Itty-Bitty Review: ¡Fantastico! - Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

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Although they’ve released just three albums for kids and families, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band have almost enough bright, acoustic rock songs for kids and families to release a “greatest hits” album.  Diaz’ latest album Fantastico! takes a look back at some of his best songs, but with a twist.

Take “Gato Astronauta,” about a space-traveling cat.  In its original incarnation, the song had just two Spanish words -- the title.  With the help of Tejano music producers Noe Benitez and Christina Martinez-Benitez, Diaz reworked “Gato” and some of his other English-language hits into Spanish.  On the only entirely new track on the album, Diaz takes the traditional Latin American children’s singing game “La Vibora de la mar” and turns it into a shimmery pop song.  By marrying his bubbly pop songs to a new language, he's given the songs new life and suggested an alternative route to non-English music for kids.

The 22-minute album is appropriate for kids ages 3 through 8.  It'll obviously appeal to those looking for Spanish-language music, but it holds up even if you're just a fan of good kids' music.  A first-generation Mexican-American, Diaz grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and he says his mom is most pleased that he’s finally recorded an album in Spanish.  His new album neatly honors his family’s past and his own musical past while pointing the way to a new, very danceable future.  Definitely recommended.

Note: I received a copy of this album for possible review.