Whispering in Spanish by Kid Pan Alley
Written with English as a 2nd language students. Recorded by Raul Malo, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and Kid Pan Alley Band.
Cecila Hernandez is a 2nd grade student in an English as a 2nd language class at Tulip Grove Elementary School in Nashville. A child in a typical American classroom until the day that songwriter, Paul Reisler from Kid Pan Alley visited her class. That day they wrote this amazing song together called Whisper in Spanish. It’s a song like no other song with the verses in English and the chorus in Spanish—the incredible imagery of a child’s imagination combined with the craft of a songwriter who has written over 3000 songs. Since not all the kids spoke English as well as Cecila, she also got to translate for everyone.
A week later, Paul came back with some musicians from the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and they took the song and make it into something even more beautiful and all the kids got see how the instruments from the orchestra could be used in all kinds of music, not just classical. When Paul brought the song back again, it had been recorded by the one of the finest singers in the world, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, and Cecila and her class got to sing along with Raul on the beautiful chorus.
It was life changing—she saw herself for the first time as a creator and not just a consumer. She learned about teamwork, the value of everyone’s ideas, embracing diversity and collaboration through the group songwriting process. She’s even started writing songs to express her feelings rather than striking out in anger. Never before had she felt so listened to and proud of what she had done. Plus, this was the most fun she’d ever had in school
Well, this what’s happened for Ceclia and over 1000 other children as part of Kid Pan Alley Nashville--a remarkable partnership between the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Metro Schools and Kid Pan Alley. This album that you are holding is testament to the incredible creativity of Nashville’s children. Kids do make the best co-writers.