Educational music review: Learning about World Music by Daria
Meet award-winner Daria from ‘World Music with Daria’ that teaches how with the wonderful creation of music we can learn about Martin Luther King. Here she presents her music CD: “I have a Dream, World Music for Children”. A delightful music that tells about his works, the folklore behind the music, and the great message behind the most famous speech. I loved any of the ten songs presented in this collection. I particularly liked the way Daria incorporates folklore with current music into her songs. I hope that you get a chance to visit her blogs such as Creciendo con Música and Making Multicultural Music, where she offers more insightful teaching about multicultural music and the diversity in many cultures. Here is what she had to say about her ‘I have a Dream’ CD and her insight about music and heritage. I hope that you enjoy learning about her music and her interview.
1. How did you get started in music, more specific, multicultural music? Is most of your music folklore? How important is it to learn Hispanic traditions and customs through music?
I was raised in both the USA and South America, so I grew up with a love of folklore from both sets of cultures – loving the authenticity, the joy and the fun found in the music. It’s perfect for sharing with kids. Latin America folk music; especially children’s songs or canciones infantiles, provide a great way to play and learn at the same time, both with being bilingual, growing vocabulary and exploring fun words, sounds or concepts. With Latin American children’s songs, you can wrap your tongue around rolling “r”s in a rhyme such as “ferrocarril” or exercise your creativity with a game about a sea serpent – La Vibora de La Mar.
2. In your “Creciendo con Musica” blog, you mention and play the ‘cajita’ instrument. Can you tell us more about this instrument and how has this folklore music kept some Latin American traditions. Do you suggest any other musical instruments to learn more about Hispanic traditions?
Both the cajita (little box) and the cajón (big box) from Afro-Peruvian culture are great first instruments for children to begin playing with rhythm. The cajita began as a collection or donation box in churches in Lima, Peru. It seemed that the altar boys took the boxes after church and began tapping out their favorite rhythms from coastal music. I like to share this instrument with children here in the USA because it gives them many ways to develop their motor skills and musical skills at the same time. It’s also easy to make from recycled materials that most folks have around their house. If you’d like to create one, you can check out my easy directions in English and Spanish or the musical cajita jam on my blogs.
3. Music interactions and rhyming are commonly used in the classroom to enhance memory skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. Do you believe music can help young children with learning and comprehension? What types of music do you think are appropriate for young learners?
During the time I spent growing up in rural South America, one thing was clear to me. Since most kids didn’t have televisions, digital devices or even radios, they became really creative and clever with their mind and their words. Children’s songs, games and verbal activities really enhanced this skill. They would sing songs, play games and improvise, matching wits and words with their friends. These types of childhood games and “first songs” develop the mind and keep it sharp for every other task of the day. In fact, the “carnaval” songs from Peru are often very witty and funny as young people battle with rhymes, wordplay or even mild insults most often directed at the boy or girl that they like.
4. In your music CD “Daria: I have a Dream. World Music for Children”, you dedicate and mention the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in many of your songs. How important do you believe is to explain his work in a bilingual classroom? How important is it to keep up with traditions?
Being treated fairly and respected for one’s inner character was a big part of MLK’s message. For me, that’s as important today as it was decades ago and as important in the bilingual classroom as it is in any other location in the USA. As I visit schools, I am saddened to see that kids of different skin colors, kids who speak with an accent or kids with different last names still are subject to teasing, exclusion, bullying or worse. That’s why I loved MLK’s legacy of seeking change and working to create it in a way that is lasting and non-violent – a way that honors all people and their dignity. Reading about his life and struggles or sharing his messages through songs like I HAVE A DREAM, is a great way to show how one person can make a difference and how we can all keep this dream alive!
5. In many of your songs in the CD, there are references to folklore songs. Do you have any favorites? What were your main influencers or mentors to produce the CD?
I grew up with a wide range of heroes from American as well as Latin American folklore. In the USA, I loved voices like Woody Guthrie (This Land Is Your Land), Pete Seeger, Ella Jenkins and Leadbelly. In South America, I loved the music of Victor Jara from Chile and his group Inti Illimani as well as Cuba’s Pablo Milanese and Argentina’s glorious voice, Mercedes Sosa. As I listen to music around the world, there are so many new voices as well. Although they speak in different languages they share a vision of beauty and dignity of all. Respecting our heritage and reaching out to others – for me that is what music is all about!
Called “ambassador of song”, by US newspapers, Daria has traveled around the world to create music that uplifts and empowers. A 2008 and 2007 “Parent’s Choice” winner, all of Daria’s CD’s are currently being played around the globe from Australia, to South Africa, to Europe and South America as well as across the US in homes, preschools, schools and on several Native American Reservations.