superdumb supervillain: In Spanglish, Por Favor

Sunday, February 08, 2009

In Spanglish, Por Favor

I grew up in Hawaii but I moved to Texas right before my junior year of high school. It was a culture shock, to say the least, but thankfully I had taken a couple of years of Spanish already so I was somewhat prepared for the tex-mex bastardization of the English language. "Spanglish" is a kind of netherworld of language (like Pidgin in Hawaii), sort of English, sort of Spanish. If you know bits of both, you can get by in either, or at least order off a menu at your local taqueria. Nowadays, Spanish is more common. I know Roo learns some Spanish phrases in school and, of course, from her pals Dora and Diego. But there must be a better way to teach your child some Spanish without having to listen to the grating call and repeat-three-times over and over again, right?

Will Thomas, a.k.a. the Spanish Wrangler, has released a CD that will have your kids dancing and singing without even realizing they're picking up bilingual vocabulary. And, even better, it doesn't suck. Spanglish Sing-Along has a lazy, downbeat groove that will appeal to kids and parents alike. It doesn't clobber you over the head with vocabulary lessons, but uses a catchy melody and witty narrative style to get the point across. Perhaps the most literal line-by-line vocabulary practice occurs in "Feliz Cumpleanos" and "Bear's Picnic" but Thomas is so mellow that it never seems like a drill. He has a gentle style similar to acoustic compatriots like Jack Johnson or G. Love that somehow put me in a Gulf Coast state of mind. Who doesn't like to be reminded of crawfish boils, Moon Pies and tamale carts? And, seriously, how awesome is it that the Spanish Wrangler wrote a song about cockroaches ("Cucaracha") and set it to Earth, Wind and Fire's "September"? Really awesome, indeed.

Buy The Spanish Wrangler's "Spanglish Sing-Along" at super cool indie music retailer CD Baby.

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