One of the most enjoyable ways to learn or practice a foreign language is through music. Folk music and children’s artists like José-Luis Orozco are a great place to begin for young language learners.
Although my children are fluent in Mandarin, I myself, am fluent in Spanish. I began my own language journey when I was in high school and I continue to develop my language skills today.
When I was first learning Spanish, one of my class assignments was to memorize the lyrics to La Bamba. I had to work in the evening so I wrote the words out on paper and taped them to the wall where I could see them. As I worked I would look up and read a couple of lines and repeat it to myself several times. I would then add another couple of lines and repeat this process until I had the entire song committed to memory.
The movie, La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips had been released that year and the song was popular on the radio. Having learned it so well in high school, it became my “go to” song at Karaoke a few years later in college.
When the kids were little, we would borrow music CDs from the library featuring artists from the cultures we explored in our geography club.
Getting to Know José-Luis Orozco
One of my favorite children’s musicians is José-Luis Orozco. Born in Mexico City in 1948, Orozco grew fond of music at a young age. He learned many songs from his paternal grandmother.
I received a copy of Orozco’s new CD, ¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links through which I will earn a small commission.
At the age of 8, he became a member of the Mexico City Boy’s Choir. He traveled the world to perform and gained the cultural knowledge he now integrates into his music.
Orozco moved to California when he was 19 years old and earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He continued his education at the University of San Francisco earning a Master’s degree in Multicultural Education.
After completing his Master’s program, José-Luis dedicated himself to what he truly enjoys — singing and writing for children. He began performing for children and included bilingual songs in his repertoire even though his audiences were not Spanish speakers.
Award Winning Music & Bilingual Books
In 1971 he signed with Bilingual Media Productions label and released the first of 13 volumes for children, Lirica Infantil: Latin American Children’s Music. The album featured classic songs from Mexican, Central, and South American culture, including Guantanamera and Los Pollitos.
He has also written several successful award-winning bilingual books that feature an extraordinary collection of songs, rhymes, tongue twisters, lullabies, and games from various Spanish-speaking countries. His DVD releases feature live action and animation – all celebrating Latino culture.
- De Colores (Dutton 1994)
- Diez Deditos (Dutton 1997)
- Fiestas(Dutton 2002)
- Cantamos y Aprendemos con José-Luis Orozco (2003)
- Rin, Rin, Rin…Do, Re, Mi (2009)
¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body
Earlier this month, his latest CD was released, ¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, produced by Smithsonian Folkways.
This new album promotes fitness for children. It is the perfect complement to his earlier release, ¡Come Bien! Eat Right!, which promotes healthy eating habits.
Amongst the 18 bilingual tracks is Clap, Tap, Tralalá an original song by Orozco, encouraging kids to express themselves through movement and to learn new words.
Caution! His lyrics are catchy! I find myself singing this Clap, Tap, Tralalá as I go about my chores in the house. I know kids will love his music!