NEW YORK (Billboard) - Like Woody Allen’s new film, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” the song “Barcelona” by the band Giulia y los Tellarini explores chance meetings and subsequent love affairs, including one with the Spanish city itself.
“I equate Barcelona with love,” says Giulia Tellarini, singer for the little-known Spanish indie band, whose song is featured in the film.
Talking to reporters at the recent Cannes Film Festival, where the movie met with enthusiastic reviews, Allen called the track “perfect.”
“Barcelona” can be heard in the trailer for the film, which will be released September 5 and stars Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. In addition to “Barcelona,” the soundtrack includes Giulia y Los Tellarinis’ song “La Ley del Retiro.”
The band’s first album, “Eusebio,” was released on iTunes in late May. Its music came to Allen’s attention last year during filming, when the girlfriend of one of the band members left a CD with some of the group’s songs on it at the director’s Barcelona hotel, the fashionable Hotel D‘Arts.
“I didn’t even know about it,” recalls Tellarini, who was dubious when she checked the band’s MySpace mail one day and found a message from someone in Allen’s camp who was urgently trying to reach them. “I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think that something like this could happen.”
The band’s beginnings were unexpected as well. Tellarini, 29, an accordion player, sound engineer and self-described “gypsy” from Northern Italy, met Alejandro Mazzoni, a musician from Buenos Aires who produces music for advertising and film, at a studio in Barcelona.
Mazzoni and studio partners Maik Alemany and Jens Neumaier needed a female voice for a commercial, and Tellarini, who had never sung into a microphone before, obliged. The four subsequently decided to record some music together, called in other musicians they knew, and within two weeks had written and recorded all of the tracks on the album.
“Our music is difficult to classify. It’s got loads of influences,” says Tellarini, noting her preference for traditional forms of popular song such as the French chanson, as well as tango, jazz and Latin boleros. “I think one of the main things about us is that we sing in different languages. We try and get inspired by the atmospheres of different countries.”
“Barcelona,” sung in Spanish, is a seductively bouncy tune with punchy brass and dark edges intoned by Tellarini’s whispery vocals. The song reflects Guilia’s on-and-off relationship with the city, written at a time when she was deciding whether to stay in Barcelona with Mazzoni or return to Paris.
“Barcelona was expensive. There were too many people, I was confused,” she recalls. “It wasn’t the top point of my life.”
Ultimately, Tellarini and Mazzoni moved to Berlin, where Tellarini finds it “cheap enough to be creative.” But the couple plans to spend the summer in Barcelona with the rest of the band, where they’ll play some shows to support the release of the album.
“We hope that people will appreciate the music -- not just the buzz it’s getting because it’s part of the film,” Tellerani says.