Friday, February 21, 2014

Ethan's Playlist

This is the Cri-Cri collection that we own
In a former post I talked about trying to prioritize what's really important to me when raising Ethan. One of the practices that made the list was raising Ethan in a bilingual household.  Growing up, my parents and extended family only spoke Spanish, and I have always felt very grateful for this priceless gift.  Unfortunately, lack of practice has left my Spanish skills greatly lacking but I am determined to strengthen my Spanish and foster the same love for the language, in my children, that my family instilled in me.

One way that I am supporting this love is by playing children's songs in Spanish to Ethan.  As I was growing up my mom would always sing Cri-Cri songs to me.  Cri-Cri was the alias that Francisco Gabilondo Soler composed and sang under. Cri-Cri is known as the singing cricket (el grillo cantor).   Francisco Gabilondo Soler performed his first set of children's songs in 1934 in Mexico, and has been a hit in Mexican households ever since.

My mom grew up listening to his songs on the radio.  She says that growing up, Cri-Cri and Francisco Gabilondo Soler were to Mexico, what Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are to the United States. She sang them to me as a child, and now I play them and sing them to Ethan.  This is such a wonderful tradition that I am so happy to pass along to my son.  It's not just about the language though, I love these songs.  When I was listening to them in the car and my friend Emily heard them she was surprised at how beautiful they are.  The music is made up of violins, piano, and harps; if you didn't know Spanish you wouldn't even know some of the songs are children's songs.  What I also love are that a lot of them actually make some serious social commentary.  For instance the song, La Patita, talks about a mother duck who doesn't have enough money to buy her ducklings food, and her lazy husband just sits at home all day doing nothing.  Pretty intense for a children's song, but it's sung with such tenderness that you find yourself loving and rooting for this hardworking mother duck.

One disclaimer though is that these songs were written in the 30's and some aren't very PC.  There's a song were a child gets spanked for being a cry baby, and quite a few songs that draw upon racial stereotypes (I just skip those when we're listening to the CDs, and when Ethan gets older I plan on explaining to him how things were and why we don't stereotype anymore).  Overall most of the songs are very beautiful and heartfelt.

Like I said, Ethan isn't the only one who loves these songs; below I'm going to share a few of our favorite tracks from the 4 disk set.

La Muneca Fea

Los Caballitos

La Guacamaya

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