Tish Hinojosa

Cada Nino (Every Child)

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While it's not a very long album (clocking in at under 40 minutes), this is an ideal length for the young audience it's aimed at. While most records for kids talk down to the crowd, this one happily doesn't, and although it's in Spanish, it crosses any boundaries of language in its feel. "Escala Musical," for example, explains the scale in a norteño manner, with none of the simpering of Julie Andrews belting out "doe, a deer." "Señora Santa Anna" proves to be a beautiful lullaby, and Hinojosa's own "Siempre Abuelita," about her grandmother, is suffused with the kind of childhood that seems almost idealistic these days -- but never becomes cloying. There are plenty of up-tempo songs, too, like "Hasta los Muertos Salen a Bailar," about the Day of the Dead (guaranteed to appeal to young boys), or "Barnyard Dance," with its grooving vegetables, perfect for a preschool group. Hinojosa can be serious and silly both, and she keeps her music well grounded in tradition, never taking the easy way out for kids and dumbing things down on any level. An excellent children's record.

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