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.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nairobi's Knapsack

Although we had never heard of it before, we now love Make Music New York. Somehow or other we're going to be a part of it next year.

There's just something nice about playing music out in the streets with people walking by and giving a little smile. It's one of those moments when it feels like music brings everybody together for a brief while.

When we arrived at Nairobi's Knapsack, Tres Leches was just starting. They were really great. They have beautiful voices and their last rocking song about the sounds of the street was perfect for the day.

We were trying out our new "English" show where I do a lot more of the talking. I think it went pretty well at least judging by the little girl who danced with us to every song and made us have a really great time while she was.

Looking for the Esponja.

Washing with the Esponja.

Thanks to Luba for the pictures and childcare.

Chloe and Kylen were with us which actually went pretty well. They behaved well but it's incredibly distracting to try to keep track of them while remembering dance steps and lyrics. We'll see how that develops.

After a little lunch at Bristen's Eatery (very tasty) we went out to find a house dance party going on right on the sidewalk. Actually the dance party was pretty much one man who we found out later was named Xavier and he was dancing up a storm. Without any hesitation, Chloe and Kylen were dancing with him. He was so wonderful with Chloe showing her steps and dancing together.

I think we must have been there for at least half an hour just dancing. Fati got out some tamborines which upped the ante a bit. Finally, Chloe decided it was time to get going just as some rain started falling.

She told us she wanted to go back soon and dance with Xavier. I explained that it was sort of a special event that he was there and she said we should go back when there is a special event again. So we have a date for next year in front of Bristen's to do some more dancing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Children's Day at the Seaport!

We had a great time at Children's Day at the South Street Seaport. From the moment we arrived and were whisked backstage with the rest of the "talent", everyone was super helpful and responsive. I was a little surprised that meeting Gordon had such an effect on me. I kept having little Sesame Street flashbacks. Robbert Bobbert brought his whole family and suffered a bit through the rain but did a great show anyway.

And the audience was excellent! The kids were ready to dance at the drop of a hat or the many hats that Laura gave out and the parents were great too giving us smiles and dancing around themselves. After the nervous excitement and buildup to the show, we felt we performed well and got positive feedback from everyone.

It was great that our incredible arranger/producer, Daniel Beltran was able to come up from Mexico to be there and our friend Laura could help us out playing and dancing with the kids in the audience. It was also great to have friends and family there cheering us on. Basically, it was a super fun and I know will be a memorable day.
Okay. So we arrived kind of early. We were excited!
Laura and Dani had never been to the Seaport before so we had to do some tourist shots.
Dani is a wonderful guest.
Let's start the show!

El Baile del Sombrero!

Fati doing some serious marching.
I think I'm refregando.
The happy and slightly out-of-breath duo.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Practice in Prospect Park

Last night, we went to Prospect Park with my sister Ryan to perform the show for her. Ryan is a theater director and author of countless plays that are performed at her amazing theater company for young people, Downtown Art. So we wanted to get her input to prepare for a show on a big stage instead of in our living room or on grass.

After some really great advice and confidence building, we did the show. We cranked up the music pretty loud but we didn't have the same feeling of self-consciousness or dread that the police would come shut us down. We were just another of the many things going on in Prospect Park that day.

And the Park did respond a bit. One interested guy came and sat near Ryan as our only other audience member for the show and before he left put a dollar into our bag of hats! We also had some passersby gyrating to Paco and then one of them performed an impromptu serenade on your microphone.

Ryan thought we were in good shape but had some great notes for us. We're looking forward to trying out the show in a totally different space.

International School of Brooklyn Show

Our second show and this time the audience was not filled with ringers. The event was held in a narrow courtyard space between two buildings and it was packed with fun things for kids to do. Chloe did cookie decorating with lots of extra icing, made a necklace, painted a frame for Nana, and a flowerpot for Granddaddy.
Kylen enjoyed going upstairs to the bathroom a lot and eating his cupcake.

Anyway, the show went well. We had a couple new fans that stuck with us for all the songs. We got smiles and head bopping from kids and parents.

We stuck around to see Nicky Haimo and the Blue Strawberries, a really fun band that had the joint jumping.

All in all, we've been really happy that our little show seems to get a few laughs and keep everyone in a good mood. On to the Seaport!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CD Release/38th Birthday Party!

It happened! We had our first real show as Fati & Charles singing El Baile del Sombrero.
The day started off a little iffy but every weather report I had been checking for the past week seemed certain that it was going to be a beautiful day. We had the park to ourselves.

We got a special delivery from Nina Frenkel, our amazing illustrator and now puppet maker. It was El Conejito Teo!
At 11:00 am we were still waiting for our audience to arrive. But soon parents, family and friends started gathering.
Then it was show time!

The kids were wonderful, the parents too, and we had a fun time singing and jumping around.

Kylen helped out with the sound.
And then had to run to the bathroom...
Looks like a nice party!
My 38th Birthday looked more like a birthday for a 4 year old, but the cake was delicious and it was great to have some special friends with us, especially our friend who was here all the way from Ireland.

Looking around at all our friends, I realized what an amazing year it has been. We've made so many great friends since we arrived back from Argentina. The CD and this new phase in our lives wouldn't have happened without that trip even though at the time it didn't seem like it was going to have such a big impact on us.