12 episodes

A podcast for learners of Spanish. We use pop songs to learn useful language, grammar and simple phrases. in the process we also get to discover great singer-songwriters, famous in the Hispanic world. This is perfect learning material for both music lovers and students of all levels.

For comments, online lessons or just to reach out, contact us at raul.havering@outlook.com

Qué pasa, Raúl Raúl G.

    • Education

A podcast for learners of Spanish. We use pop songs to learn useful language, grammar and simple phrases. in the process we also get to discover great singer-songwriters, famous in the Hispanic world. This is perfect learning material for both music lovers and students of all levels.

For comments, online lessons or just to reach out, contact us at raul.havering@outlook.com

    Los malvados de Siam

    Los malvados de Siam

    We’re on a trip to Disneylandia!

    Today we learn about the dubbings of Disney films for Spanish and Latin American audiences. We then go on to study Lady and the Tramp’s infamous Siamese Cats Song.

    Listen to Si and Am singing in a suspicious Thai accent, with a genuine Mexican flavour and a touch of Yodish for good measure. Through their song we get to explore reflexive verbs, demonym adjectives and a suffix without which Ned Flanders could not utter a complete sentence. So: just the purrrrfect number for our podcast.

    • 20 min
    Raphaelismo ilustrado

    Raphaelismo ilustrado

    So you still don’t know what being in love is like? Stress no more: Spanish crooner Raphael gives you no less than twelve different definitions of such a state in Estar enamorado (To be in love), a song from 1981 written by the singer’s habitual partner in crime, Manuel Alejandro.

    Together, Raphael and Alejandro have formed one of the great partnerships in music, bringing scores of brilliant romantic classics to the Spanish songbook over the 1960’s and 1970´s. Estar enamorado is one of their last and most powerful creations.

    The song is a festival of infinitives, a real bacchanal of verbs in their -ar and -ir forms, matched with an array of big, primordial nouns such as el día y la noche, (day and night), el mundo (the world), el tiempo, (time), la vida (life), la muerte (death), el mar (the sea), árboles y rosas (trees and roses) or tu voz (your voice).

    • 21 min
    Balada triste de Sing Sing

    Balada triste de Sing Sing

    In this episode we learn about Los Nikis, an 80’s band from Madrid, and their song from 1986 Diez años en Sing Sing.

    The song title and chorus reference a classic prison drama from 1932, 20000 Years in Sing Sing, starring Spencer Tracy and Bette Davis. It was not unusual for Spanish bands of that period to quote old books and movies in their lyrics or even in their album covers.

    In a letter to his sweetheart Margaret, the narrator reminisces nostalgically about his past life as a baseball star with the Detroit Tigers and imagines a blissful future playing banjo at a farm in Colorado, both vignettes set in harsh contrast against his present-day reality as a convict in the infamous New York prison.

    This set-up is ideal for a useful examination of the imperfect, future and present tenses. Expect also a brief essay on that Swiss knife of a verb, if there ever was one: llevar.

    • 16 min
    La soledad del astronauta

    La soledad del astronauta

    In this episode we explore the song Así no se vive bien by Los Ronaldos, one of the most loved rock bands that came out of Spain in the 80’s. Their vocalist Coque Malla is still going strong today as a solo artist. In 2021 he released Soy un astronauta gigante (I am a giant astronaut), a 5-disc compilation spanning his whole career both with Los Ronaldos and solo.

    The narrator in our song is a Bowie-esque shape-shifter who sings away a seemingly perpetual sense of aloofness, detachment and, ultimately, dissatisfaction. Hence the title:  Así no se vive bien (this is no good way to live).

    Through our usual line-by-line translation we will learn that the passive reflexive tense doesn’t really care about its subjects and that you can stick a Spanish personal pronoun after both a gerund and an infinitive, among some other things that will keep your language juices flowing.

    • 15 min
    En el corazón del bosque

    En el corazón del bosque

    On this episode we explore the opening theme song of David el Gnomo, an animated television series that was hugely popular in Spain during the mid-1980’s.

    Throughout the episode we learn about David’s domestic life and the wider gnome world. Did you know that gnomes live for several centuries, and that Spaniards – both of the gnome and human variety - don’t mind aging? We will also find out the difference between saber and conocer, our two verbs for to know; and how to be careful and pay close attention in Spanish, among many other things.

    Finally, we will hear one of the earliest instances of rapping in Spanish music. Straight outta David!

    • 21 min
    Amor subacuático

    Amor subacuático

    On this episode we discuss Branquias bajo el agua (Gills underwater), a song by the Spanish group Derribos Arias. 

    Ignacio Gasca, better know as simply Poch, was the leader of this band which helped to define the spirit of the Spanish movida in the early 1980's. Poch was by all accounts a colourful figure, with a taste for the surreal and the odd, much of which he brought to the music of Derribos Arias. Listen to this band's music and you will hear clear echoes of much American and British post-punk music of the late 1970’s such as Pere Ubu, Joy Division, Throbbing Gristle and Suicide.

    Their single Branquias bajo el agua, from 1982, has that sense of euphoria, with a touch of the sinister, that so often pervades New Wave pop music of this period. The song's opening line goes: Branquias bajo el agua, es el baile de actualidad (Gills underwater: it's the current dance craze!). It thus establishes itself as an ironic send up of all those dance craze songs that punctuate the history of pop music - whether it be the twist, the mash potato, the watusi, the macarena or the gangnam style. 

    Are you ready for the immersion??

    • 15 min

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