The first single from ABBA’s 1979 album Voulez-Vous, this reached the Number 1 spot in eleven different countries. ‘Chiquitita’* takes influence from Simon & Garfunkel’s recording of Peruvian folk song ‘El Condor Pasa’ – this is particularly evident in the chorus, where the bass plays a root-fifth ‘2-feel’ pattern.
Speaking of the chorus, hands up if you’d heard this song many times and never clocked the 5/4 bar (I definitely missed it). This is one of the hallmarks of quality song writing – using odd meters out of musical necessity, rather than to show off that you have a music degree (I’m looking at you, Dream Theater).
The bass line of ‘Chiquitita’ is a fairly standard pop affair, with Rutger Gunnarsson’s solid playing anchoring the song throughout. During the verses, Rutger’s part is predominantly dotted minims with the use of scalar passing tones to create a sense of movement between the root note of each chord. Watch out for the 2/4 bars!
For the chorus, the bass takes on an almost ‘country’ 2-feel; take care over your note lengths here, keeping the crotchets staccato to give the part the right amount of ‘bounce’. This can be achieved through left hand muting, particularly where open strings are involved.
*Ever since I heard someone on a gig refer to this song as ‘Chicken Tikka’ I can never say the title without thinking about curry.