A Bilingual Child: Music Is Our Religion Part II

Music and a Bilingual Child

Almost a year ago, I wrote about Mr T’s musical tastes.  As you might expect, they have since changed a little bit, with the biggest difference being that there are now a couple of Brazilian songs in his favourites list.  However, I am glad, and proud, to report that so far he still  broadly likes music with guitars.

Whenever he hears a new song on the radio in the car he asks me ‘Is this rock ‘n’ roll, daddy?’  If I tell him it isn’t then he is generally not happy about it at all.

If I tell him it is then he smiles and makes the universal symbol of rock music.

So here is the current Top 10 direct from Mr T’s Musical Taste.

Polícia by Titãs

This song is probably Mr T’s favourite song at the moment, and this is undoubtedly because of his growing obsession with the police.  He always wants to play cops and robbers with me, and you can probably guess who has the handcuffs and is constantly being thrown in prison.

This means there is a good chance that Mr T has missed the not so subtle message of the song which is a protest against the way police behave in Brazil.  The song was written shortly after two of the band members were falsely arrested for heroin trafficking.

Fortunately, Mr T hasn’t found this cover version of the song produced by one of Brazil’s most successful musical exports.

I Fought the Law by The Clash

Again, this song is one of Mr T’s favourites because of its associations with the police.  He loves shouting out at random times how he fought the law, but the law won, and he places a lot of emphasis on the words ‘the law won’.  Obviously I am happy that our son is starting to like the Clash, but I am doubly pleased because was the song that my wife and I walked into our reception to nearly 10 years ago.

Geração Coca Cola by Legião Urbana

The second Brazilian song ( The Coca Cola Generation), and this one is by one of my favourite Brazilian bands.  Whenever I hear Legiao Urbana (Urban Legion) I can hear The Clash, The Joy Division and The Violent Femmes, all of whom I love.  But they use these influences, and more, in a very urban Brazilian way so that they produce something that is unique.

Mr T likes to play with this song and change some of the lyrics.  My particular favourite is when he decided to sing Griassol Coca Cola (Sunflower Coca Cola)

I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll by Joan Jett

If a song isn’t about the police then it normally has to be about rock for Mr T to like it, and this is the first of three songs that prove my point.  These three tracks usually come as a package, so when he sings one he soon moves onto one of the other two.

I must admit that I reckon this is a bit of a corny song, but when it is mangled by a three-year-old it takes on a charm of its own.

We Will Rock You by Queen

Mr T only knows the 4 words of the title from this song, but he takes great pleasure in beating out the rhythm on anything that comes to hand; the sofa, a table or my head all make very good drums.  As his pronunciation isn’t quite perfect yet, he sometimes substitutes the /r/ sound from ‘rock’ for a /f/ sound.  Every time I hear it I have to do a double take to see if he really knows what he is singing or not.

Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night by Kiss

Kiss are another band that I never really understood, too many painted faces, wild costumes a crap music for my liking.  However, they have a song about rocking and rolling all night, and even partying every day, so that is enough for a 3-year-old to think they are brilliant.

Bongo Bong by Manu Chao

This song came up on my i-Pod in the car and was an immediate success.  It is quite different to the songs he usually likes, but it got his attention and he asked for it to be played again.  I’m not allowed to sing along to this song, but his mamãe is, but only the line ‘I’m the king of bongo drums’, the rest of the time we have to be quiet and listen.  Being quiet is a rare thing in itself, and because it’s such a good song I am very happy to play it in the car for a few minutes of peace from the back seat.

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? by The Clash 

This is the latest song to make it into Mr T’s favourites.  So far he has managed to learn two words: ‘go now’.  This means we have to sing the rest of the song and stop for those last two words of the title for them to be belted out toddler style.  But it’s another Clash song, so it will be played a lot over the next few months and so I have no doubt Mr T will pick up more of the words very soon.

One More Time by Daft Punk

It isn’t about the police, it doesn’t use guitars and there is no sign of the word ‘rock’ in the whole song.  By rights, this shouldn’t be on the list, however it is and, what’s more, it was also on the last list a year ago so it has stood the test of time.

Vapor Barato by O Rappa

This is a very late entry into the charts.  Last week Mr T was listening to music in the car with his mamãe when this song (I’d translate it as ‘Cheap Steam’) came on.  I like some songs by this group, but this isn’t one of them.  But when has that ever stopped a kid from liking a song?  Mr T particularly likes singing the chorus of ‘Baby, baby, baby’ over and over again, and in so doing only putting me off the song even more.

Images used in this post: Guitar by Alejandro C CC BY-NC 2.0Rock Hands by Ryan CC BY 2.0 and Turn it up to 11 by Kainet CC BY-SA 2.0

World Cup 2014: Brazil, Football and Music.

Right back at the beginning of the Word Cup, and the start of my series of posts for MKB World Cup for Kids, I asked people what Brazil was famous for, with the idea that I could write some posts based on these ideas.

