Why This Latin Grammy Winner Is Teaching Children How To Speak Spanish Through Music
Marta Gomez, a Latin Grammy winner, is making it her purpose to teach children Spanish through singing. Partnering with the Global Language Project, Gomez has been able to record Coloreando, which won a Latin Grammy itself, and Coloreando Dos which boost Spanish-language appreciation with traditional Latin-American songs.
“I consider myself a singer-songwriter,” she smiles. “All my songs are very political and poetic. And, I’m independent. With the first Coloreando, I got the invitation from Global Language Project to have a CD for kids. I always wanted to record albums for children…But when I got pregnant, I decided it was time to record an album for children because I wanted to see, to compose and to sing lullabies from around the world and music for children to listen, but also for the parents…I wanted to actually record CDs that you enjoy listening to as a child and as an adult.”
Over the course of her music career, Gomez has released 13 albums with over 100 songs. The two-time Latin Grammy winner has also founded the international campaign Nothing For War. Winning the Grammys was surreal for the artist. “For me,” she smiles, “this is huge; that this was going to actually change the way people saw me afterward. Some people have more respect. There are people that always love my music, but I realized that there are people who now enjoy my music. I’m very proud. Every day I look at my Grammy with pride, not only for me specifically, but because for me, it shows recognition to independent musicians. And I’ve always been independent.”
Gomez’s journey began at a very early age. Before she could speak her mother noticed that she could hum a melody. She was enrolled in a Columbian school that had a choir. The choir director took an interest in Gomez and she sang under the direction of that particular choir director for 10-years. From there she studied music at Berklee College in the United States. Now, she is transforming lives by breaking down the language barrier through music.
“The children of immigrants in the States that are born into the U.S. speak English,” Gomez shares. “but they know their parents don’t. Their parents speak Spanish, and they come from Guatemala and Costa Rica and Colombia. Most of the kids kind of feel ashamed; they relate the Spanish with ‘my mom has to clean floors, my dad has to drive a bus’ and they kind of relate those two things: the Spanish with a hardy way of living. The Global Language Project wants them to know it’s ok; speaking Spanish is actually a tool… they want them to feel proud of the language, and how they do it is through music. Not only music but music that their parents listen to.” In order to achieve that Gomez chose very traditional songs that she could put a folkloric twist on.
One of the biggest challenges she faced was from being an independent artist to now producing commercial albums. “The most difficult part of it is when you learn that you don’t have to show or prove anything,” she shares. “Because all the time you’re thinking I should sound like her, I should move like this other singer or I should change the way I sing. Many doors close. It is very frustrating because they compare you to other artists, and you also compare yourself to others. But I think the most beautiful thing is when you realize you don’t have anything to prove to anybody.”
As Gomez navigates her music career from an independent artist to a commercial singer, she relies on these essential steps:
“What I enjoy more is knowing that if people are getting connected to the music,” Gomez concludes, “it doesn’t matter in which language you can use, of course, if you can pick up one word in Spanish, that would be great. But if not, at least to be able to be more tolerant. I’m pretty sure if you listen to music in other languages and you like it, then it makes you a more tolerant human being and it opens your mind to a new world.”
This content was originally published here.