MADRID — Spain’s premier soccer organization, La Liga, held a high-profile presentation in Madrid on Tuesday evening for a new anthem as part of its “Latidos del futuro” (Heartbeats of the Future) program, which will be used for years to come as a soundtrack at each of its fixtures and during league TV programming, similar to UEFA’s now-iconic Champions League anthem.
Tuesday evening’s event was held at the Fundación Francisco Giner de los Ríos in downtown Madrid, where stars from the world of Spanish soccer, TV and music braved 100 degree plus temperatures and an exceedingly-rare daytime-rainstorm to mingle with club representatives from across the country and international press. Popular Spanish TV presenter Roberto Leal MC’d the day’s festivities.
Most of the league’s high-profile teams are in the middle of their offseason tours outside of Spain, but videos were played of Spanish national team and Barcelona and Real Madrid legends Andrés Iniesta and Iker Casillas’ reactions to the new hymn, both of whom were just as impressed as the hundreds in attendance in Madrid.
The soundtrack was composed by Spanish prodigy Lucas Vidal. A regular on lists of “Youngest composer to X” lists, Vidal has composed for TV – winning a Sports Emmy Award for outstanding composition for ESPN’s ‘Los capitanes’; high-profile Spanish films – scoring Spanish Academy Goya awards for best original score with “Endless Night” and best original song “Palmeras en la nieve” from the film “Palm Trees in the Snow”; and major Hollywood fare – “Fast & Furious 6.” He has also composed for the Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics Games.
Vidal gave an inspired talk on Tuesday evening, explaining his inspirations, how he implemented different aspects La Liga asked him to include, and the process of piecing the international composition together.
“I was approached by La Liga and I thought it was a joke from a friend or something,” he told Variety after the premiere. “I started working on it knowing that this was a huge responsibility on me as a composer, to work on such an important anthem that millions and millions will hear eventually.
According to Vidal, his work on the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was invaluable experience: “I think that in terms of production I learned a lot on that project, as well as the films I’ve done. The approach is different here because I don’t see a scene or follow a script. I was following the sounds from the crowds, the fans in the stadiums. The process was inverted, which was very fun.”
The song’s theme, heartbeats of the future, is more than just lip-service. 300 expectant mothers participated in the creation of the anthem, having their unborn children’s heartbeats recorded with echography to provide the song’s two-pulse beat. For one deaf mother who participated, the vibrations from the recording playback were for the first time she was able to experience her child’s heartbeat.
“La Liga had the idea to use heartbeats because those kids are the future of the league,” said Vidal. “I took the echography recordings and slowed down the beat a bit. After that I wanted to include clapping, which is so international. We all clap to music and at sporting events, and it’s very percussive. I thought it would be a great way to copy the heartbeat.”
To record the song, Vidal traveled across Europe, recording bits and pieces while employing the best international musicians he could find. In the end, 130 musicians from 20 countries were involved including a Czech choir which recorded at Prague’s Smecky Music Studios, and a U.K. orchestra which worked out of London’s iconic Abbey Road.
“I wanted to make sure that it’s an international song,” Vidal explained. Some people expect it to be recorded in Spain or to be totally Spanish, but La Liga has millions of spectators internationally. We thought it would be best to blend musicians from around the world. We didn’t want to sound only Spanish or Italian or America.”
The new song can be heard on streaming platforms as well as La Liga’s official YouTube channel, where listener reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s the link: