¿Listos para saltar? Ready to jump? 123Andrés is here to get you up, get you active and get you learning Español while bopping to the beat! With two children’s music albums, including the recently released “Arriba Abajo,” 123Andrés specializes in making kids feel comfortable, welcome and excited to learn a new language. Half of the songs are in English, half are sung in Spanish and all of them are sung in a zippy, upbeat tone by a delighted 123Andrés.
Billboard Magazine called 123Andrés, “a rockstar for little language learners.” He has been featured on CNN en Español, Telemundo, Sirius XM radio’s Kid’s Place Live among others.
One song, “Salta, Salta,” which means “Jump, Jump,” is a perennial favorite among his fans, both old and young. “Language and culture are fun,” he said. “Kids are curious and they want to learn and engage and that is amazing. ‘Salta, Salta’ really gets them out of their seats and jumping around. They love it and it’s just so contagious; their excitement and wonder and imagination.”
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Andrés Mauricio Salguero, whose stage name is 123Andrés, learned English from his father as a child. He got his love of music from his father too. “I started learning as a child because my father taught me how to play the guitar and he loved languages and he gave [me my] very first lessons,” Salgeuro said.
After completing his undergraduate degree in his native Colombia, Salguero wanted to travel and learn more about the world. So he moved to Kansas City to attend the University of Missouri where he earned a graduate certificate in education and a Ph.D. in Music Performance with a specialty in the clarinet. “I was going to be a college professor,” he said. “Performing children’s shows started as a side gig for me. My first show was in 2008. I had never seen myself as a performer before, but I found that I liked it and it just started growing and growing.”
When Salguero’s wife, Christina (whom he met when pursuing his doctorate) got a job in the D.C. area, he followed along. “ I thought, hey, why not?” he said. “And I am so glad to have ended up here. There is a great interest in culture and language and so many wonderful young kids and families. This is such a vibrant area.”
Salguero’s first album, “¡Uno, Dos, Tres Andrés!” was nominated for a Latin Grammy and his follow up album, “Arriba Abajo” won the Latin Grammy for Best Children’s Album of 2016. “Winning a Grammy changes your life, of course,” he said. “You feel that what you do as an artist is going to have a wider impact. You have a responsibility to continue to do good work.”
Salguero’s shows and albums are aimed at the 3 to 7 crowd, but “It is really great for any aged kids,” he said. “And their parents too,” he added brightly.
Those shows are noted for being high energy and 123Andrés wouldn’t have it any other way. With his trademark fedora planted firmly on his head, Salguero starts his shows with high energy and doesn’t let it down for the whole show. He gets kids more than just jumping. “They clap, they laugh, they participate,” he noted. “There is a need for children’s music in both English and Spanish; it is important for both cultures to be a part of their lives.”
And Salguero doesn’t just perform shows locally either. “We did a show in Puerto Rico for 10,000 people once” he said. “It was a great show, but I enjoy performing for small groups too. The important thing is to get people involved. That way you can have shows of any size.”
The catchy and infectious tunes do more than just get kids excited to hear the music. “Language can be learned in a vacuum, I suppose,” he said. “But it can also be connected to culture. It’s fun and has depth when you learn where it comes from. I hope it creates positivity and a positive impression with a new culture of language and makes it fun. On the other side for Latino kids, it makes them feel validated.”
Ask Salguero if he is the driving force behind the shows and albums and he’ll tell you his wife is as much a part of the show as he. “Christina is my other half,” he said. “She is part of the show. There is no show without her.”
123Andrés has no plans to slow down either. “I’ve found my calling,” he said. “I’m going to do this for a long time.”
For more information about 123Andrés, his shows, albums and social media accounts, click on over to 123Andres.com. Then be prepared to get up, get moving and to sing in English and Español.