Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Redesigned Website is Up!

It's taken a little while to get it all up but the new and improved Abbasubi website is alive! We decided it was time to make our website a little bit more complete and easy to use.

Here's what's new and different!
- It's prettier. Lots of pretty colors.
- There's video on the home page! You can see us dancing around without having to wait even one second.
- There's a whole new Fun Stuff section with coloring sheets and drawing sheets. We'll add more fun stuff as we find it!
- There's a nice news section on the home page to see the latest that's going on.
- There's a Press section with reviews of the CD and testimonials from people that have seen us. If you'd like to add your comments to the page, please email me at

Hope you like what you see. Please email me with comments!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cold but Fun at the Cortelyou Tot Lot

Okay so when we got to the Tot Lot, it was definitely cold. Every time the wind blew, there was an audible groan from the adults. The kids seemed pretty focused on waiting for Santa. In fact, we were basically the warm-up act for Santa and the kids between pretty much every song asked when Santa would arrive.

But as usual, the kids were wonderful in spite of the weather. They danced with us, wore the special Santa hats we gave out for El Baile del Sombrero, and even sang along with our special holiday songs we prepared for the show. We ended with a rousing version of Feliz Navidad just as Santa came in and started giving out presents.

We did most of the show holding Chloe and Kylen, and I think that may prove to be the main advantage of these new headset mics we have. We can now do the show holding our children in our arms. It was really fun to be a part of such a nice holiday tradition right in our backyard.

Friday, November 13, 2009

El Baile del Sombrero Review and Giveaway at Wanna Jugar with Migo?

We got a really nice write up on El Baile del Sombrero at a great blog called Wanna Jugar with Migo. It's written by Tati and Ginny who have great information and suggestions about teaching Spanish to kids. If you're interested in having your children speak Spanish, it's a blog you should definitely subscribe to.

It's always nice to get positive feedback on our music but Tati's description of the CD and Abbasubi is so spot-on that it feel like she and her family really understand why we made the CD and what we're all about. She really GETS us, man!

Here's a link to the review. If you want to get in the giveaway and get a copy of the CD, post on the blog! And sign up for Wanna Jugar with Migo on the blog and Facebook!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Write up of El Baile at Bilingual Fun

We got a nice little write-up on El Baile del Sombrero on the blog of a company called Bilingual Fun that teaches Spanish to children using their own DVDs based in Michigan. Jennifer Manriquez started the business with her husband (sounds familiar...) and there's a great little piece on her being interviewed on ABC news on their website.

Here's a link to the review!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Show at Colegio del Prado

When we lived in Argentina for five months, Chloe had her first school experience at a school called Colegio del Prado. The director and teachers were so welcoming to Chloe that she finally had to admit that she liked going to school. The school inspired Fati to write Mama Me Lleva a la Escuela and we decided to name the girl in Al Zoologico, Pau after Chloe first teacher at Colegio del Prado.

Although we were only going to visit Argentina for three weeks, we sent both kids this time to Colegio del Prado. The staff was so wonderful and accomodating and Chloe and Kylen rather miraculously, adapted really well to the school. "What? We're going to another country, where they speak a different language, and I'm going to go to school with kids I've never seen before for two week? Okay no problem." I think it's really a testament to how much Fati has worked to make sure the kids feel comfortable communicating in Spanish and how much they feel at home in Argentina.

In any case, with all this history, we had to do a show at the school and they had a family day while we were there which was the perfect opportunity to share our music with them.

Getting out the hats for the Baile

We had kids dancing on the jungle gym which was very cool

We got a bunch of kids dancing but best of all, our former next door neighbors came with their son and were all jumping up and down with us during Soy Muy Independiente. Seeing Seba, Gise, and Juampi pogoing with us yelling "Solo! Solo!" is a memory I'll always treasure.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Videos on You Tube from Negrito Manuel Show

We decided to hire the same people that videotaped our wedding in Argentina to videotape our first show in Argentina. They did a great job editing and fixing up the sound a bit and we put a bunch of them up on You Tube. Here's a link if you want to check them out!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fati & Charles are now International!

We played our first show outside the country at Jardin Negrito Manuel in Lujan, Argentina (where Fati is from). We were part of a wonderful night of performances on a night that was a benefit for the school. There was a table of postres, cakes, and cookies, choripan and panchos on the parilla, all made by parents of the school.

We were welcomed very warmly and the kids at the school even made a welcome banner for us! The parents, teachers and director of the school were all incredibly generous made us feel at home. The kids seemed to really enjoy the show despite some audio problems and we were happy to have participated in supporting the school.

Fati had to do all the talking at the show!

