Singing in Spanish and English is twice as fun

September 13, 2013

“Hola, amigos. ¿Como estan? Are you ready to have some fun?” Mister G, a kids musician sings on his new album, “ABC Fiesta,” rhyming two languages as he strums his funky guitar.

Music is rhythmic, fun and memorable, and offers a great way to learn and celebrate Hispanic cultures. Sunday through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a perfect opportunity to see musicians sing in Spanish and English. (KidsPost is celebrating Hispanic heritage by translating today’s story into Spanish.)

Bilingual music

“Shake! Shake your manos! Kick your pies! Move your cabeza!” another musician, Andres Salguero, might sing at a concert. This kind of bilingual singing, or performing in two languages, makes sense these days. There are more Hispanic kids in the United States than there were when your parents were young. About one in four elementary school kids is Hispanic. That means that if there are 24 kids in a third-grade class, six of them might have ties to a Spanish-speaking country such as Mexico or Guatemala. Maybe they were born there, or maybe their family members were.

Dance along to Mister G's newest video, "ABC Fiesta," which can be seen for the first time here. Learn a few new words in Spanish while you're grooving, too! (Courtesy of Jessica Bass)

“I realized there was a need for a professional musician that celebrated Spanish and Latin culture,” said Salguero, 35, who was born in Colombia, a country in South America, and now lives in Virginia.

He plays hundreds of lively gigs each year in the Washington area, with the goal of encouraging Hispanic kids to feel proud of where they or their ancestors come from while helping non-Hispanic kids learn about those cultures.

He also wants to get kids speaking Spanish. “I want all the kids to feel really happy and proud of any Spanish they know,” he said.

Both musicians started their careers playing for adults, but they find playing for kids more fun. Kids have energy, joy and an honesty, they said. “If kids like it, they’re going to love it and dance and sing, and if they don’t like it, they will go to sleep,” Salguero said.

Writing in two languages

“Cocodrilo, cocodrilo, no me creo tu sonrisa,” Mister G, 46, sings about a smiling crocodile on his new album. Writing songs in two languages, Mister G said, has “doubled the fun for me.”

He studied Spanish in college and “loved it from the get-go,” he said. He’s been writing kids songs for about four years, but a recent trip to South America inspired him to write more bilingual songs.

On his new CD, Mister G plays with words, making rhymes in English and Spanish.

“Ratones, ratones, ratones en tus pantalones,” he sings about rats.

Both Salguero and Mister G, whose real name is Ben Gundersheimer, started playing the guitar when they were kids. Mister G grew up in Philadelphia. When he was 9 years old, he wrote his first song, called “Amy,” about a girl who wasn’t paying attention to him. Salguero started writing songs in his 20s. He moved to the United States about 10 years ago to attend music school.

“I wanted to celebrate and teach and promote bilingualism and specifically my home language of Spanish,” Salguero said.

Learning another language, he said, can lead to new discoveries. “If you learn a language, it’s this code that will allow you to enter a whole new world,” Salguero said.

And with Hispanic Heritage Month upon us, there’s no better time to start exploring that world through music.

GLOSSARY

(Glosario)

Here are some translated words to get you started:

culture — cultura

feet — pies

guitar — guitarra

hands — manos

head — cabeza

language — idioma

learn — aprender

kids — niños

music — música

read — leer

sing — cantar

song — canción

GO SEE A SHOW

Get a taste of Hispanic culture through some energetic and fun live music!

Andres Salguero and his show “¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!”

When: Thursday and Friday at
10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Where: Discovery Theater at the Smithsonian’s Theatre for Young Audiences, S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW.

How much: $6 ages 2-16, $3 age 1 and younger; $8 adults.

For more information: A parent can go to www.discoverytheater.org or call 202-633-8700.

When: September 21 at 10:30 a.m. (Doors open at 10.)

Where: Jammin Java, 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna.

How much: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

For more information: A parent can go to www.jamminjava.com or call 703-255-1566.

When: Every Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Where: Bloombars, 3222 11th Street NW.

How much: $7 suggested donation.

For more information: A parent can go to www.bloombars.com or call 202-567-7713.

Fiesta Musical at the National Zoo

Who: Local musician Verny Varela plays flute and sings in front of a six-piece band that includes horns, a keyboard, bass and a lot of drums. This rhythmic music from Latin America will get your hips swinging!

When: September 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: The National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW.

How much: Free.

For more information: A parent can go to www.nationalzoo.si.edu/events or call 202-633-4888.

Mister G

When: October 19 at 10:30 a.m. (Doors open at 10.)

Where: Jammin Java, 227 Maple Avenue East, Vienna.

How much: $10.

For more information: A parent can go to www.jamminjava.com or call 703-255-1566.

— Moira E. McLaughlin

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