Final Fantasy IX – “Vamo’ alla flamenco” (Nobuo Uematsu)October 3, 2010
I confess to not playing any of the Final Fantasy games past VIII. That crazy story just did it for me. Past this point, it really wasn’t worth it for me to play through the rest of the games. However, I have become somewhat familiar with the music through arrange albums such as The Black Mages and Distant Worlds in which this intriguing piece, “Vamo’ alla flamenco” appeared.
“Vamo’ alla flamenco” plays during the sword fight minigame at the beginning of the game. The track can literally be translated as “Let’s go, Flamenco!” Flamenco is a type of Spanish dance, and so it is not too much of a stretch to envision the connection between dance and swordplay – or, really, those smooth moves of Ricardo Montalban. The Spanish influences are clear within the piece, and the track is said to contain the harmonic center of the famous “La Malaguena”. The piece is quite whimsical, with a sense of spectacle through percussion and the playfulness of the melody, which supposes pomp and performance of the sword fight while presenting it as a mockery or sham.
The Distant Worlds played a beautiful rendition of this piece on an authentic Flamenco guitar (actually, the entire concert was phenomenal, and the album worth the purchase). I had the opportunity to see the concert when it came to Denver a couple years back. The recording on the album is from the Stockholm concert, conducted by the impeccable Arnie Roth and performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. In the concert, video from the game was projected in time with the music. A video of the Stockholm event is shown below, but the clip is the same regardless of where you happened to see it. It is interesting how they seem to have taken this song and presented it as a representation of the entire game. The next concert is set for Tokyo in early November.