Playlist and Videos: Feliz Cinco de Mayo 2015

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This week is full of reasons to celebrate! I’ll be posting things throughout the week in honor of these days, but for today we’ll start with Cinco de Mayo.

Since My daughter started Kindergarten, I have met many families who are working on incorporating more bilingual music and entertainment into their children’s lives. The most common statement I hear is that there is very little selection out there. It’s during these times that I think about how lucky I am to know so many wonderful children’s artists who are making rich, educational and entertaining music for this reason. It would be remiss of me NOT to share some knowledge with them.

As I was listening back to today’s playlist, I kept thinking about how I could listen to these songs any day of the year. There is so much joy, beauty and thought put into these songs. They rock! Every single artist on this list has a unique way of presenting their work, and whether you speak the language or not, you will want to sing along. Though most of the titles below are in Spanish, many the songs themselves contain English and Spanish lyrics, blended seamlessly so that the English translation either immediately precedes or follows the Spanish translation.

As a bonus, I’ve included a new single by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, an awesome video by Nathalia and a sweet, whimsical video by ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!.

It’s a whole musical fiesta up in here today and I encourage you to check everyone out. Clicking on the song names will take you to iTunes where you can sample and download them.

Piñata Attack – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Single]
Nuestra Fiesta – ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! [en Español y en inglés]
What Time Is It? – Moona Luna [Vamos, Let’s Go!]
Veo VeoMariana Iranzi [Hola Hello]
Una Concha En La MesaFuture Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
RatonesMister G [ABC Fiesta]
El Cucuy (feat. Ruben Ramos)Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]
Arte Perdido – Future Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
Kidz Rock (feat. Mista Cookie Jar) Twinkle Time [Single]
El Tren – Mariana Iranzi [Hola Hello]
La Pequeña Araña – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]
Magical Nathalia [Dream A Little / Sueña un Poquito]
Frota Tu Panza – Mister G [ABC Fiesta]
Ave De Nylon – Future Hits [Today is Forever / Hoy es para siempre]
Tú Eres Mi Amor – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band [Aquí, Allá]


For more bilingual children’s programming check out the following links:

Mariana Iranzi – Video: Los Pollitos
¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés! – Videos: If I Was A Mariachi and La Clave + La Clave Tutorial
Mister G – Video: Everything’s Free at the Library and Bossy “E”
Twinkle Time – Video: Kidz Rock (fest. Mista Cookie Jar)
Lucky Diaz – ¡Fantastico! Album Review

Check this out: ¡Fantastico! – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

LDFJB_FANTASTICO_WEBWhen I look through childhood photos and see my grandmother, I recall her singing to me in her own language. While I didn’t understand the words at first, repetition and the rich, steady rhythm of her voice compelled me to sing along. Naturally, my mother also sang those songs, sometimes accompanied by the piano as my sister and I gathered around her. This passage of song and tradition is something that still exists in my family today and is always revived when we get together. As I watch my own daughter take my place as the babe in my grandmother’s/mother’s arms, I recall those days fondly and am grateful to be able to share a piece of our history with her.

This is the feeling I get from listening to ¡Fantastico!, the first Spanish-language album by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. On a recent trip to visit family in Texas, Diaz reconnected with his Mexican heritage and was inspired by the experience of sharing it with his daughter, Ella. “Tres Ratones,” initially featured on last year’s highly acclaimed A Potluck, and included on ¡Fantastico!, was the first all Spanish track to come out of that trip.

¡Fantastico! also features one new song by Diaz. “La Vibora,” a quick paced dance tune, is a traditional Latin song which was sung to Diaz by his grandmother and mother when he was a child. The rest of the songs have been reworked and could easily be considered original. For example, “ABC is the Place To Be” appears as “Los Numeros.” Curious about the translation process and the making of this record, I had a chance to speak with Diaz who explained, “We worked with a producer in Texas, named Noe Benitez. He really helped tighten the translation part up as well. We wanted the Latino community to feel the songs’ authenticity but also wanted non-Spanish speakers to enjoy them and feel they could sing along.” As a fan of Diaz’s existing work, I can completely concur that this album is one your family will enjoy regardless of your mother tongue.

While many of the songs aren’t direct translations, we particularly enjoy listening to the English and Spanish versions together. Hearing the English words and understanding the story within the song gives us an idea of what the words mean in the Spanish versions. It’s an educational process that I love engaging in with my daughter even though she is able to follow along with the Spanish words just fine on her own. In fact, she prefers the Spanish versions at times, excited by the fact that she is learning and speaking a new language.

Although we have many favorites, “Tres Ratones” was and continues to be the reigning champion. It’s a fun song about a hungry cat and three mice. The song’s catchy chorus naturally encourages participation as the cat says “meow meow meow.” Other songs we dig are the surf rock beats of “Gato Astronata,” the retro-pop sweetness of Alisha Gaddis’s “uh oh’s” in “A Bailar” and the humorous banter between Diaz and his daughter in “¿Qué dices?” The latter, like its English counterpart, includes some fine scat singing by Diaz which is something my daughter loves to imitate. Randomly hearing “zom bom bom bom ba doba daba doombop boombada do bop” followed by “qué dices” from the mouth of a 4 year old is awesome!

¡Fantastico! is a colorful album steeped in tradition and a perfect reintroduction to the sweet sounds of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Moving from last year’s communal supper to an all out gran fiesta, Diaz and the crew succeed again in delivering hip, danceable tracks that are filled with undeniable charm and infectious pop melodies.

You can listen to and purchase ¡Fantastico! via the Bandcamp widget below, as well as Amazon and iTunes.