Carolina

Courtesy of Discos Panoram

February 5, 2017

The Purest Form of Adulation: “Carolina”

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The Mexican music scene is highly underrated, especially when it comes to anything that isn’t bachata, reggaeton, cumbia or other mainstream genres. Right now, one type of music that truly represents art is a hybrid of acoustic and indie with a splash an indescribable psychedelic element, which not many Mexican artists have mastered. It’s the type of music that you don’t have to understand in order to sway along to it or have it end up stuck in your head like a sweet daydream playing over and over again. I’m talking about music by artists like Siddhartha, León Larregui, Zoé and now Salvador y el Unicornio. However, if you do understand the lyrics, the experience is much more lucid and indulging.

Salvador y el Unicornio belongs to Panoram, the same record label as León Larregui and Zoé, which explains why his style seems to parallel theirs. However, while León Larregui and Zoé have been making music since 2001, Salvador y el Unicornio has just debuted, and “Carolina” is his second single so far, and it sounds promising. Perhaps he can bring Mexican music to a broader audience along with León Larregui and Zoé. However, since his first single, “Agua de Coco,” has not received much attention, we’re obliged to give him more time to see whether he’s really what the Mexican music scene needs to reach a broader audience and gain the appreciation it deserves.

“Carolina” may sound and seem like your standard love song, but the lyrics go beyond that and relay a sweet poem to a girl named Carolina, described by the lines “Ella es pelo rizo ojos de miel miel. Su lado oscuro me hace ver su delicadez,” which translates to “She has curly hair and eyes of honey. Her dark side reveals how delicate she is.” As we see the rise of this genre, most of their songs are love songs, but what truly sets them apart is the description of their muse. The first lines of “Carolina” could be parallel to those found in León Larregui’s “Birdie”, which are “Mi ensoñación, transparente y bella. Pura como el sol, eres real, y el espíritu más dulce que hay,” translating to “You’re all of my dreams, transparent and beautiful, pure like the sun. You’re real and the sweetest spirit to exist.” Of course, to someone who doesn’t know Spanish, the beauty of these lyrics would not be fully appreciated, not only due to the language barrier, but because of the different connotations words have in Spanish. To a native Spanish-speaker, these are the types of words you fall in love with or you wish you could write to someone you love deeply. They’re more genuine than when they’re translated properly to English. Regardless, these types of songs themselves actually speak clearly enough and are enjoyable, just as “Carolina” is.

“Carolina” starts off with a quick guitar riff and jumps straight into the lyrics as acoustic guitar strums can be heard in the background along with a rhythmic guiro, which adds a Latin American flavor to the song. Additionally, Salvador Sahagún has a unique voice, much different from most American and Mexican artists, which is another reason to give the song a listen. Just after listening to it for the first time, I found myself singing the name Carolina along with Salvador Sahagún and realized just how lighthearted and genuine it was. I’m an avid fan of both León Larregui and Zoé, and listening to “Carolina” felt like the first time I listened to León Larregui’s 2016 album Voluma or when I found out Zoé is going to release an album this summer. Additionally, not only did Sahagún release a single, but the music video to go along with it.

The music video features him and his beloved Carolina on that romantic carnival date everyone has dreamt of at some point. The video alternates between scenes of the date and of Sahagún immersed in a bathtub. However, the scenes of the date mainly focus on Carolina, showing just how beautiful, mesmerizing and dear she is to Salvador. As the video progresses, so does the date, all while Sahagún continues to lay in the bathtub. In the ending of the video, Carolina is seen on her phone trying to reach Sahagún, which wakes him from his bathtub trance. Even if the music video alternated between both Salvador and Carolina, its focus remained mostly on Carolina to emphasize just how much he has idolized her in the purest way possible.

Overall, “Carolina” was like cherry soda: fizzy and maybe a bit too sweet, but not so it doesn’t make you want to stop drinking it. Artists like Salvador y el Unicornio are definitely worth listening to even if their songs are in Spanish, as they contain not only beautiful, loving messages, but a unique array of sounds that are getting harder and harder to find in both American and Mexican music.

Viri Garcia is a freshman in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She can be reached at vg235@cornell.edu

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