Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Spanish teacher and the rubber duck

When someone you know casually hands you a CD -- especially in the parking lot of a Harris-Teeter -- you think, "I'll listen to this once, dream up something pleasant to say the next time I meet this guy and drop it into the storage closet." Strangely, I didn't.

I listened all the way through "Como estas, mi amigo?" with pleasure. I even listened to a couple of songs twice. Here's an admittedly amateurish video of my favorite, "Pato de hule." That's composer-singer Jay Barron, a Spanish teacher at Providence Day School, onstage, and bass player Isaac Melendez bouncing around in front of him. The title means "Rubber ducky," and it's a tribute to a reassuring bathtub toy:

He created the CD to help beginning students of Spanish wrestle with simple concepts: colors, things found in nature, friendship, a desire to sing. Some numbers are in Spanish and English, some just in Spanish (with occasional spoken interjections in English), and most are rhythmically infectious. Besides Melendez, the album's full of good Latino musicians: percussionist Jaswar Acosta, guitarist Tony Arreaza, sax player Oscar Huerta.

Barron knows which song is his "hit," as he not only made this video at Fantafest last spring -- it's his only video, as far as I know -- but put the tune on the album twice, once in Spanish and once bilingually.

He's giving a CD release concert Saturday at 2 p.m. in the school auditorium at 5800 Sardis Rd. Tickets are $5, and you can get the CD for $10 there or through his Facebook site. Bring your own rubber duck and join in when he does "Pato de hule." I can't get the song out of my ears!