Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Viva La Musica!

I was kicking around Discogs earlier when I chanced upon the rare French 7” single used to promote Fernando Arrabal’s 1971 film Viva la Muerte. The real treasure here is the song on the A-side, Ekkoleg, the lovely, playful children’s song heard over the opening credits for Arrabal’s film. This song has always been something of a mystery to me, never quite sure what language the young boy was singing in, and what threw me off was the fact that Fernando Arrabal is Spanish, so I wrongly supposed the song might be in the Basque language or even Portuguese. But after some digging, I’ve discovered the song is in fact Danish, composed by Grethe Agatz and sung by a boy simply known as Morten. Information is rather sketchy but it seems the song was recorded in the late 60’s for an EP entitled Hvem Vil Være Med Til At Synge? Nr. 4 (which Google dryly translates as Who Would be Willing to Sing? No. 4) and one presumes was appropriated sometime afterwards for the film – I wonder what Grethe Agatz thought of her charming song being associated with such a transgressive film ? More investigation pointed to a French blog post which hosts the song along with a version recorded in English, plus three (!) versions of the song in French, including a second single to promote Arrabal’s film in France, the smiling angelic face of child singer Eric Damain on the picture sleeve looks rather incongruous alongside a film title which translates as Long Live Death ! If you haven’t encountered Viva la Muerte investigate with caution (but do investigate!) and should you wish to hear what all this fuss is about step this way...

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