Singer Carlos Vives and fourth graders from Para Los Niños make music at the Grammy Museum. (Jc Olivera)
Carlos Vives demonstrates that music connects with our roots and unites nations, which led him to offer an acoustic show at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles, where he invited fourth grade students from Para Los Niños elementary school to sing and play alongside him on Oct. 23. The Colombian singer-songwriter, one of the greatest exponents of vallenato worldwide, identifies himself as an advocate for children, helping them with their art and to live a happy and fulfilling childhood in the most optimal educational environment full of values.
Vives teaches us that music is a great contributor to the academic and personal development of children.
“I think music is key for a child’s development; it’s their greatest expression,” he says. “I believe that identity plays a fundamental role, and I think that it’s wanting those origins, knowing them, working with them, giving to the world and giving them values. I believe we need to educate children with values, it’s very important we do so during these times. It’s the best thing we can do.”
The Grammy award winner has an integration program, which takes children to different parts of Latin America to share their art and teaches them that, through music, we can incur values and connect with our roots.
“I always try to show the best that happened in my life because of music, and where our music was born. When the Academy invited me to this tribute to the children, it was an opportunity to show them a little bit of our history and show them that through our roots, we can all connect musically with the world. Even in a country like the United States where we experience differences and all speak different languages.”
Vives tells us that there are a variety of things, including history in the Caribbean, that connects with the United States. He wanted to take the opportunity, so that the children of this country with Hispanic roots could understand that there are connecting elements, like music, and realize how incredible that is.
In this mini acoustic concert, Vives united the children. Using basic instruments, he was able to achieve an excellent dynamic. After dividing them into two groups: one to play vallenato, and the other to play rock ’n’ roll – creating an interesting fusion of both genres – he integrated the children on stage to sing and experiment playing with simple instruments, making them part of the show.
He also gave a lecture where he explained a little bit about the origins of the music of Colombia and Caribbean, as well as the emergence of evolution of the vallenato genre, of which he is an icon. He also talked about his experience as a singer-songwriter and the significance that music has had in his life. Before ending, he invited the parents and children to participate in activities that related to connecting with their roots, and what better way to do that than with the universal element of music.
Edison Millan contributed to this article.