Alumnus Nacho González and Club Mundo Kids Release Album Celebrating U.S. Latino Culture
More than 40 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish at home, a number that has quadrupled since 1980 and is expected to continue to rise. However, despite this growing population, “There's not that much content developed targeting this audience yet, especially when you go to second-generation Hispanics or third-generation Hispanics,” says Nacho González ’16, who’s part of a new project for Latino children.
This endeavor, Club Mundo Kids, is a U.S.-based program for Spanish- and Spanglish-dominant kids that gives them a sense of belonging on screen, according to Exile Content Studio, which creates the show as well as other content for Spanish- and English-speaking audiences.
The show launched earlier this year, with write-ups in the New York Times and other media. González joined the project over the summer to write and produce an eight-song album, Club Mundo Kids, Vol. 1, that was released in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15.
The album, like the show, reflects the Latin experience as lived in the United States. For example, the first song, “Trabalenguas,” is about the different words used across the Spanish-speaking world for child, popcorn, and friend.
Watch the video for "Trabalenguas":
González said that he never thought about these linguistic differences when he was in his native Uruguay. “When you're in Latin America, you think about your own country, but it's harder sometimes to think about Latin America as whole culture...but when you come to the U.S. there's a moment as an immigrant where you start connecting the dots and you say, ‘Okay, maybe I have so many things in common with Chile or with Mexico or with Brazil,’” he said.
The music on Club Mundo Kids, Vol. 1 also reflects the pan-American theme. The track “Cumbia de los Buenos Hábitos” (“Cumbia of the Good Habits”) is written in the eponymous Colombian genre. It follows the track “Blues del Pulpo” (“Blues of the Octopus”), which is composed in the distinctive American genre (and features González’s first turn as a vocalist). In addition to touching on commonalities of Latin American culture, the album aims to teach kids lessons that range from the importance of being in touch with one’s emotions to the need to care for the planet.
González got involved in the project after his former boss at Univision, Isaac Lee, who now runs Exile, reached out to him asking him to make the album. González, based in Boston, then put together a band that includes Berklee undergraduate Adriana Corredor (vocals); graduate students Noam Tanzer B.M. ’19 and Ricardo Guerra; alumni Juan Ruiz ’16 and Patricia Ligia B.M. ’21; and Zahili González Zamora, assistant professor of piano.
After getting the green light for the album in early July, González wrote all the music and lyrics in less than a month, and had the group in the recording studio by August 8. The record was mixed and mastered by August 20, in time for the Club Mundo Kids team to create a music video for “Trabalenguas,” to release with the album and during National Hispanic Heritage Month. But the project doesn’t end at the close of the heritage month. A video for each track will come out every two weeks and will appear on the show and González is in talks about future projects with the show. One of those projects, a second Club Mundo Kids album, has been confirmed and will be released by the end of the year.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is one month but Hispanics are here to stay, and Latin America is way more than salsa and tacos. Music can be the secret weapon we have to start the conversation,” he said. “That’s the beauty for musicians, that we have that superpower, which is music, and music can open those doors, and I think that’s beautiful that we can use music to connect with people.”
Club Mundo Kids airs on NBCUniverso and Amazon Prime in the U.S., Televisa in Mexico, Venevision in Venezuela, RTVC in Colombia, TCS in El Salvador, and Amazon Prime in the U.K.