Tag Archives: audio

Destinos : The Prehistory of Sol y viento

Well before author and teacher Bill VanPatten helped to develop the Sol y viento series, he was the major force behind a much larger Spanish-language-learning project known as Destinos.

Destinos was a language program that, like Sol y viento, combined traditional textbook work with a film—or rather a telenovela in this case—that was broken down into episodes corresponding with the work done in the text. The filmed segments of the course were produced by Boston’s PBS station WGBH, and the series was first broadcast on PBS in 1992. It initially ran for two years, but you can still catch it on some public television stations today (usually late at night) and many high schools and colleges used the course well into the last decade. As you can guess, the film segments of Destinos combine to form a much longer story than Sol y viento‘s. In fact, there are 52 segments in the series, and they each last about half an hour. Thankfully, you can watch all the episodes of Destinos at your leisure if you go to Annenberg Media’s website.

Destinos follows the quest of a Latina lawyer from California, Raquel Rodríguez. Rodríguez has been hired by a family in Mexico whose patriarch, don Fernando Castillo, has recently received a mysterious letter from Spain. It says that Rosario, don Fernando’s first wife, didn’t perish during the Spanish Civil War as he had always thought, and that she bore him a child after the war. This is all a bit much for the Spanish ex-patriot, who left Spain to make a life for himself in Mexico with a new wife and family after the war. So Rodríguez is sent to investigate the claims. That mission takes her to Spain, Argentina, and Puerto Rico in an attempt to put together the real story behind Rosario and the life she may or may not have led after the Civil War.

So why am I bringing all of this up? Well, I started to work episodes of Destinos into my weekly routine recently, and I have to say that it is really, really enjoyable. Now yes, it is dated. But if you can get over the hair, clothing, electronics, and film techniques of the late 80s/early 90s, there is a lot of good Spanish practice to be had by working your way through the episodes. And although the storyline can be a bit cheesy at times, it’s certainly captivating enough to keep you going.

The show hits the ground running. The characters speak to each other in real Spanish, and the Spanish spoken by each character exposes the viewer to very different versions of the language. In Spain Rodríguez interacts with characters who speak castellano, in Argentina she hears vos, and in Puerto Rico she gets a taste for Caribbean Spanish. The idea of the whole thing is that the viewer should understand pretty much everything the narrator says (he speaks in a clear, relatively slow Spanish with simple vocabulary) while trying to get the gist of what the characters are saying in conversation. After episode one, English is mostly dropped from the series.

I’m over a quarter of the way through it, and I’ve enjoyed watching the program so far. There’s even a closed caption option for each episode, which is a nice addition. So check it out.

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Los Hermanos Oritz : Superman es ilegal

Here is the original version of the song I discovered through La misma luna. Good stuff!

¡Es un pájaro! ¡Es un avión!
No, hombre, ¡es un mojado!

Llegó del cielo y no es un avión.
Venía en su nave, desde Criptón,
y por lo visto, no es un Americano
sino otro igual como yo, indocumentado.
Así es que migra, él no debe de trabajar
porque aunque duela, Superman es ilegal.

Es periodista, también yo soy
y no fue el Army, a que camión.
Y aquel es güero, ojos azules, bien formado
y yo prietito, gordiflón y muy chaparro.
Pero yo al menos en mi patria ya marché
con el coyote que pagué cuando cruzé.

No cumplió con el servicio militar,
no paga impuestos y le hace al judicial.
No tiene mica ni permiso pa’ volar.
Y les apuesto que ni seguro social.

Hay que hechar a Superman se esta región
y si se puede, regresarlo pa’ Criptón.
¿Dónde está esa autoridad de emigración?
¿Qué hay de nuevo, don Racismo, en la nación?

De que yo sepa no lo multan por volar
sino al contrario, lo declaran Superman.
No cumplió con el servicio militar,
no paga impuestos y le hace al judicial.
No tiene mica ni permiso pa’ volar.
Y les apuesto que ni seguro social.

