Start the new year off with some music that will inspire your whole family to remember and honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here are the direct links to add the “I Have A Dream” song to any of your favorite playlists plus a list of MLK Day freebies for you.
Haven’t heard the song yet? You can click on the Youtube video below!
The winter holidays are a fun time to explore celebrations and traditions from around the world. When you do, why not learn a favorite Christmas carol in another language? You might want to choose a language from your family’s heritage or maybe one from the community around you. Maybe you’re living as an expat in another country and want to embrace one of their favorite songs, or just reach out and expand your linguistic abilities.
Check out these helpful tips on learning a song in another language with your kids or dive right into our version of Jingle Bells in Russian below! Beneath that, we’ve included links to past posts on Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer in Japanese and Jingle Bells in Mandarin, plus a fun cheat sheet that shares holiday greetings in 18 different world languages
LANGUAGE LEARNING TIPS
Pick a song that’s fun to sing and has a catchy tune!
Pick a language from your family heritage or one you’d like to learn.
Pick a language where someone you know can help you with the lyrics or pronunciation. Will Grandma help with that song in Italian or Papou help with a carol in Greece?
If learning the whole song is too daunting (language is difficult or your kids are very young), just learn the chorus – that’s usually very easy to master.
Write out the lyrics phonetically. Break them down into easy-to-pronounce syllables.
Praise you kids (or yourself) for exploring a new language. Learning a new language is not easy but encouragement and praise help a new speaker gain both confidence and capacity!
A video of a new song or a live “singing Christmas card” makes a great gift for a grandparent or loved one abroad.
Enjoy the process as you make happy holiday memories.
Now, here’s a version of Jingle bells for anyone wishing to learn a bit of Russian this year!
Have you noticed the hastag #ChristmasAroundTheWorld? I love seeing how very special holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah, are celebrated from culture to culture, with beautiful and diverse traditions. Want to celebrate #HanukkahAroundTheWorld with me?
Here’s a lovely little counting song from Spain in the Ladino language for you!
Is this Song In Spanish?
No. If you speak Spanish many of the words will sound very familiar, but the language is Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish. Many people may not know that Jewish people traveled throughout the world bringing their meaningful customs with them. Jewish people who established communities in Spain and Portugal were often known as Sephartic Jews and many of their traditions melded with their new homeland. Sadly, they were cruelly expelled from Spain in the late 1400’s and traveled to find new homes around the world in places such as Mexico, North Africa and even the United States.
Is The Ladino Language Still Alive?
Languages and mother tongues are so important to their speakers. A while back I shared a story about a marvelous musical mom named Sarah Aroeste who is proud to be raising her children bilingually in Ladino and English! She even created a children’s music CD to share her Ladino language with the world. You can check it out at the link below.
What Do The Lyrics Say?
You probably already guessed that the 1- 8 part of the song counts the candles on the menorah. I’ve added a new first verse in English because so many of my friends and fans speak English. The lyrics to the song are below with translations from the Ladino next to them.
Whether you are Jewish or not, I wish you a very beautiful holiday of lights!
OCHO KANDELIKAS – LYRICS
The holiday of lights is here
Good friends and happiness to share
Sweets with honey for us to eat
Candles to light and friends to greet
One little candle . . . (etc.) 8 little candles . . . For me
Hanukah lindo sta aki (beautiful Hanukkah is here) ocho candelas para mi (eight candles for me) Una kandelika, dos kandelikas, tres kandelikas, kuatro kandelikas, sintju kandelikas, sysh kandelikas, sieto kandelikas, ocho kandelikas para mi
Muchas fiestas vo fazar, (There will be lots of celebrations) con alergrias i plazar (With happiness and pleasure) Una kandelika (etc.)
Los pastelikas vo kumer, (We will eat the sweets) con almendrikas i la miel (With almonds and honey) Una kandelika (etc.)