Chloe actually joined us for El Baile del Sombrero

I've now fallen asleep on two continents

One of the best parts of the evening was that a bunch of Fati's friends and family came to the show with their kids who knew all the songs already. They and some of their parents were singing and dancing along with us. One parent actually approached me after the show to express her extreme displeasure that we had not performed Manta which was her family's favorite song!

Cousin Dolores, Kylen, Charles, Fati, and Chloe for the Chau Song!

I think my favorite part of the evening was when the show finished at around 11, everyone pitched in to clean up and put away the chairs. Everyone at the school and the parents had that feeling of community and being accepted into that community without even a second thought was really special.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

El Baile del Sombrero is Product of the Month at Nairobi's Knapsack!

Nairobi's Knapsack, a wonderful toy store on Franklin Avenue in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights, featured El Baile del Sombrero as product of the month! It's actually a real privilege just to be carried at Nairobi's Knapsack because each product is chosen with care. There's no clutter in the store because each toy is given its own space. The quality of the store and the products is obvious and it's easy to shop there because pretty much anything you get, the child you give it to is sure to be happy.

Keep them in mind the next time you've got a birthday coming up!

Coverage in the Lujan local paper

Here's a link to a little mention of our upcoming show in the local paper in Lujan where Fati is from in Argentina. I actually put an ad in this paper once when we lived there and I was trying to teach English. It's a nice little paper.

Lujan is not tiny I guess but it always kind of feels like it to me. According to Wikipedia, it had 94,000 people in the 2001 census. Here's a link if you want to find out more about Lujan. It's actually very interesting, especially the story about how the Virgin of Lujan ended up being there and thus a gigantic basilica. Here's the story.

Our first CD Review!

I stumbled across Spanglish Baby, an amazing blog by two mothers who are raising their children bilingual like we are, a month or so ago. We've been following and talking about each post ever since. We sent them a CD of El Baile del Sombrero which they liked and put a review of it on the sister site of Spanglish Baby, Spanglish Baby Finds which has products for bilingual kids.

Check out the review and start following Spanglish Baby! There's a giveaway for our CD and all you have to do is make a comment about El Baile del Sombrero!

The Shape of Things to Come?

The Mister Family singers descended on Washington DC over the weekend. And we were in a Subaru Forester and not a band bus, and the only groupies we had were under 8 years old but it felt like we were on tour! Well, it actually felt like a vacation which meant we could all kind of do what we pleased, eat and buy what we wanted and have the feeling that we were free to and supposed to have FUN, which we did.

The drive down was really easy. Kylen got a bit fussy but then fell asleep. Chloe was amazingly calm and seemed to enjoy the four hour drive. We stopped once and tried to bat acorns with sticks. I think that helped.

We got into DC and met another family who Fati knows with a 4 year old daughter at the Mall. The Washington Monument and the Capitol did not interest Chloe and Kylen nearly as much as the rocks and dirt along the path of the Mall. Chloe stuffed her socks with rocks and Kylen liked just rubbing his hands in the dirt. We did a 4 year old tour of the Museum of Natural History and the National Art Museum which means we went to eat and then left.

Somewhat exhausted we went to my cousin's house to see my cousin's family, my aunt, and the 5 cats and 2 dogs that are definitely a part of the family. We talked about soccer and Harry Potter over a delicious dinner and then got some rest for the big show the next day.
We started the day with pancakes and got over to Upshur Park just about on time. My friends were already gathering but it really was incredible the variety of people that showed up. A few friends with their families from Lafayette Elementary school, a friend from college, my next door neighbor from our days in Cleveland Park who reminded me as she left that she was there when I came home from the hospital, and my cousin and his family. I haven't been to DC for a long time but it did actually feel like I was home.

Introducing ourselves

Captive audience so far

Fati belting it out

Marching for SOLO SOLO SOLO

Seems we are slightly amusing

The show was fun except the usually happy-go-lucky Kylen I think needed to pee and eat so Fati spent a lot of the show trying to calm him down. But we did have a stacked audience of friends and fun parents and kids who joined in. For some reason when we were singing our goodbye song, the playground had lured away the kids and we were singing just to each other but it was a good show and we had fun.

Kylen did feel better after this

Picking up Fati from "school" and knocking down the mic stand

A really beautiful Fall morning at Upshur Park

All photos by Michael "Sharpshooter"Abate.
He can be hired for events, birthday parties or Redskins games.

After a Mexican lunch, an ice cream at Cold Stone in the Silver Spring Downtown/Mall, and a trip to Borders, we got in the car and headed home. The kids fell asleep immediately and the trip back was a little longer but fine.
As soon as I got home, I called a friend in Providence to try to set up a show/weekend vacation there. Maybe this could become a regular thing!

