'Neath A Mexican Moon

by Mike Wilson

A missionary friend once suggested that the best way to learn a foreign language is to simply incorporate some of the words into your own sentences. The blending of languages is certainly not a new innovation, and the blending we know as "Spanglish" seems to support this friend's supposition. Though typically we hear Spanglish as the Spanish language peppered with English, this song comes from the other direction. It uses/teaches a handful of Spanish words, some of which may be familiar. Roughly, they are: los aldeanos (villagers or townspeople), señor y señora (sir and madam), señorita (miss), la música (music), la guitarra (guitar), estrellas (stars), cantamos (we sing). As usual, you will find a pronunciation guide on our web site. (See page 75 for details.)

We use mariachi instruments – Spanish harp, guitar, percussion, and violin – in this arrangement to paint the picture of a quiet Mexican village: The townspeople congregate in the town square to sing and enjoy each other's company in the cool of the evening. Other instrumentation includes piano and guitaron, which is a large body acoustic bass guitar.

The style should be very loose in terms of performance. Though this is obvious in the instruments, it is a little more difficult to pull off in the vocals. For example, the verse does not utilize triplet notation, but by thinking a bit behind the beat, scooping freely, or adding a little length to an eighth note here and there, you can create just the right mariachi feel. The studio singers nailed it on the demo, so feel free to use their example. A little stylistic accent on some of "thee" vowels helps the cause as well. The triplet feel is written into the chorus so your kids can "see" what a triplet "feels" like. Don't let the extra effort deter you. The studio kids picked up on the style in short order and it was well worth it.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.