Have you ever seen an ASL (American Sign Language) translator interpret a speech, a discussion or a song? It’s an amazing ballet of graceful movement and dynamic expression. In fact, although it doesn’t use words or sounds at all, ASL is an amazing language that may already be part of your family’s life!
What is ASL?
If you are deaf or hearing impaired or have a family member or friend who is deaf or who signs, you already know what American Sign Language is. If you don’t, here is one of the best definitions, from the NICED:
“American Sign Language (ASL) is a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.”
Watch And Learn
Although becoming fluent in ASL could take years, it can be fun to dive in and learn basic words by taking a course, studying online or – my favorite – by using music. A few months ago I began to create ASL videos of my most popular songs and their links are below. In addition to these songs, I’ve asked a wonderful ASL interpreter named Destiny Yabro (seen in the videos) to create extra videos explaining and demonstrating 10 signs from each song. Below is the current list of ASL “Sign Along With Me” videos, but please bookmark and check back as I frequently add more.
Do you have a favorite DARIA song? If so, contact me at dariamusic at yahoo dot com under the heading ASL Suggestion and I just might do your favorite song next. Also, if you are a teacher and need these videos for your students in a format other then Youtube, please check out my TPT site, where you can stream them for use in the classroom.
Welcome to our new section – posts featuring books about music. And there are some amazing books out there that inspire children with tales of world cultures, especially through the eyes – and ears – of musical traditions!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez who was born in Mexico City, this lovely book shares a very personal vision into the world of the mariachi and Mexican music traditions. Angela’s grandfather – or abuelo – was a real life mariachi and music helped him weather the ups and downs of life.
Filling this beautiful book about Angela’s Abuelo Apolinar are stories from his actual life – a childhood accident, moving to a new city alone and other struggles. Through it all, singing and music help him stay happy and connected with the things in life that mattered most to him.
Where does the title – Sing, Don’t Cry – come from? It’s a translation of part of the chorus of the song, Cielito Lindo. A staple of mariachi music, Cielito Lindo was written way back in 1882 by Mexican author Quirino Mendoza y Cortés and has a beloved place in the world of Mexican music. The chorus of the song roughly translates to… Sing, Don’t Cry, Because singing gladdens the heart.
Here’s the chorus translated and a video so you can enjoy the song, if you aren’t already familiar with it!
Ay, ay ay ay… canta no llores Por que cantando se allegran, cielito lindo, los corazones
Ai, ai, ai ai – sing don’t cry Because singing gladdens the heart (heavenly one, dear)
(One translation note here – the phrase cielito lindo literally means pretty little sky but is a term for a dear one or a sweetheart)
I really enjoyed this book because it speaks of the powerful connection between generations. The grandfather in the story gets to share his big life lessons with his grandchildren as well as his music. And clearly, his granddaughter is sharing her talent with the world as well! You can find Sing, Don’t Cry at your local library or purchase it on Amazon, here: http://a.co/7Z65b0E .
The phrase Gong Xi Gong Xi resounds everywhere during Chinese New Year. In fact, one translation of the New Years song explains:
(In) Every big street (and) little alley The first sentence (we) say When (we) see each other) Must be” “Congratulations! Congratulations!” Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations to you!
Since it is so popular, some may think it’s a traditional song or folksong, but it was written by a popular Chinese composer, Chen Gexin, with the original title: Wishing You Prosperity and Happiness. The literal meaning of “Gong Xi” is “congratulations”. Written by Chen Gexin on the occasion of China’s liberation after the Sino-Japanese war in 1945, the lyrics use the most popular New Year’s phrase and talk about the coming of Spring, so the song quickly became a favorite during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Here’s a version that shows the Chinese characters and gives tips on pronouncing the lyrics to the song:
Here’s a fun bilingual version of a different Chinese New Years Song with lyrics in Chinese and English. Even though it’s a different song, you can hear the same chorus of Gong Xi Gong Xi, that rings out everywhere during this beautiful and happy celebration.
Love this song? Add it to your Spotify or Apple Music playlist and listen free at the links below this post.
