Our cousins introduced us to Ella Baila Sola in the late 90’s and – it can’t not be mentioned – The Spice Girls (which we misheard as “The Space Girls” until mom eventually pieced together they were talking about that British group mostly known in the States at that time for their sequined platforms). Both blew up my musical world, with Ella Baila Sola taking the solid gold. I still had a lisp then and sometimes had trouble speaking English, let alone Spanish, and listening in either was at a whole other low. But I was clearly the coolest 7 year old in the world in my white saltwaters and navy blue long sleeved leotard and leggings, rocking out to these so much older (they were like 22, for the record, and that is old for someone in the single digits) and so much wiser Spanish ladies thick in and out of love. That irony, those break ups, that harmonizing. Oy. For all those wondering where my present day sass originated, I think I’ve just identified it; that is, of course, if you even needed to look further than my mother’s sufficiently blame-able womb.
I remember their 1996 album on repeat in the Passa house, with one lyric in particular lodged firmly in time. Georgia and I were in the kitchen with our aunts, Loli and Marisol, as the first drummings of “Victoria” rolled out. We exited into the hall with me singing along in the rear as the first “Victoria es infiel,” was belted out. In a surge of joie de vivre, I launched myself upward to tap the door lintel on the “es” except I wasn’t singing “Victoria es infiel,” because I was newly seven and didn’t speak Spanish fluently and, me being me, had heard “Victoria’s Secret” and inexplicably assumed they’d just switched to English for two words and were, for whatever dumb reason but it sounded cool, singing about that weird bra shop with all the lurid colors and laces and ads. So “VICTORI-AH’S*tap* SECRET!” it was.
Loli and Marisol exclaimed through wheezy laughs that I’d heard it all wrong, but I can’t remember if they explained what the real lyric was. In any case, I know now.
Either works, honestly.
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments.
And so I’m welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to email@example.com and keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**