bay and others.


Santaolalla does not know how to read or write musical notation, nor does he use an orchestra for his soundtracks. He said, "I don't see myself as a film composer. I see myself as more of an artist that uses different forms to express myself. I love it all."[8]

Personal life

Santaolalla lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Alejandra Palacios, and their daughter Luna (born 1994) and son Don Juan Nahuel (born 1999). He has a daughter named Ana (born 1980) from a previous relationship with Monica Campins.

Discography, filmography and video games

Title Year Notes
She Dances Alone 1981
Ronroco 1998 Solo work, first release of "Iguazu"
The Insider 1999 Features his song, "Iguazu"
Amores perros 2000
21 Grams 2003
Salinas grandes 2004 TV
The Motorcycle Diaries 2004 BAFTA Award for Original Music Score. See also the soundtrack
North Country 2005 See also North Country soundtrack
Yes 2005 Features his song "Iguazu"
Brokeback Mountain 2005 Academy Award for Original Music Score. See also the soundtrack
Fast Food Nation 2006 Features his song "Iguazu"
Babel 2006 Academy and BAFTA Award for Original Music Score. See also the soundtrack
Into the Wild 2007 Features his song "Picking Berries"
My Blueberry Nights 2007 Features his song "Pájaros"
I Come With The Rain 2009
The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom 2010
Nanga Parbat 2010
Biutiful 2010
Dhobi Ghaat 2010
On the Road 2012
The Last of Us 2013 Video game
August: Osage County 2013 [9]
The Book of Life 2014
Wild Tales 2014 Goya Award for Best Original Score
Camino 2014 Solo work [10]
Making a Murderer 2015
Borrowed Time 2015 Short
Before the Flood 2016 [11]
Qhapaq Ñan: Desandando El Camino 2016
A Life in 12 Bars 2017
To End a War 2017
All That Divides Us 2017
Narcos: Mexico 2018
The Fight 2020
The Last of Us Part II 2020 Video game. Likeness also used in the game for a banjo player in Jackson.
El Cid 2020
BIOS 2021
Maya and the Three 2021 Netflix animated miniseries
The Last of Us 2022[12] HBO series

Awards and nominations




  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. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. 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". Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. 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, Making Music For Both Stage and Screen, PBS News Hour, 14 October 2009)
  9. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla Takes Over Scoring Duties on 'August: Osage County'". Film Music Reporter. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Album Premiere: Gustavo Santaolalla - 'Camino'". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  11. ^ DeFore, John (9 September 2016). "'Before the Flood': Film Review - TIFF 2016". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  12. ^ Hibberd, James (22 July 2021). "HBO's 'The Last of Us' Casts Anna Torv in Key Role". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Gustavo Santaolalla Named Icon at 15th Annual BMI Latin Music Awards". 13 June 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 October 2021, at 14:40
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