Sunday, January 08, 2006

Judíos, latinos y el resto de la banda

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this Ladino Hanukah greeting – a hip hop version of "Ocho Kandelikas," which is actually a song I play every December in my Spanish classes when I teach about the holidays. This version is way more fun than the one I have, though!

I found out the song was by the Hip Hop Hoodíos, and did some more research on them. I liked what I read and ended up downloading their album "Agua Pa' La Gente" from iTunes.

It has been in constant play ever since. Rarely do I find something that appeals to so many aspects of my multiple Gemini-Sicilian-Jewish-Latina personality!

The music is movida y divertida – I always love the cultural fusion of different sounds, and this record blends klezmer, cumbia, hip hop and more – and the lyrics combine the absolutely hilarious with the strikingly true (with a little mysticism and poignancy thrown in here and there to balance it out).

How can you not smile at a group that boasts, "You like our d•cks and you like our noses, you see a Jewish guy and you forget where your clothes is ... venga mami, take a little sip from my ladle, I'll take you back to my room and you can play with my dreidl!"

But other lyrics are much deeper: the song "1492" talks of how Jews were forced to convert to Christianity during the Inquisition, noting that while the Hip Hop Hoodíos "Jewish-Spanish" combination may seem unusual, it really reflects what's hidden underneath the surface throughout the Spanish-speaking world: "Jews and Spanish, you think that we're token but ... here's some news that will hit you with a thud: millions of Latinos, they got Jewish blood." And "Ancient" pulses with the refrain, "Ancient, ancient, la dignidad humana – judíos, latinos y el resto de la banda."

I'm definitely enjoying the Hip Hop Hoodíos - "up in your face with three languages, cabrón!"

PS, Aside from "Ocho Kandelikas," I could never play this music in my Spanish classes (I teach K-5!)...but actually, "1492" would be great in a middle or high school Spanish or social studies class.

PPS, As you can probably tell from this post and the one below it, I've got a pretty eclectic range of music that I like. My favorites these days (in addition to the above, and in no particular order) are Elefante, Andrea Echeverri, Alejandro Fernandez, Ozomatli, Tommy Torres, Juanes, Cabas, Edgardo Monserrat, Fonseca, Shakira, La Mosca, Jorge Drexler, Zucchero, Pepe Alva, Los Lonely Boys, Del Castillo, Tribalistas, Bebo and Cigala, Juan Luis Guerra (pre-2005!), Gipsy Kings and Patricia Vonne. And my oldest favorite, trumping all others, is Trini Lopez's "The Latin Album". It's the album that made me first fall in love with Latin music and with Spanish.

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