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February 28, 2005

A cappella at the Oscars

HispanicBusiness.com (CA):

Uruguayan Jorge Drexler received his own Academy Award statuette from musician Prince for "Al Otro Lado del Rio" (On the Other Side of the River). It was the first time a Spanish-language musical number - the theme for "The Motorcycle Diaries" - had been nominated for best original song. Drexler put the audience in his pocket when, instead of giving traditional thank-you remarks, he simply sang - a cappella - the first couple of verses of the number.

In this way, Drexler - who wrote and sang "Al Otro Lado del Rio" in the movie but had not been invited to perform it at Sunday night's ceremony because the event's organizers had not considered him famous enough - got back to some degree at the Academy for their snub.

The Academy had selected the very well-known Spanish actor Antonio Banderas to perform the song and Mexican-American Carlos Santana to accompany him on the electric guitar, and the pair presented a rendition that Drexler - who lives outside Madrid - said left him happy and "filled with emotion."

But in any case, the singing of Banderas - dressed in a white shirt and wearing his hair long - did not move people as much as Drexler's own version of the number when he took the microphone to sing two verses and fulfill his wish at last. "I wanted to sing, and at each break (in the televised ceremony) I practiced the song," said Drexler, who had also calculated where in the lyrics he could get to in the approximately 22 seconds available to Oscar winners to deliver their thank-you remarks.

Posted by acapnews at February 28, 2005 9:25 PM