One person, on Facebook I think, rightfully mentioned that Brazil is famous for samba but that there is also a lot of other music that Brazil doesn’t get recognition for.  There are great jazz musicians, heavy metal artists, funk singers and DJs that all come from Brazil.  There are also a lot of crap sertanejo, pagode and axé musicians around, but then every country has its fair share of shame in the music stakes.

But as this is the World Cup I thought I’d share some of the music from Brazil about, or inspired by football.  I don’t make any claim to all of them being on my playlist, but I have culled a lot of songs that I think are awful.  If you would like to find out about more songs from Brazilian artists about football you can do a Google search for musica brasileiro futebol.

Jorge Ben Jor – Fio Maravilha

This song is about a footballer whose nickname was Fio Maravilha.  It tells the story of a friendly game in which he was brought onto the pitch in the 33rd minute and scored ‘the goal of an angel’.  Due to legal problem between the singer and the player you’ll often see the song called Filho Maravilha, which would be translated as ‘Wonderful Son’.  This particular version also features the brilliant Gilberto Gil.

Skank – É Um Partido do Futebol (It’s a Football Match)

Skank are a rock/reggae/indie band that started in the early 1990’s.  Despite being very successful in Brazil they haven’t really sought international recognition, which surely would have been theirs if they had tried.

Elis Regina – Aqui É O Pais do Futebol (The Football Country Is Here)

I love Elis!  I think she has to be one of my top two favourite Brazilian musicians.  She sang some great political songs during the dictatorship and managed to get away with it.  I like to think this was because of her voice, but it was probably because the authorities were too stupid to figure out what she was actually singing about.  This isn’t one of her best, but it’s still pretty good.

Pixinguinha – Um a Zero (One Nil)

Pixinguinha was one of the first popular Brazilian musicians.  He started playing in bands and recording songs when he was still a teenager in the early 20th century in Lapa, Rio de Janeiro.  He is credited with bringing choro to the Brazilian masses as well as being around for the birth of samba.

Chico Buarque – O Futebol (Football)

Along with Elis Regina, Chico Buarque is probably my other favourite Brazilian musician.  If you have never heard of him, them shame on you.  For this particular song I chose a video with images of Garrincha, the Brazilian footballer who was probably better than Pele, and definitely loved more than the Viagra-selling-wannabe-politician.

Edu Krieger – Desculpe, Neymar (Sorry, Neymar)

No, this isn~t a lament for Brazil’s star player breaking his back.  Instead, this song is a letter to Neymar telling him that the author will not be supporting Brazil at this World Cup because of the corruption, huge budgets and the problems facing Brazilian society.

Bonus track – Atlético’s Fanáticos drummers

Practically every team in Brazil has its band of drummers and my team, Atlético Paranaense, is no different.  The organised supporters group for Atlético is called The Fanáticos, and they have come in for some criticism for links to hooligans and crime.  They have a decent set of drummers, though.

I have left loads of songs off this list.  If you know of any in particular that you think are better than the ones I have mentioned, please just leave a comment below.

World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid Blogs

This blog piece is a part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs series on World Cup for Kids.  If you would like to follow the World Cup from the point of view of kids around the world then please go and check out the site.  There are bloggers from all of the competing countries as well as articles about Brasil and how to get kids interested in sport.


Music Is Our Religion: 8 Great Songs to Play to a Toddler

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix  by Luiz Fernando Reis CC BY 2.0

The great Jimi Hendrix is widely quoted as saying that ‘music is my religion’ and it could quite easily apply to our family as well.  Despite not being able to play an instrument or hold a note, I have always loved music.  My wife is considerably more talented than me, which isn’t saying much, and we have both sought to use music with our son right from a very young age.

Now that Mr. T is 2 ½ it seems he has developed his own musical tastes and is very happy to sing his songs on the toilet, in the supermarket or in the car.  Unfortunately, he seems to have inherited his both his father’s enthusiasm for music as well as his lack of talent, but that never stopped me so why should it stop him?

Here, then, is the Top 8 (it was originally 5, but since I decided to write this his choice has expanded) of Mr. T’s favourite songs that he knows how to sing/shout at least part of.  There is no Jimi Hendrix yet, but just give me some time and I’ll sort that one out.

1 – Hello Goodbye by The Beatles

This started a while ago when we were teaching him how to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.  The tune just popped into my head and I started singing it to him.  He quickly repeated me and so I went to find it on youtube.  When Mr. T watches it now he waves ant John and Paul when they wave to him.  It is by far his favourite song and when we are in the car he will often demand that we play it.

When we were in the UK my mother took Mr. T to the supermarket.  All the way around the supermarket he just sang various bits of the song at the top of his voice.  Apparently, even the most disgruntled of shoppers had a smile on their faces as they went by.

2 – Yellow Submarine by The Beatles

We have a series of books called Amazing Machines by Tony Mitton.  One of the books is called Super Submarines, and of course the submarine in question is yellow.  After about the 50th reading of this book I grew so bored I just sang the song as I turned the pages, and it was a great hit.

