Arco Iris


We came home from Argentina with a copy of Sudamerica, o el Regresso a la Aurora, by Arco Iris.


That’s someone else’s photo. It cost us $100 and we bought it from a guy who sells records out of his apartment. We had to ring a bell at the front door and he came down with a copy of the record. It was a little scratched up, but it plays well.

It’s a rock opera in two acts. Allie has read the libretto and says it’s a mystical story with space aliens. The music is expansive, blazing sax, guitar godliness, drum solo on side three.

In the early 70s the band lived in a commune in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. They were forbidden to take drugs, eat meat, have sex. The band’s founder and leader, Gustavo Santaolalla, produced and played on Leon Gieco’s first record. During the dictatorship, Santalaolalla moved to California. He produced a couple more Gieco records, and some major hits by Spanish-singing artists such as Cafe Tacuba and Juanes. In the 90s he started doing soundtracks and in the 2000s he won an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. In 2014 he released a lovely album called Camino. We listened to it afternoons in Buenos Aires when we were ready for a nap. Now that we’re home we listen to it in the mornings with our coffee, when we want gentle sounds. The sounds are gentle but not sentimental, with a note of darkness.

Sudamerica, o el Regresso a la Aurora is a two-record set. The libretto is in blue on red ink, and it’s in Spanish. Allie kind of translated it. It’s about a young man named Nahuel who’s captured by a conquesting empire but he has visions and sees god and there’s an alien at some point. Allie is entering a translation certification program and I’m hoping this record will be one of her first projects.

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