Traditional Chinese Opera, or Xiqu, has existed in China for over one thousand years. This type of musical theatre, accompanied by traditional Chinese instruments, features unique exaggerated makeup and masks of different colors.

Fun fact:
The color of a character’s mask gives clues to the audience about who they are what qualities they have.

For today’s activity, you will create your own Chinese Opera mask and color a beautiful opera scene. Before you begin, grab some crayons or colored pencils, a pair of scissors to cut out your mask when you are done, and some string to tie it on your face.


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Journey through Puerto Rico with comedian Gina Brillon as she reads the Tiny Travelers Puerto Rico Treasure Quest book out loud. With so much to learn about Puerto Rico, from food to language, traditions, and more, you won’t want to miss out!

 

In today’s lesson, we will introduce you to some fun poems from the Caribbean islands from Jamaican poet James Berry.

James Berry brings musical quality to his poems that celebrate what he calls “everyday” music – bird calls, tropical storms, the chatter of family and friends, and traditional songs and stories. They bring you the sounds, sights, and smells of James’ Jamaican childhood. You can listen to a poem written and read aloud by James Berry in English titled, “Childhood Tracks”. You can also hear him read aloud a poem in Creole or Patois, which is a Jamaican dialect here: Trick a Duppy.

Next, try to write your own poem in honor of Earth Day! Using “list poem” guidelines, think about the things you see and love about the Earth to create your own poem. What do you love and wish to protect about our planet?



In today’s lesson, we will explore more genres of music from the Caribbean islands and learn how to make your own pair of maracas with recycled objects.

Maracas, also known as rumba shakers or chac-chacs, belong to the percussion family of musical instruments. They are traditionally made from gourds, a type of fruit! Percussion instruments help to keep the beat and rhythms of songs. They include drums, like the conga, steel drums, and the pandeiro. They also include instruments like the cowbell and agogo that make hollow bell sounds. The guiro, also known as a scraper, is also in the percussion family. Some percussion instruments like the boleador keep a steady beat, while other percussion instruments build on those beats and sometimes improvise on top of the steady beats. When musicians improvise, they play what feels right as it goes along with the sounds that other musicians are making in the moment.

Today, you will make your own set of maracas or chac-chacs!  The word “maraca” is believed to come from the native people of Central and South America. In the Caribbean islands such as Grenada, Martinique, and Trinidad,  they do not use the term maracas. Instead, they are called chac-chacs. Chac-chacs can be heard in musical genres like Calypso.
When you are done making your maracas or chac-chacs, find a song to improvise to. You can find a favorite song or find one on our Tiny Travelers Caribbean Islands music playlist here See if you can match to the steady beat using your maracas. Then, see if you can improvise! Most of all, have fun while you get down and shake!


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With roots in West Africa, France, and Spain, music is an important part of the culture in the Caribbean.

The music that is played throughout the islands shows how the islands share some similar musical traditions and instruments. There are so many exciting genres of music in the Caribbean islands that include mento, reggae, dancehall, dub, and dembow from Jamaica,  and calypso and soca from Trinidad and Tobago. There are also Latin music genres such as bachata, salsa, merengue, rumba, and reggaeton coming from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

In today’s lesson, learn about some popular musical instruments in the Caribbean islands. Take a little trip through the musical maze and collect instruments on your way to the festival! When you are done, check out this song featuring one of our favorite young reggae artists of today: Koffee.


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Let’s dance, Tiny Travelers! Today we will explore the rich history of Puerto Rico’s Bomba and Plena music.

Drawing inspiration from traditional African music, what’s fun about Bomba and Plena is that they are both interactive! In Bomba music, singers lead a call-and-response chorus along to the beat that the musicians make with their barrel drums known as the subidor or primo (bomba barrel or drum). The musicians also play other percussion instruments including maracas, and the cuá or fuá, two sticks that are played against a piece of wood or the barrel of the bomba drum. While Plena music has one rhythm, Bomba can have up to 16 different rhythms! Plena music tells more of a story, usually about events or times when people needed to join together to make a change.

Puerto Rico has a long history of using music as a form of storytelling. In both Bomba and Plena, you can hear songs about resistance, struggle, celebration, and joy! No matter the style, it is music that brings together the soul of the Puerto Rican people and their cultural pride for their beloved island!

Today, you can bring to life a scene of Bomba musicians and dancers with a fun coloring activity. While you color, enjoy the sound of Bomba with this song: Mayelá (bomba) by Viento De Agua. To see a video of Bomba musicians, singers, and dancers, take a look here!

Before you begin, you will need a pencil, eraser, and colored pencils or crayons.


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