11 March, 2020Print
José-Luis Orozco Celebrates 50 Years of Bilingual Children’s’ Music with ¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, out April 17Grammy-nominated artist and educator’s latest teaches kids the importance of exercise
José-Luis Orozco is America’s premier Spanish-English bilingual children’s music artist, and his new album, ¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body, all about the importance of exercise, is out April 17th on Smithsonian Folkways. Orozco is a musical marvel—constantly writing new songs, setting new words in English and Spanish to old songs, performing for hundreds of thousands of children each year, and delighting audiences of all ages with his charming wit and endearing antics—and this album marks fifty years of his making bilingual children’s music in the US. In addition to being a musician, Orozco is also a seasoned educator with a master’s degree in multicultural education, and he teaches a wide gamut of age-appropriate skills, such as counting, language, naming parts of the body, good nutrition, history, and folk traditions—all in a spirit of fun and joie de vivre. “I’ve been able to combine music and education, and that’s what I do all over the country,” Orozco says. “Every single year, I travel about 125,000 miles; it’s like going around the world five times every year, reaching hundreds of thousands of kids, and families, and teachers.”
Pre-order ¡Muévete! HERE
¡Muévete! Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body promotes fitness for kids up to age seven. It is the perfect complement to Orozco’s Grammy-nominated Smithsonian Folkways album, ¡Come Bien! Eat Right!, which promotes good eating habits and offers a complete picture of healthy living for young children. Its 18 bilingual tracks include old favorites such as “La Raspa” and the lullaby “Los Pollitos” (Baby Chicks), along with new creations such as the jumping song “Popcorn” (Palomitas de Maíz) and the balancing song “Domingo Flamingo.”¡Muévete! is a collaboration with Grammy-winning Chicano musician-producer Quetzal Flores and features some of L.A.’s finest instrumentalists, who bring Orozco’s songs to life. It is an engaging and downright fun album that fosters language skills while teaching kids how fun it is to move their bodies to music.
Demand has only grown for Orozco’s talents in recent years, as Latinx youth make up more and more of the school population, now comprising more than one out of four students at the elementary level. Says Orozco, “In a bilingual setting, the English speakers will learn Spanish and Latin American traditions, and the more children understand each other, the more they learn about other cultures, the better world that they’ll have when they grow up… Many English-speaking parents now want their kids to learn Spanish because they’ve learned that Spanish is a practical language in the United States, and if I can bring it with music, with dance, with movement, and with fun, everybody wins.”
While Orozco tailors his performances for people of all backgrounds, he has a special affinity for children from immigrant families, as he himself immigrated to the United States from Mexico. His interest in music was nurtured early on during his childhood in Mexico City. He recalls, “My grandmother used to sing to me, my mother used to sing to me, and my father used to play the violin, so there was music all around.” At the age of 19, José-Luis moved to California and worked his way through the University of California at Berkeley studying sociology. When teachers and friends discovered his musical talent, his reputation quickly grew, and a bilingual education consortium in the San Francisco Bay area hired him full time. José-Luis was on his way to becoming a pioneer in combining music with bilingual education. As his reputation spread, so did the demand for his presentations. He met leaders of the folksong movement, exploring American folk music, serving on the board of Sing Out! Magazine, and meeting and learning from icons such as Pete Seeger. He was invited three times to sing at the White House, and he has sung for several Central and South American presidents.
José-Luis Orozco’s impact on the education of younger children through music is immeasurable. He has touched the lives of several generations of children who are now parents with children who are José-Luis Orozco admirers. A third generation is on the way, as he continues his busy schedule crisscrossing the continent. On the vanguard of bilingual, multicultural education, he has become a role model for other children’s music artists who have followed in his path. His past portends the future, as bilingualism becomes more of a recognized strength in our multicultural world.
What People Are Saying about José-Luis Orozco
“José-Luis Orozco‘s songs feel close to my heart. The familiarity of his voice is like your favorite tio taking the time to teach you something new and exciting, and to me, that feels exactly like home. Through his decades of work, he has paved the way for so many of us who continue to listen to him for great inspiration.”
-- Sonia De Los Santos, 2019 Latin Grammy nominee
"José-Luis Orozco has been a pioneer in Spanish-language children's music in the United States. His work has impacted a generation of children growing up bilingually. He has paved the way for us, 123 Andrés, and other Latinx children’s artists out today."
-- Andrés y Christina, 123 Andrés - 2019 Latin Grammy nominees, 2016 Latin Grammy winners
“The grandfather of Latino children’s music continues to bring joy to children.”
-- Lucky Diaz (The Lucky Band), 2019 Latin Grammy winners
About Smithsonian Folkways:
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the "National Museum of Sound," makes available close to 60,000 tracks in physical and digital format as the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian, with a reach of 80 million people per year. A division of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the non-profit label is dedicated to supporting cultural diversity and increased understanding among people through the documentation, preservation, production and dissemination of sound. Its mission is the legacy of Moses Asch, who founded Folkways Records in 1948 to document "people's music" from around the world. For more information about Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, visit folkways.si.edu.
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Official website: folkways.si.edu