Our Library Double Header

As probably all parents, we love the Brooklyn Public Libraries. Chloe and I went religiously to the Ditmas Park branch for storytime when she was little and we always have a good time at any library we go to.

So we were very excited to play at two libraries in one day! We started at the Dyker Heights Library where they have a regular kid activity on Wednesday so a nice group of kids and adults were all gathered. We played right out in the middle of the library so everyone got to enjoy our music. No one seemed to mind though and the kids seemed to have a great time.


Now we both fall asleep with the pulgas...

Dancing salsa with Paco

As we drove home for lunch, we dreamed about what life would be like if this was our actual job!

Then we headed to Williamsburg for a show at the Leonard Branch of the library. We were down in a secret room in the basement and although there weren't too many kids there, we had a good time. There were some great little dancers and great big dancers too.

On our way to my mom's to pick up the Chloe and Kylen, Fati and I gave each other a high five on a job well done.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Festival at ISB

So I admit that the last minute change for the ISB Fall Festival got me kind of worried. As a parent I feel like when I make the effort to get up and out with my kid and then find that something is canceled or full or whatever and we can't go and my kid's looks at me with disappointment and asks "What's wrong Dada?", it just kind of kills me. But I don't think that happened or at least we didn't get any disgruntled emails sent our way.

And in the end, Sunday was a glorious, perfect Fall day and the Festival was an unmitigated success. The sidewalk sale, bake sale, cookie and pumpkin decorating tables were packed and Fati & I had an incredible group of kids and parents who danced with us, laughed at our little jokes, and clapped enthusiastically when we were done. We tried out a bit of a different show with more interaction with the kids and adults and more time to teach the dance steps. It seemed to work out really well.

El Baile went well

Hi Fives for cleaning up!

Leading the kid revolution


Our mission is to get families dancing together and quite a few parents hit the dance floor to dance to the salsa with their kids. Yeah!

I love the ISB (International School of Brooklyn) community because being bilingual or trilingual isn't really remarkable. It's just a way of life.

We then took the subway to the Atlantic Antic and caught Lloyd Miller from the Deedle Deedle Dees at the Moxie Spot. It was so nice to sit down in a booth and relax for awhile that we ended staying for hours. It was a beautiful Brooklyn day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

On the Road Again..well actually for the second time

Fati & Charles and Chloe and Kylen are going to hit the road on October 10th. We got this crazy idea to head down to DC to visit family and play a show. And without too much fuss, it's happened as we planned.

It's a pretty short road trip and only the second time we'll be playing outside of the NYC limits but I think we're going to stack the audience with family and friends and it should be a fun time.

My kids have never been to DC where I was born and haven't met some of my family so I'm very excited about that. Our camping trip in Vermont this summer emboldened us to take some more road trips so watch out Eastern seaboard! Here come the Mister Family singers!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Frolic

The Flatbush Frolic was a very fun day. We headed over early to see Jen Milich do her Music for Aardvarks preview. Chloe and Kylen did that class when they were little and we've always loved what Jen does in Music for Aardvarks and in Audra Rox.
We headed home for naps and then got back in time to see Lloyd from the Deedle Deedle Dees do a preview for his Deedle Time class which was great! The tot lot was packed and Lloyd had kids stomping around like dinosaurs, and chomping like crocodiles. His song Major Degan or as I call it the Emperor of Traffic got stuck in my head. Very catchy.
We got to use a really great PA system from FDC and had a very fun show. It was great because our audience ended up being mainly Spanish speaking families so Fati took over the MC duties. It was a short and sweet little show and we were really happy to be part of the day.
Alison at Midwood Martial Arts was helpful and positive as always. I don't know how many balloons she filled up but she always did it with a smile.
Yeah Flatbush Frolic!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Underhill Playground

We had a really wonderful show at the Underhill Playground on Sunday that was set up by a member of the Friends of Underhill Playground who have a monthly get-together for families in the neighborhood.

Maybe because we were actually just invited and because there was a great turn out, it felt more like an actual show and that we were an actual real group performing. Seeing a few people who already had our CD or had been at other shows and liked our music also gave us a little boost.

Yeah! Lots of families out on Sunday morning!

I began the show by saying "I'm Fati and this is Charles." Oops. I was kind of tired. But I think the kid who really got into wearing a hat and ran around showing everyone snapped me out of it and we had a great show afterwards.

Entralled with Teo

Why doesn't that rabbit eat carrots?!!?

We are REALLY trying to sell that it'll just be a little while until Mama will come pick you up at school.

