‘Tis the season for carols. A big part of the Pepino Suave Yippy Skippy Christmas/Holiday Not to Offend People of Any Race, Creed, or Political Affiliation Spanish Program are songs of joy and thanksgiving. Some of the songs incorporated into our classroom are traditional, others are made-up on the spot, like last year’s “Santa tumbo el chocolate” (“Santa knocked over the hot chocolate”).
Yesterday, I kicked off the yuletide musical period with my somber quasi-baritone version of “Noche de Paz” (“Silent Night”). My debut performance was for my first graders, and, as they haven’t heard the song yet, they sat in silence as I belted out an inspired performance.
Mind you , these kids come from as much a musical tradition as do my in-laws (known to break out in song as if life were a musical. “Pass the potatoes” could get you a few versus of an old Dutch derge). See my picture on the upper right of your screen. It is evidence of my only musical experience, my failed ’05 Mariachi Frustrado Mexico Tour. I am sure you all recall this, my first and last concert tour of my Mariachi career (see my Autumn, ’05 entries for concert dates and entries on the side bar at right). Pepino Suave made Spinal Tap look like a serious musical effort.
Anyway, the kids are eye-balling me as only first graders can; as if Pepino Suave were a rock star. I was unsettled, though, by the sweet little girl in the first seat, directly in front of me. This little girl is the picture of innocence; a girl who unfailingly listens, greets, helps others, and finishes her addition facts before recess. Simply put, she is 30-odd pounds of sugar and spice. The girl has no hint of worldliness, cynesism, sarcasm, or spite. Yet, as I start getting whipped up (around about the, “Armonias de Paz” part), little sweety frowns, lowers her head to her desk, covers her ears with her hands, and looks up at me like a cowering poodle.
Suddendly zapped from my musical revelry back into the reality that I have absolutly no musical inclination, and that I am singing in front of kids steeped in harmony and pantamoter (whatever), I soberly ask,
“Is my singing hurting your ears?”
Still clutching her ears, she nods her head forlornly, and is supported by classmates shouting, in chorus, “Si, si, Pepino Sauve, si. Your singing hurts our ears! Please stop. For the love of all that is Holy!”
Today I will use the CD player and the solid vocals of the famed Jose Luis Orozco.
Pepino Suave has left the building….
Canto como un sapo,
Pepino “El Mariachi Frustrado” Suave