Did you know that singing the entire “Feliz Navidad” means learning only 6 new words in Spanish? And these are definitely 6 new words and 2 phrases that you and your kids will love to use around holiday time. Of course, you know the song. It goes like this:
Here’s our Feliz Navidad cheat sheet and a free lyric sheet below.
If you enjoy this song, you can listen to it at the Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora links below.
November is Native American Heritage Month and it’s a great time to connect with the rich cultures that exist thoroughout North and South America – as well as the world. Here’s an easy song to learn and sing that comes from Quechua culture and I’m proud to say that my version of this folksong from Peru is being used by children’s choruses across the USA.
What Is Quechua?
Quechua is a beautiful indigenous language that was spoken widely throughout South America during the time of the Incas. When Spanish Conquistadors arrived at that continent, dialects of Quechua were spoken in countries now known as Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia as well as the southern part of Columbia and the northern regions of Argentina.
Yaw, Yaw, Puka Polleracha
So here’s the song and a video of the song. The lyrics are simple. Someone is calling to a girl in the red skirt (puka = red, polleracha = skirt, yaw = hey). The person singing says “I saw what you did and I am going to tell your mom and dad on you!”
Learn More About Quechua and A Child’s Life In The Andes
If you like the song, you can find the complete lyric sheet, plus two language freebies below. These are a great way to learn about Quechua and get a sense of what the language sounds like and what some common words and phrases are.
And remember, all folk songs that come from a specific culture describe life in that world. If you enjoy the song, you might like to check out my E-book: A Child’s Life In The Andesthat shares more about the music, the food, the chores and the day to day life of children in this beautiful indigenous culture.
We’re excited to share news of a great new day and a great way to bring the family or community together – through music! Check out this guest post from the good folks at Play Music on the Porch Day.
What if for one day everything stopped…and we all just listened to the music?
Imagine, if you can, one day where the sounds of arguments and fighting are replaced with sounds of unity.
One day where those who normally build walls against each other, instead build bridges; note by note. One day where common ground can be found regardless of your race, religion, culture or differences. For there is a sound that rises above it all. One day where language is not a barrier. For, what is being communicated transcends our many different languages and each person feels in their heart what is understood by all.
A day where all can find shelter, unity and a greater understanding of each other. Where we can celebrate the diverse sounds our world holds. Play Music on the Porch Day is offering a platform to do just that. We believe everyone has their own unique sound, let the world hear it.
Join us and share your music and let yourself shine! Together we can light up the world with music!
Register to be added to the map:tinyurl.com/Register4PMOTPD and you can join this amazing group of people ready to make some great music on the 26th!
This year National Grandparents Day is September 10th. If you were wondering, in the USA it’s always celebrated the second Sunday in September.
And around the world, there are similar annual holidays and celebrations to honor grandparents But; honestly, any time of year is a great time to appreciate the role of that special someone or group of grands in your child’s life.
One easy and fun way to bring generations together and make lasting memories is through sharing music, especially the simple or special songs that meant a lot to grandma or granddad. In our family, our Greek Xiaxia shared a version of patty-cake in Greek that the kids remember and sing to this day. Their other grandmother loved to tell them about the silly songs she sang at school like “Three Little Fishies” and “Jadda, Jadda Jing Jing Jing!”. Because these songs mean so much to old and young alike, I created a CD of songs that were hand-picked by my fans and audiences in response to the question: “What songs would you most like your grandkids to hear”.
The result (and it’s a give-away below) was a CD called Grandchildren’s Delight and it includes songs like You Are My Sunshine, Grand Old Flag, This Little Light of Mine, Oh Susannah, Playmate and so many more. So please, enter to win below but also remember how music can bring old and young together.
I bet there’s a special song you recall from your childhood or memory that’s just waiting to be sung to your little one!
Yes, I am still asking folks about favorite songs from their childhood or their parent’s era. Either from the USA or anywhere around the world! Do you have a special song from jump rope, summer camp or a holiday you loved? If so, let me know. I’d love to share it with my readers and my audiences.