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Entries in Latin Grammys (4)


Latin American Musician Spotlight: Alejandro Lerner

I am continuing to peruse the nominees and winners of the 2009 Latin Grammy Awards to learn more about popular Latin Music and Latin Musicians.

I select the artists and songs that I like and that provide good examples of the Spanish language in context through the song's lyrics. So far, the songs that are easiest to understand in Spanish for beginners are love songs or ballads.

Here's a link to a previous blog post which describes the way music can play an important and entertaining part in learning Spanish: 2009 Song of the Year 

Now, onto the spotlight artist, Alejandro Lerner. He is from Argentina and has been a successful Latin musician since the 80's. I found a biography you can link to which describes quite an impressive professional resume. He has maintained success for decades: Alejandro Lerner Biography from Artists Direct

Alejandro has also composed music for other artists, in many cases for the Latin market in the U.S., and produced award winning music for television. He has collaborated on albums for Paul Anka, Celine Dion, and the popular Latin musician, Luis Miguel. 

If my translation serves correctly, I found an interesting tidbit of information on a Spanish blog: he recorded an album in 2003 of children's songs which was only sold in gas stations in South America. The proceeds went to La Fundación Hospital Garrahan.

His album, "Enojado" (Angry) was recorded in 2007 which featured various guitar players from bands of other famous musicians such as Sting, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. His song, "Verte Sonreir" (To See You Smile) from this album was nominated for 'Song of the Year' in 2009. Here is the YouTube video embedded below with a link to the Spanish lyrics for your learning and listening pleasure.

"Verte Sonreir" Spanish lyrics by Alejandro Lerner



'Vamos' or 'VĂ¡monos'?: Learning How to Conjugate Reflexive Spanish Verbs Part 'Dos'

If you missed 'Part Uno' which covers the basics to reflexive Spanish verbs, feel free to read it here:
"Se Habla Español 'Se' What?: Learning How to Conjugate Reflexive Spanish Verbs"

Reflexive Spanish Verbs Case in Point: IR and IRSE
Have you ever noticed the difference between the commands “vamos” and “vámonos”? The reason for this variation comes from the difference between the non-reflexive verb "ir" (to go) and it’s reflexive counterpart, “irse” (to leave). 

“Vamos” is the first person plural command of the verb “ir” which means “let’s go” (let us go); and “vámonos” is the first person plural command of the verb “irse” which means “let’s leave” (let us leave). If you're wondering, the first person plural form is the nosotros form (nosotros = we/us).

In the case of "vámonos," it’s important to note: when you use a reflexive verb as an affirmative command, you have to attach the reflexive pronoun to the end of the verb. In this case it is the first person plural reflexive pronoun "nos" that is attached. To illustrate:

From Appendix A: The Basics to Use Commands, page 340 of The Spanish Verb Conjugator:

10.  Regular and irregular affirmative nosotros/as commands with reflexive pronouns drop the letter “s"
       of the conjugation when “nos” is attached to the command.

                               irse:  vámonos = “vamos” - “s” + “nos”

       (Note that an accent mark is added to preserve the appropriate stress of the verb.)

Another way of looking at it would be to leave the "s" there. "Vamosnos" just doesn't sound right.

Now let’s backtrack and review the conjugations of the present, preterit, and imperfect tenses of the verb “ir” and “irse” through the following sample verb chart from The Spanish Verb Conjugator: The Beginner's Guide to Mastering Spanish Verbs.

To help the beginner become familiar with those verbs that are used both non-reflexively and reflexively, the reflexive Spanish verb charts of The Spanish Verb Conjugator present the reflexive pronouns in parenthesis indicating that they may or may not be used according to the definition needed. (Side note: the Spanish verbs  that are most often used reflexively will not have reflexive pronouns in parenthesis.)

Reflexive Spanish Verbs: More Examples
It’s important to be able to understand the subtle difference between the verbs “ir” and “irse.” Perhaps by using this common verb as an example, it will lead to a greater understanding of reflexive verbs in general.

There are some Spanish verbs that are primarily used in the reflexive; for example, acostarse, despertarse, divertirse, etc. (Re: previous side note: so within the SVC, they will not have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns). I designed the The Spanish Verb Conjugator to make this distinction for you without digging into the linguistic reasons why. It’s easier for beginners to just try and remember which verbs are used reflexively and which verbs can be used both reflexively and non-reflexively, as dictated by the verb's definition.