Just kind of like this picture...

We had a great time hanging out for awhile after the show talking to parents and kids. I think the playground show is probably the best for us. The kids play and watch us, there's always lots of families around, and afterwards you can just continue doing what you usually do as a parent. Nice.

We then headed to New Jersey to spend the entire day at the most incredible public pool I've ever been to. It was a full but very nice day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We had our first show in Bushwick at the Maria Hernandez Park at the Greenmarket that's there on Saturdays. I totally outsmarted myself by trying to avoid some construction that my GPS was heading me towards. We were low on gas, we had to let Kylen out to pee, and took forever thanks to my great navigating but we made it!

When we arrived we found that there was already a gathering of families with kids right in the spot where I thought we could do our show. Between their storytelling and songs, we managed to ask if we could be the follow-up act to all the activities they were doing. They thought that was okay so we sat down and enjoyed La Oruga Muy Hambrienta, Tu mama es una llama, and The Wheels on the Bus. Chloe was happy because she got a couple stickers.

When it was our turn to go on, it seemed like everyone joined in for the hat dance, A Guardar, and all the other songs. It's so nice getting feedback from kids and parents. A simple smile always gives me a boost when I'm looking around at the faces of people watching us (or not). And there were a lot of smiles and support from just about everyone there.

What a nice group!

El Baile del Sombrero!

Kids are trying to all fit in our suitcase

I look very serious about doing it SOLO SOLO SOLO

I got Chloe to give out our new El Baile del Sombrero cards to people. She did an amazing job and came back for more and gave all those out. She did a much better job than I would do! She has no fear about going up to people and handing them a card!

I also gave our Soy Muy Independiente stickers but of course didn't really expect there to be so many kids there. I felt pretty bad when we didn't have enough for everybody and it got a little hectic when kids started grabbing for them. Lesson learned.

Although we were a little stressed and tired getting to the show, but both Fati and I get a real charge when we're dancing around and acting silly. When there's kids there, it's always worth it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Surprise Show in the Park!

Another Saturday at Coco Roco and another beautiful day. Where were the kids? Apparently they were outside. So we took our show on the road.

After being sufficiently prodded by Fati, we decided that instead of just letting the kids run around at the playground, that we'd actually do our show. We ended up with a very nice audience with many passers-by, young and old, stopping by for at least a few minutes to smile and enjoy the scene.

Stella getting down


Everyone sleeping with the fleas.

I guess Kylen is proving he can pull up his pants SOLO SOLO SOLO!

Once again, Kylen proved to be our most stalwart fan. He came up close, did the dances and even went to sleep with me after La Pulga.

We had a great time and then returned to Coco Roco with friends to have a delicious dinner.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Song in the Show on Saturday!

We're looking forward to another show at Coco Roco and we're particularly excited because we've added Mama Me Lleva a la Escuela to the show. We worked out some dance steps with Kylen last night. He seemed to approve, especially the big finale where I pick up Fati!

We'll see how it goes over on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Show at Coco Roco!

Our first show at Coco Roco was truly a family affair. Unfortunately, there were only 2 families in the place! (badum-CHING!)

It was our whole family (grandparents, nephews, brother, sister-in-law, and of course kids) and the family of the person in charge of booking at Coco Roco who essentially saved the day. Everyone was great and enthusiastic but it was a bit of a let down after our show at the Bibliobus.

The most difficult thing was the kids had not napped and Kylen woke up as we started the show so we had two crying kids on our hands as the show started. We did our HOLA with both kids in our arms along with the mics. Fati managed to do all the dance steps anyway. I suppose we started this way at Prospect Park last year too and each week we had a few more families.

Everyone at Coco Roco was very nice and we're looking forward to seeing what happens next week. My family had a delicious lunch while watching us!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amazing Kids at the Bibliobús in Sunset Park

Despite the fact that kids are supposed to be asleep at two in the afternoon, and that it was supposed to rain, and that we didn't have Kylen to support us, we had a fantastic show in Sunset Park at the Bibliobús!

The kids that assembled for our show seemed like they were trying out to be permanent dancers in our show or something. They were amazing! They had their eyes fixed on us watching and copying every move, singing every chorus when we thrust the microphone at us, and I got so many high fives my hand started hurting a little bit.
Looking for the Esponja

Was it that the kids were older? Were Fati and I just totally awesome that day? I'm not sure what it was that got the kids so engaged but many of them stuck with us throughout the entire show which I feel is a minor miracle. We got our first mention in a blog which was also very exciting! It's on a really neat Sunset Park blog called Best View in Brooklyn. Here's the link.