Hay que hechar a Superman se esta región
y si se puede, regresarlo pa’ Criptón.
¿Dónde está esa autoridad de emigración?
¿Qué hay de nuevo, don Racismo, en la nación?

Hugo Chávez (Auto) Tuned In

I hope you’re familiar with Auto-Tune the News…because it’s brilliant. A fun little side project by The Gregory Brothers, ATN consists of short videos that the band makes by running various politicians, celebrities, talking heads, and themselves through Auto-Tune software, which is a meant to correct pitch in song recordings. The process brings out the inner singer in folks like President Obama, Katie Couric, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and any number of Fox commentators and congressional members, as well as showcasing the sometimes ridiculous nature of political speech and commentary. My favorite is #5 (the following video), which was stuck in my head for months last year after it first came out. “It’s the sm-o-o-o-o-ke!”

But somehow I missed #9 until today, and boy was there a hole in life without it. The video starts with none other than Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez laying down a melody and displaying some fine air guitar. While Chávez is known for his often hours-long Sunday address/television program Aló Presidente, which currently has an archive of almost 350 episodes, I had no idea he had such a beautiful auto-tuned voice!

StoryCorps : Historias

Every Friday morning while I make breakfast StoryCorps is playing in the background. StoryCorps is an oral history project that documents a conversation between two people about something important in their lives: coming to America, raising children, traveling across the country, a particular summer, whatever. Typically I start by barely listening to the current week’s program, and then by the end the toast is burning and I’ve poured orange juice into the cereal instead of milk. Today’s feature was about a woman named Lucille Mascarenas telling her son about her tough relationship with his grandmother Candelaria, a Spanish-speaking farmer from New Mexico. Because of this episode, I found out that StoryCorps has a special collection of Latino/Hispanic stories in the archives called (por supesto) “Historias: Cuenta tu historia.” I guess I needed another time suck in my life. Thanks, St. Louis Public Radio.

Victor Mascarenas and his mother, Lucille.

Eliades Ochoa : El Carretero

I can’t get enough of the tres player Eliades Ochoa, the Johnny Cash of Cuba. Like most folks outside of Cuba, I was introduced to his music through the film Buena Vista Social Club. One of my favorite tracks from that film and the  accompanying CD is “El Carretero.” The following is audio only.

letra/lyrics

Por el camino del sitio mío/Along the track by my house

Un carretero alegre pasó/A cart-driver passed

Con sus canciones que es muy sentida/With his sentimental songs

Y muy guajira alegre cantó/The Guajiro sang:

——

Me voy al transbordador/I’m going to the crossing

A descargar la carreta/To unburden my load

Me voy al transbordador/I’m going to the crossing

A descargar la carreta/To unburden my load

Para cumplir con la meta/There I’ll reach the end

De mi penosa labor./Of my crushing labor.

——

A caballo vamo’ pa’l monte/Ride on up the mountain.

——

Yo trabajo sin reposo/I work without rest

Para poderme casar/So I can marry

Yo trabajo sin reposo/I work without rest

Para poderme casar/So I can marry

Y si lo llego a lograr/And if I can achieve that

Seré un guajiro dichoso./I’ll be a happy man.

——

Yo soy guajiro y carretero/I am a Guajiro and a cart driver

Y en el campo vivo bien/I live well off the land

Porque el campo es el edén/Because the countryside is paradise

Más lindo del mundo entero/The most beautiful place on earth

Chapea el monte, cultiva el llano/Work the mountain, cultivate the plain

Recoge el fruto de tu sudor./Reap the fruits of your labor.

Pedro Almodóvar Interview with Kurt Andersen

bembrace

Kurt Andersen has a really interesting interview with Pedro Almodóvar this week on Studio 360. They talk about his new film Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces), his career, Penélope Cruz, and of course…all about his mother. I tried to embed the audio in this post, but the link doesn’t seem to be working. So you can find the audio here instead. The trailer for the new film follows.