In Spanish, the words el doble de amigos translate as twice a many friends. Knowing even a few words in someone else’s language — and using them – often opens doors to friendship and connection that would otherwise stay closed. or take much longer to creak open.
That’s one of the points behind Rosi and Brian Amador’s album El doble de amigos / Twice as Many Friends. The sixteen tracks gently and with a good deal of fun included offer stories designed to invite kids and adults alike to sing and dance and listen in both English and Spanish. The Amadors are well qualified to do this sort of thing. Rosi is of Puerto Rican and Argentinean backgrounds, and specializes in singing and percussion. Brian is a composer and guitarist who brings a deep knowledge of classical and flamenco guitar to his experiences growing up in a Mexican American family in New Mexico. Together, they lead a band of talented musicians from across the Americas who are known collectively as Sol y Canto. Rosi’s voice shines on each song, backed by strong and varied rhythms from instrumentalists and backing vocalists.
On El doble de amigos, the title track chosen by Sol y Canto introduces you to several common phrases in both languages, with words set to a lively cumbia beat. There a song about trains, and one called A volar cometas, which means Let’s go fly kites. Zapatos/ Shoes is filled with funny stories that will assure you’re going to remember that word and its meaning. Arco iris, which is about rainbows, asks the gentle and thoughtful question: rainbow, where do you sleep?
Ten of the songs are original with the Amadors, and six are covers from other sources. Chequi Morena is a traditional song game from Puerto Rico, for example, with English lyrics from Brian Amador to go along, and he added Spanish lyrics to Tom Paxton’s gentle hymn Peace Will Come. If you are looking for a song that would work for Earth Day, one of the originals on this album will fit right in. It is called Casa planeta, which in English is Planet House. You’ll feel right at home.
Earth Day or another day, it’s clear that the Amadors and all the other musicians involved in Sol y Canto are having a really good time with this music, and the odds are good that you will too. Perhaps you’ll add to your knowledge of Spanish words and musical rhythms along the way, as well.
You may also enjoy reading about Tish Hinojosa’s bilingual children’s album Cada Nino and two other fine albums to share with kids in the story Kidstuff: Music from the American Melting Pot.
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