Vallarta Living | January 2007
|Who Talks Funny?|
Polly G. Vicars - PVNN
"You talk funny!" I have been told that since I was a 6 year old Florida cracker visiting my kinfolk in New York City. And I hear it even more now when I reel off Spanish with a definite southern accent.
|Blaine Selkirk at Work|
|Los Bambinos Preen for the Camera|
|Maestro Abelardo and Husband|
|Mistry prefers the red|
|Harry and Polly Swim with the Dolphins|
|Los Cortes at Yesi's Quinceañera|
|Kai in her El Tuito Home|
So when Blaine Selkirk, musician, producer and director, asked me to work with Los Bambinos so that when they sing English lyrics they will have no accent... that is no Spanish accent, I couldn't believe my ears. He was asking me to help those lads to speak unaccented English?
Well, Blaine said that the important thing for them as they climb the musical ladder is to lose their Spanish accents when they sing in English - even if with a Southern drawl. OK! I was certainly willing to give it a try.
Actually there is a whole cadre of Vallartenses who already speak their English with a Southern accent. Those are the adults who came to learn English at Maestro Abelardo Robles' free school, where Husband and I volunteered for eight years. It is not uncommon to hear one of those former students say, "Ya'll come, ya hear!"
Blaine and family had journeyed to Holland and Belgium for a three week vacation at Christmas time, but before embarking on that adventure, there were many details to be worked out.
Carlos, the eldest Bambino, was to house sit and oversee daily musical practice there with his brothers, Lazzaro, Immer, Giorgio and his cousin, Luis. Misty, their feisty Jack Russell, was happily ensconced in custody of Ann and Jerry Lafferty in their magnificent home in Conchas Chinas. And I was to work daily with the boys on the English lyrics of the original music they are currently recording.
Among all my Christmas activities: a visit from my New Orleans brother Harry, who lost his home and all of his possessions during Katrina; an exciting swim with the dolphins for him and our best and closest friends, Spanish Maestro Melchor Cortes Cortes and his beautiful family Martha, Yesi and Alex; and a party in our friend Kai Doyle's stunning home in El Tuito, I managed to get out to Blaine's almost every day for the tutoring sessions.
Just as there are certain words in Spanish that we Gringos have a heck of a time pronouncing, there are certain English words that are very hard for Spanish speakers - especially the "th" words like: the, this and that; words that begin with "g" and a vowel, like girl and giant; or words that begin with "gr," such as green or grass.
It seems just as hard for them not to roll their "r"s as it is for us to roll them. Suffice it to say, it ain't easy to speak a second language perfectly!
Husband helped one day, but most of our educated friends don't consider that his Kentucky hillbilly twang is even English, so we quickly abandoned that plan. Los Bambinos soldiered on and I think are making much more progress losing their Spanish accents when singing in English than I am making in losing my Southern accent when speaking Spanish. As of this writing I have not heard from Blaine whether he thinks I helped or hurt his charges while he was gone.
So I am going to leave it up to you to be the judges! Los Bambinos are appearing in concert every Monday night at the Santa Barbara Theater on Olas Altas in the Romantic Zone. Call Ed, the owner and impresario of that theater, at 223-2048 for your reservations.
You'll enjoy a fantastic evening of music of many genres - from country western, rock and Mexican love songs to original Bambino music, Beatles and Beach Boy covers. Your assignment is to listen carefully to the English lyrics and let me know how we did!
Los Bambinos are in Concert every Monday night at the Santa Barbara Theater, 351 Olas Altas, Romantic Zone. Shows start at 8 pm. Tickets are $220 pesos. Call 223-2048 for reservations. Ya'll come! Ya hear!
Polly G. Vicars and her husband of 55 years, Hubert (a.k.a. "Husband") retired to Puerto Vallarta in 1988 and soon became active members of several charitable organizations. Polly is the author of "Tales of Retirement in Paradise: Life in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico" [a sell-out!] and "More Tales of Retirement in Puerto Vallarta and Around the World." Proceeds from the sale of her books go to the America-Mexico Foundation, a scholarship foundation that is their passion.
Click HERE for more Puerto Vallarta articles by Polly Vicars.