Borderline Latin: Roy Orbison, No Hay Banda

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Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.

Roy Orbison is probably considered by most people as a one-hit wonder from the past –and therefore, dismissed as yet another male singer from the ’60s. His hit single “Pretty Woman” has not only spawned several covers over the years, but was the inspiration for the title of the famous Julia Roberts movie –not everyone has seen the movie, and that’s a good thing, but most of us have heard the song. Other perhaps more knowledgeable people probably know he had more than one hit song: “In Dreams,” “Only the Lonely” and “Blue Bayou” are some examples.

Roy Orbison also recorded a song called “Yo Te Amo María,” which includes some Spanish lyrics in the chorus –basically the phrase, “yo te amo Maria, Maria mi amor.” However, this is not the only reason why he is the Borderline Latin artist of the week. The connection involves another film, very different from Julia Roberts’ romantic comedy about a lucky prostitute –that’s what the movie is about, isn’t it? When David Lynch was shooting Mulholland Drive, he came across Rebekah Del Rio, a little known Latin American singer from California. She performed a Spanish version of Ray Orbison’s “Crying” in an audition in front of Lynch. Lynch secretly recorded her audition, and was so haunted by her voice that he decided to write her performance into the film, creating one of the most amazing sequences in film history.

If you haven’t seen Mulholland Drive, by all means do watch it. Even if you don’t love it, it will haunt your dreams for life. And when you come across the sequence where Del Rio sings “Llorando,” remember we owe that moment to Roy Orbison –at least in part.

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Click HERE to read more “Borderline Latin” profiles. For comments and tips, please contact me at:, and for more info on my “Borderline” works, visit Borderline Projects.