The Cricket Who Sings to Children is Not For Sale


By Mónica Belén Hernández

In Mexico, we celebrate Children's Day on April 30 of each year since 1924, and what better way to celebrate it than to remember the children's poet - the singing cricket.

“I sing to you children, because talking to you is the most difficult thing in the world, who speaks to you is a cricket, he understands you because he is wise and has a child's heart, that cricket is called CRI-CRÍ, the singing cricket … ”And so it began:“ Who is the one who is there? It's Cri Crí! It's Cri Crí! And who is this Mr.? The Singing Cricket ... "

It was 1934, the most important radio station in Mexico, the XEW, opened space for something unprecedented - a children's program that in just 15 minutes every Friday would provide all children with songs and stories. They would gather around the radio to listen to Francisco Gabilondo Soler play the piano, accompanied by a violin and sing: "La patita", "El ratón Vaquero", "Caminito de la Escuela", "Pimpón I", "Los Tres Cochinitos "," La Muñeca fea "," Toma el llavero Abuelita”,  and 246 other songs. It has been  27 years since the" Grillito Cantor was the main character and made young and old dream with their imagination.

Cri-Cri Vol 1

These songs were translated and sung in French, Japanese, Italian, Danish, and even Hebrew. The fame of the Grillito Cantor, CRI-CRÍ, was so great that in the 1940s, Walt Disney tried to buy the character to add him to his very famous movie "Pinocchio" and make him the conscience of the main character. Francisco Gabilondo refused, saying that "Cri Crí is the legacy of Mexican children." Faced with the refusal, Disney asked his creators to design a character similar to the singing cricket and thus “Jiminy Cricket” was born. Although it was originally in the story, its shape and elegant suit were inspired by CRI CRÍ, who wore a tailcoat.  He walks on two legs and is a very intelligent cricket. In 1963, there was a subtle collaboration in the short film “Los Tres Cochinitos” and “Los Tres Caballeros.” In that same year, the final version of the character was presented by the Reader's Digest company: a brown cricket, dressed in a tailcoat, red, black bow, playing a violin-shaped ash leaf. There are those who deny the above. However, it remains for history to judge.

Gabilondo Soler played the violin and played the piano wonderfully.  He was a professional of the imagination; with his songs, he moved the deepest fibers of children.  They wrote letters to him by the thousands every week. His musicalized stories have a hidden message that children can interpret, about freedom, the love of their mother, that beauty has no race or skin color, as he expressed in the song "La Negrita Cucurumbe. "  It was written in the decade of the 1950s, and was ahead of its time. "The Ugly Doll" speaks of an abandoned doll and  is loved by other toys and more children. His characters number in the hundreds, approximately 500.

At every children's party in Mexico, the repertoire of songs of CRI CRÍ cannot be missed.  This name is synonymous with innocence and childhood par excellence. Gabilondo Soler passed away on December 14, 1990, leaving a beautiful legacy that continues from generation-to-generation: great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and children. His songs have been performed by several internationally famous singers, from the great tenors Plácido Domingo and Javier Camarena to Eugenia León, among others. His relatives created the foundation that bears his name, preserving all of  the work and messages. All his music can be found on the Internet. Here is a sample of  the wonderful lyrics of this Grillito Cantor:

“Take the keychain Grandma and show me your wardrobe, I promise to be still and not touch what you take out… give me the little doll with big sea-colored eyes, let me ask her what she was playing with my mother… show me your dress that makes a noise when you walk and tell me about when you were riding in the carriage with your dad; give me that old book with a thousand stamps I want to open it, children in these times like to hear the same stories "...

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