Write Here, Write Now: 2.25 – Soledad

Jah Wobble & The Invaders of the Heart – Soledad. Possibly my favourite song of all

This is a slightly daunting blog to write, as I ‘d like to do this song justice, but know I may fail to capture is essence, or why it moves me so much. There’s no particular reason to post this one today, out of 365 blogs, but it’s going to be in here at some point, so why not now.

With Jah Wobble, Justin Adams and Natacha Atlas, the three sounds of bass, guitar and voice are superlative. The steady deep presence of the bass, rooting the song solidly, is right at the core, although not right at the start of the song. It gives an anchor of a melodic riff from which the two other main musicians can explore and express the passions and emotions revealed in the lyrics.I could probably dance to that alone. Awesome.

Then the guitar. I wanted to learn the guitar because of Concerto de Arunjuez, which isn’t flamenco, but gave me a flavour of the intense nature of Spanish guitar. I love plucking strings on an acoustic guitar, but what Adams does on this track flies way above what I can do. It’s beautiful to listen to, though. Something you wouldn’t normally hear alongside the dub bass, but it contrasts delightfully. Running up and down the scale, distinct bones of notes stand out against the rumble of Wobble’s low tones. Varying from clear picking out of melody to frantic strumming, it illustrates the pent up and unleashed emotions in the song. Neat phrases start and then stop, leaving gaps before a delicious run of notes or a rush of noise to match Atlas’s ululations.

In the dance between guitar and voice, Adams performs, then gives way most gentlemanly for Natacha Atlas’s achingly affecting vocals.  Until tonight when some diligent googling of the few Spanish words I could identify led me to the lyrics (below), I had no idea what was being sung. It was clearly something deeply felt, something wrenched from the voice. Although sung in Spanish, Atlas gives a middle Eastern feel to the song. With the hum and wail of synths (?) at the beginning and end of the song, there’s a feel of being in the desert.

Now in possession of the words, the sounds form into recognizable shapes in my head (I don’t speak Spanish). If anything, knowing the words accentuates and delineates the music she’s making. The contrast between how I as an English speaker and a Spanish speaker would pronounce the words (más), the long lead into the second ‘Déjame’, the drawing out of  ‘canciones’, ‘doloroso’- it’s thrilling.

But the joy of the song is not in picking out and identifying individual elements. It’s in all these things playing together in one rhythmically and melodically rich song, each affecting my ear, head, body and soul in different was simultaneously. The lead in to the bass with tinkling bells and simple drum beat, the addition to the mix of the guitar, the handclaps, and then the space cleared for the vocals, clear, spaced, the reach down of the guitar to the bass and then sudden high notes. It’s a sound I could drown in.

Of the three of them, the musician I have most enjoyed listening to after loving this song is Justin Adams, whose solo material is as enjoyable. And I think it’s his guitar playing that is the heart of this song for me – it’s the thread through it which I follow, even as the other instruments magnify and ground the beautiful distinctive sound he makes.

There. I’m not sure I’ve done the song justice, but it’s up there in my pantheon of wonderful sounds to listen to. That list is slowly getting filled up. And then what?


Porque sólo tengo soledad

Y los recuerdos tan perdido
Un momento doloroso

¡Ay, qué vida tan oscura!

Para que me sufro más


Tus manos que tocan canciones
Para mí fue religión

Pero los recuerdos tan perdido
Un momento doloroso

Díme que me amarás

¡Ay, qué vida tan oscura!
Sin tu amor no viviré

Los recuerdos tan perdido
Un momento doloroso


One thought on “Write Here, Write Now: 2.25 – Soledad

  1. Iain Smallwood

    Indeed it’s a great song. I hadn’t listened to it for a long time before just now so it’s nice to bring it back. It would seem appropriate to dance alone to song called Solitude.


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