Here are some examples of verbs that change meaning when used reflexively, and that are included in the core group of 110 Irregular verbs from A to Z of The Spanish Verb Conjugator:

                         acordar:  to agree                   acordarse:   to remember
                         caer:       to fall                        caerse:        to fall down
                         poner:     to put                       ponerse:      to become, to put on clothes, to set (sun)
                         probar:    to test, to prove       probarse:     to try on clothes
                         sentir:     to feel, to regret       sentirse:       to feel and emotion, ill/well

(Re: previous side note: so within the SVC, the verbs above will have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns because they are used both reflexively and non-reflexively; to reiterate, the verbs that are most often used reflexively will not have parenthesis around the reflexive pronouns because that is their most natural state. In this way, the SVC trains the beginner to make this distinction between all reflexive Spanish verbs.)

Reflexive Spanish Verb IRSE In Context: Latin Grammy Nominee “Me Fui”
When I was a student in Costa Rica, it confused me when I heard someone say, “me voy” (I’m leaving) when they were called from another room, or someone was waiting for them outside. This frequently used reflexive verb (irse) was overlooked in my own Spanish classes, and it wasn't included in any of the textbooks that were available when I taught high school Spanish. So I felt it was important to include in my verb guide and in today's post.

"Me voy" is the present tense yo form of "irse." So that would make "me fui" the preterit past tense yo form of “irse,” which means “I left.” To put this common reflexive Spanish verb in context, here is an excellent example: the song “Me fui” by Bebe & Carlos Jean (songwriter Bebe) which was nominated for 'Song of The Year' at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2009.

The following links below will bring you to the Official Video (that is not available for embedding), and lyrics in Spanish and the English translation. I have also embedded a video below the links that gives a little background info on the artist, Bebe, I think she is very interesting and very unique. Enjoy! / ¡Qué disfruten!

 Click here for the "Me fui" YouTube Video Official

Click here for "Me fui" lyrics in Spanish with English translation.



Best Music of Latin America: "En Cambio No" by Laura Pausini

"En Cambio No" was nominated for a Latin Grammy for 'Record of the Year' in 2009. Of all the nominations it was my favorite. In the YouTube video embedded below, it is a "karoke" version with the lyrics running along with the song, which turns out to be a nice language in context lesson.

I also considered posting the Latin Grammy performance, but the male dancers were kind of distracting (not in a good way either). If you want to check out the official video (with a storyline), go to YouTube to view the best quality version from Warner Music Latina (I can't embed it here):

Click here for the official Warner Music Latina video of
"En Cambio No" by Laura Pausini

Click here for the English translation for "En Cambio No"


Best Music of Latin America: 2009 Latin Grammy Song of the Year

Music has always been a huge part of Latin American culture, and listening to music in Spanish is a great way to absorb Latin culture. It made such an impression on me when I was a student traveler in Costa Rica. Going out at night to dance clubs was a totally different experience than anything I had ever known. People were seriously engaged in the music and dancing. It was enough just to watch everyone dance; like 'Dancing with the Stars' in real life.

Listening to music in Spanish is a fun way to feed your subconscious while studying Spanish. Having music playing in the background, even without understanding it, seeps into your subconscious. It's like preparing your cerebral grey matter for Spanish knowledge; tilling the soil to plant the seeds.

Just like when you were a child learning your native language, you were immersed in the language even though you didn't understand everything. Gradually you picked out words here and there, and eventually they added up to more comprehension. I clearly remember listening to music as a child and not being able to make out all the words. Do you remember that? Sometimes I would mix up the words, or make up my own. It works the same way with a second language. 

You are fortunate that there is a lot of great Latin music which is celebrated every year by the Latin Grammys. 2009 marked the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. It's a perfect way to catch up with what's hot in the Latin music scene. I would like to highlight some of the Grammy winners and nominees in the Spanish Verb Mastery Blog to inspire you to check out some popular Latin music as a way to learn about Latin culture.

Today's featured song is the 2009 Latin Grammy Song of the Year: "Aqui Estoy Yo" (Here I am), Claudia Brant, Luis Fonsi & G. Reuben, songwriters; performed by Luis Fonsi, Aleks Syntek, Noel Schajris, and David Bisbal.

Here is also a link to the song lyrics and the English translation:

"Aqui Estoy Yo" lyrics in Spanish and English