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!