When I got the video on youtube I discovered that it could almost have been designed for kids.  The illustrations are so vivid with lots of fish and other creatures swimming in front of the screen that Mr. T delights in counting and naming everything that he sees.

It has also lead to a bit of creativity on Mr. T’s part as he is no longer content to just sing ‘We all live in a yellow submarine,’  apparently, I live in blue submarine, his mother lives in a pink submarine and his doe doe (granddad) and nana live in a green submarine.

3 – Blitzkreig Pop by The Ramones

The affection for this song was born at the beach during the summer.  We were getting ready to leave the house and I just blurted out ‘Hey ho, let’s go’.  The walk to the beach consisted of the whole family just repeating this refrain ad nauseam.  I still haven’t been able to correct his pronunciation of ‘Ramones’ yet, but it will happen one day.

4 – Paradise City by Guns ‘n’ Roses

On our last trip to the UK I was in the car with my mother and Mr. T in the back.  I was talking about something or other with my mum and, at the same time, Paradise City was playing on the radio.  To be honest, I wasn’t paying any attention to Mr. T and very little to the song, when all of a sudden a little voice popped up from the back seat singing ‘Take me home’ and I realised he was enjoying the song.  One of the few examples of him finding his own music rather than being introduced to it, and it shows impeccably good taste.

5 – What Does a Fox Say? By Ylvis

I can’t figure out if this is a brilliant parody of modern music, or itself an example of how crap a lot of stuff is.  I am siding with the last interpretation, but my son would probably say it is the height of excellence.  I showed him the video when it first came out and he didn’t seem to be that interested, but recently he will just randomly shout out ‘What a fox say?’ for no apparent reason.

6 – Happy by Pharell Williams

Ok, so this song has been almost everywhere in the last few months, so much so that it was starting to get slightly annoying.  That was until Mr. T heard it one day and just started to sing the word ‘Happy!’ over and over again.  Even better is that he seems to mean it as well as he always has a huge grin on his face as he sings it.  I can’t help but smile now whenever I hear it.

7 – Love Me Do by The Beatles

It would seem that Mr. T is growing up to be a big Beatles fan.  I was saying ‘I love you’ one night as he was going to and he repeated after me.  I said it again, and so did he.  I realised at the time that he was probably doing it just to be able to stay awake an extra few minutes, but this was one occasion when I didn’t mind.  After a few repetitions of ‘I love you’ I started singing ‘Love Me DO’ but it didn’t get much of a reaction.  A few days later I found the song on youtube and now he will start singing the chorus whenever anybody says they love him.

8 – One More Time by Daft Punk

Mr T’s catchphrase over the past couple of months has been ‘one more’.  If he wants to watch more Peppa Pig, he’ll look at you with the cutest face ever, hold up one finger and say in a very determined voice that would almost truck no disagreement, ‘One more, ok daddy!?’  The first few times I actually fell for this ploy as I thought he really only wanted more, but I think you can probably guess what happened after that one more.  So the other week I found this on my iPod and played it for him.  He was a bit confused to start with, and then he heard the refrain ‘one more time’ and loved it.  He tries to sing the rest of the chorus as well, but he slightly mangles the words.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Hitting the RIght Note for Little Hearts that Matter


Little Hearts MatterMusic is very important in our family.  I can’t play an instrument to save my life, and my singing voice is even worse, but I have always been around music, including being a roadie for my friends’ band, The Sherbet, when I was a teenager.  I realise that the main reason I was a roadie was probably the fact that I was one of the only ones with access to a car, but still.

My wife learnt the piano as a kid and, although she doesn’t really have the time to play anymore, can still play the odd tune every now and again.  She has an old electric keyboard that was gathering dust in the attic until I decided to drag it down one day and see how Mr. T would take to it.  Once again, it was a decision that showed just what a great dad I am.

He enjoys nothing more than banging away at the keys and making an unholy racket.  He seems to think he is the next Beethoven, and even copies his other by looking at the sheet music before slamming down on as many notes as possible.

He expects others to appreciate his efforts.  If we are not paying attention to him, which is difficult now that he knows where the volume button is, he will shout at me ‘daddy, dance!’  And then I have to shuffle around the living room as if it were the Stone Roses themselves playing live just for me.

The best thing about it, though, is the pre-recorded tunes that are on the keyboard.  The first tune in the program is the theme from the Star Wars films.  I haven’t shown him the film yet, and I won’t for a few years yet, but I am hopeful that when he does get around to watching to them the tune will be so ingrained in his memory that he will instantly love the film.

Unpaid Promotion for a Very Good Cause

My friends from The Sherbet will be playing a reunion gig at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham on May 30th.  It will be a sort of collective 40th birthday celebration as well as a way to raise money for Little Hearts Matter, a charity that helps babies born with heart problems.  If you are in the area you could do a lot worse than get along and check them out. It is bound to be a good night and it is for a good cause (the charity, not the 40th birthdays).  I wish I were back in Brum for it, but maybe I’ll be there for the 50th birthday celebrations.


Enhanced by Zemanta