Explaining the merits of Paco

Kylen, Chloe and my nephew Vincent showed up as the show was winding down and we spent a few hours enjoying Sunset Park. What a nice day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Show for Kylen

Saturday was a difficult morning. When we got up, Chloe was complaining of a pain in her front (forehead) and seemed totally listless and a bit feverish. We had just dealt with a 24 hour fever from Kylen earlier in the week so we felt a bit weak about heading off to play a show in Sunset Park.

But the show must go on!

We dumped Chloe in a stroller, fed her some medicine on the way, and amazing arrived on time at the Sunset Park Greenmarket. Chloe promptly passed out pretty comfortably in the stroller and remained that way for the entire show.

Chloe was down for the count.

The Sunset Park Greenmarket is very nice. It's set up along the playground and track of a school so it's just along the sidewalk. We started our show and at various times we had quite a few kids and parents listening to our show. But if the crowd got too big, no one could walk on the sidewalk so our audience kept shifting and growing and shrinking throughout our songs.

Kylen warming up the crowd.

The one constant, there for every song, dancing and even helping us get out the props was Kylen. He didn't care if he was at times the only kid up there doing the steps. He kept us company and was our audience member. He slapped five, hugged Teo, woke me up after La Pulga, and waved, kicked and shook his butt during our Chau song.

He was awesome. I don't think I'll ever question having the kids with us at another show. Kylen made this show really special for us.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


No we didn't play at Sing Sing. We played at the block party of the Cavalry Church where a friend of Fati's is a member. We had our first groupie, my nephew Vincent along with us and the kids.

When it got about time for us to play and there we're many kids around, Fati went off with the kids and managed to round up some families! She's amazing.

The show turned out to be really fun especially because the sound system was incredible. It's fun hearing our music and voices blasted into the world. We got a lot of smiles and hand clapping from the adults sitting and a lot of dancing and high fives from the kids participating.

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting face painted and playing catch and hacky sack.

The kids all drifted off on the way home from a really nice day Upstate.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Break!

Incredibly, since our first CD Release Party in June, we've been playing shows pretty much every weekend. It's sort of a nice break to not have a show to worry about or prepare for. But we did go to my niece's birthday on July 4th and spent a wonderful day in our beloved Prospect Park eating, playing and flying kites.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mulberry Library

Each show we've played so far usually has some little special element that makes it memorable and fun for us. Our show at the Mulberry Library was made memorable by the appearance of our friends racing in from Rhode Island and arriving at our show just as we were starting and by me somehow finding parking and walking about 10 blocks with the kids to get to the library.

Susie, the children's librarian, had done a great job of spreading the word about our show and the room was pretty full. There were a lot of little kids and even babies checking out our equipment and checking us out. Chloe and Kylen performed the sound check and we were ready to start.

The parents, caregivers, babies and toddlers all seemed to pay attention and got pretty excited by our music. It seemed a little weird to be dancing and singing so loud in a library but the door was closed I guess and we were having fun.

Having our friends and their 3 kids there with our kids made it a very fun and special show. As I ran to our car to feed the meter and found that I hadn't gotten a ticket, I thought that we were really lucky.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cortelyou Green Market

It was SO nice to roll out of our apartment at about quarter of 10 and head over to a very familiar spot at the Cortelyou Green Market. The playground on Cortelyou, the library, and the neighborhood are our home away from home. Chloe and I went to the story times at the library every week and usually played at the playground across the street but lately we've been going to the one where we were going to play quite often.

We already had a captive audience of families at the playground and as we were setting up curious kids came over to look at our hats, shakers, sponges and microphone cables. Then our friends from the neighborhood started showing up. I don't actually think we stacked the audience too much but it was great to see so many friendly faces.

We had actually practiced the show a couple of times during the week and I am now doing more of the MCing so more of the descriptions of the songs are in English. We're still working on making the show fun for everyone even if they don't speak Spanish and I'm still working on being a fun, funny MC.

We're also playing around with the order of songs. We're starting off with El Baile del Sombrero now. Kylen was all over this gigantic hat.

Where did my hat go?

Chloe and Kylen are getting into the singing into the mic thing that I think most kids really like. For our sound check, Chloe sang Manta. The playground was a perfect place to do a show with the kids because there was nowhere really for them to disappear to and we had a lot of friends around. It definitely can be a little complicated to have them there while we're trying to perform but it's also totally valuable that we can share the experience with them.

Being very independent.

There were a lot of kids there and everyone was really into it and super energetic. It was great fun.

Bye Cortelyou playground. We'll hopefully play there sometime again this summer. Thanks to Josephine for snapping the picture and changing the batteries.