New York — When you hear the words “¿Podemos Ser Amigo?” sung expressively by Grammy-award winning artist Jon Secada, you’ll know that Mister Rogers is definitely in the neighborhood. With all that’s going on in the world today it’s been said we need Fred Rogers more than ever. And what better way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo this year than a Spanish version of Fred’s most recognized song.
A video has been lovingly created for the one-of-a kind adaptation featured in the audio album Thank You Mr. Rogers – Music & Memories. The album showcases celebrity artists singing imaginative arrangements of Fred’s songs. Those featured include Kellie Pickler, Vanessa Williams, Rita Wilson, Lee Greenwood, Sandi Patty, Jim Brickman, Jaci Velasquez, Micky Dolenz, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., The Cowsills, Tom Bergeron, and Jon Secada.
Secada’s song is the world’s only Spanish recording of Rogers’ theme song which opened every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighbor for over fifty years. It was the brainchild of Grammy-winning producer Dennis Scott who also plays in a Beatles tribute band, The WannaBeatles. That provided a connection to Rev. Reinaldo Toledo who is father of the group’s Cuban born drummer David. With no encouragement needed, the Reverend beautifully crafted Spanish words for Fred’s iconic theme song. It was then offered to multi award winning Latin artist Jon Secada who was excited to be part of the project. Jon quickly approved the lyric and was glad that it was not a word for word translation: “What you want to do is to get the message across from the original song and still make it fit in another language. This adaptation works really well and it meant a lot to me to be able to do the song in my first language Spanish.”
It also meant a lot to Rev. Toledo’s son, David Toledo. “It brought me to tears to see my father’s gift for languages so magnificently displayed before the entire world” says David whose father passed before hearing Secada’s Latin flavored rendition. Producer Scott observed, “I love how this story unfolded and how ‘Won’t You be My Neighbor’” has taken on a whole new character in Spanish. When my wife heard Jon Secada singing it, she literally swooned. I’m glad that both this song and the album will introduce Fred’s’ songs to a whole new audience of pop and Latin music lovers.”
And when the world hears that familiar melody compliment by the words, “Es Un dia precioso en la vecindad” they will know they are listening to Mister Rogers in a very special way.