Friday, February 20, 2015

Nathalia - Dream a Little (Sueña un Poquito)

Colombian-born singer, music therapist, and early childhood music educator Nathalia Palis-McLaughlin began her Kindie Rock career with the release of From Here to There in 2012. As there is a dearth of well-produced bilingual kids' music out there, it's good to see the arrival of her second collection of songs in Spanish and English, Dream a Little (Sueña un Poquito). The album is highlighted by the work of GRAMMY-winning engineer and co-producer Shafik Palis as well as by the talents of Andres Castro, Fernando Perdoma, Juan De Luque, and Mark Nilan Jr., among others. The musicians in Nathalia's band have worked with a constelación of Latin music estrellas, including Carlos Vives, Alejandro Sanz, Paulina Rubio, Christian Castro, Jennifer Lopez, and Ricky Martin.

Dream a Little blasts off with a trip into outer space where Nathalia explores "Los Planetas" with a buzzing power pop tune. The bubbling "El Amazonas" describes the remarkable flora and fauna of the Amazon jungle and features a rap by Colombian singer/songwriter Juan De Luque, while "Magical" celebrates the power of our imaginations via a waltzing power ballad. The explosive and uplifting "Shine" is perfectly crafted for the dance floor, and the biographical story of "Norah's World" vibrantly bops along as a little girl imaginatively interacts with neighborhood animals.

"Pop Pop Pop" celebrates the joy of blowing bubbles, while the retro feel of the movement song "Shake Them Bones" makes for a perfect Halloween dance ditty. "Tu Dia Puedes Cambiar" mixes reggaeton with an Ace of Base feel, and asserts that you can change your day by keeping in mind the wonderful aspects of our world. Nathalia assures her dog "There's No One Like You" as she lists all the meaningful ways her canine friend enriches her life (and listen for the great wordless harmonies in the chorus and Randy Singer's Mickey Raphael-like harmonica runs!). Dream a Little quietly comes to a close with the brief "Sueño Feliz," as Nathalia and her ukulele wish listeners happy dreams.

Sure, there have been several superb bilingual Kindie Rock releases in the recent past (dig Lucky Diaz, Elena Moon Park, Mariana Iranzi, etc.). What sets Dream a Little apart from most of those albums, though, is the production quality. Brian McLaughlin and Shafik Palis have masterfully integrated modern sounds and organic instrumentation to create catchy, up-to-date, radio-ready tunes that'll catch the ears of listeners both young and old. Add Dream a Little to your bilingual Kindie Rock collection, then make sure to check out the official Nathalia website for more information about her tour dates and music releases.

Released December 12, 2014; Nathalia Music

Track Listing
  1. "Los Planetas"
  2. "El Amazonas"
  3. "Magical"
  4. "Shine"
  5. "Norah's World"
  6. "Pop Pop Pop"
  7. "Shake Them Bones"
  8. "Tu Dia Puedes Cambiar"
  9. "There's No One Like You"
  10. "Sueño Feliz"