Abba, Irony and Inappropriate Lyrics

Jan 10, 2011 by    Posted under: Travel

My students have been learning ‘Honey Honey’, ‘SOS’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ for a singing contest today and a performance later in the week (in which I will have to choreograph dances to and write a script paraphrasing the scenes around those songs in the movie Mamma Mia’). It’s ironic that they have to memorize the lyrics to songs sung by group who also had to memorize the lyrics, neither one really understanding what they were singing. Which, in the case of my students, I’m thankful for. They range in age from 11 to 15 (Western age) so I’m not about to start explaining what a “love machine” is.

I know that most of the students don’t understand most of what they’re singing, but in the case of my more advanced kids, I’m not actually sure how much they understand. There’s a lot of slang used in the songs and more adult themes, which, I am hoping, go over their heads. I have no plans to ask them about it either as I know this will lead to questions about the lyrics I don’t feel are appropriate to answer to this age group.

But, they are having a great time singing the songs and memorizing songs in English, and that is what’s important. They sing them all the time – in the morning walking to class, in the cafeteria while eating, in class they will bust out in song at random times. It’s wonderful to see and hear their excitement at learning these songs and they are looking forward to showing the rest of the camp how they ‘rock out’ (I taught them this expresstion) to Abba.

UPDATE: My class won second place in the singing contest!! They did SUCH a great job. They won 30,000 won (just over $30) to buy food with one night. I’m having trouble uploading a video of them now but will hopefully be able to add it soon. Check back for the superstars of Island English Camp singing their hearts out to Abba!

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