Preparing for my 24 hour marathon of classes THIS SATURDAY:
Learn about the December 7-8th 24 hour live webcast
Learn about All Around This World’s Crowdfunding campaign (DEADLINE DECEMBER 21)
In the meantime, recording for the the All Around This World: Africa double CD set is 95% done and mixing is happening at Amon Drum’s Hook Studio in Brooklyn probably at this very second Throughout the month, until the digital release, planned for some time this December, I’ll be posting the occasional sneak preview track here for your listening pleasure.
Today let’s enjoy “Kikalama” a West African song that will appear on All Around This World: Africa Volume 2. On August 21, 2013, three legitimate superstar musicians from the West African nation of Guinea–balafon master and producer Famoro Diabate, multi-instrumentalist Abdoululaye Diabate and mighty vocalist Missia Saran Diabate, with legitimate local superstars, producer Amon Drum (Diabate?) and bassist/drummer Sean Dixon (Diabate!) recorded a Kikalama for All Around This World: Africa Vol. 2 (West, Central and South). Audiophiles take note: this preview track is mixed but not yet mastered. Learn more about Kikalama.
All Around This World’s 24 Hour Marathon Goes Global!
Revving up for an exciting 24 Hour live webcast of All Around This World music classes on December 7-8, I’ve started fielding press inquiries from the international English-language press. Recently I’ve completed interviews with publications in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, South America and Asia. Come on, Africa, what are you waiting for?
You may be right, I may be crazy…
Today I’m officially announcing THE 24 HOUR ALL AROUND THIS WORLD LIVE STREAMING GLOBAL MUSIC EXTRAVAGANZA! (December 7 to Sunday, December 8)
As I’ve been building my crowdfunding campaign — ongoing until December 21st–FUND ME, CROWD, FUND ME!–I was thinking a lot about how cool it is that All Around This World can now take us, musically, to over 100 countries on every inhabited continent. Inspired by a recent 24 hour concert of Indian Classical music in Philadelphia that celebrated the exciting fact that there are Hindustani ragas specifically intended to be performed at different times throughout the day, I’ve decided to present the All Around This World curriculum as a continuous thought in one ludicrous ’round the clock series of classes. Starting at 9am on Saturday, December 7th and going until either 8:59am on Sunday, December 8th, or until whenever I give up, I intend to teach two classes from each of the All Around This World seasons–two from Latin America, then two from Africa, then two from South and Central Asia, etc.–until I’ve introduced material from each of the 12 AATW seasons. Each class will actually be about 45 minutes, starting each hour on the hour, with fifteen minutes at the end for families attending live to come in an out, and for me to take a couple minutes to relax.
This will be both a live event that will take place in my “home studio”–you and you family can attend any of the classes in real life in my living room–and also a live streaming event that anyone anywhere around the world with an internet connection will be able to join. I know most of the time I’ll just be playing music to a lone camera, but I’m going to publicize the webstream as far and wide as I can, with the hope that while I’m singing songs from, let’s say, the Middle East at 1am in Philadelphia, some mom and their kids will be dancing around with me in Dubai.
LET THE CROWDFUNDING BEGIN! All Around This World is embarking today on an ambitious yet essential crowdfunding campaign with the goal of raising $40,000 — yes, the number four and then all those zeroes — by the end of the 2013 to support the transformation of the program from a quirky West Philadelphia kids’ music class into a much more substantial and, ideally, widely effective global music and cultures program for young children everywhere. Visit
THE ALL AROUND THIS WORLD CROWDFUNDING PAGE
for details. Much more about this exciting development to come.
This autumn I’ve returned to Ms. Josloff’s classroom at the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School to work with her wonderful 6-8 year old students en route to creating an All Around This World “big kids’” curriculum. On Tuesday we sang songs from Latin America and learned about a Chilean dance known as “the cueca,” during which a rooster courts a chicken. The dancers portraying the roosters twirl scarves in the air part of the courtship. Here we are dancing, twirling and having a grand time:
Your one-of-a-kind All Around This World Musical Map of Latin America is here! Over the last few months I’ve had the pleasure of working with Uruguayan illustrator Gustavo Wenzel to create something neither of us has ever seen before–a fun, family-friendly and fully illustrated map of any part of the world–in this case Latin America–that serves as a geographical guide to that region’s main musical styles and instruments. This map introduces you to over fifty Latin American genres and even more instruments, then adds and extra special bonus by showing you the countries of origin of the songs on your All Around This World: Latin America CD. If you’re taking music class this season you’ll recognize Gustavo’s drawing as the thing I’ve been passing out in sections on the back of your weekly class handouts. It’s a great-looking thing, isn’t it? I’m just about to print the Musical Map up as a 24″ x 36″ poster that should be ready in time for Thanksgivica, and definitely for Christmas, which will look even better–perfect for a kids’ bedroom wall or a school classroom. If you want to buy one, or twelve, order here. But wait, there’s more! The Musical Map is not just a printed item that starts and ends in tangible form. What is this . . . 2010? If you look at your Latin American Musical Map, see the name of a genre of music and want to know a bit about it, dial up the All Around This World site, specifically http://www.AllAroundThisWorld.com/musical-maps-2, and you’ll find a clickable version. Click on any image and you’ll go to a page on the AATW site where you’ll find background information about the Latin genre, instrument or song, showing you video of someone performing the type of music or playing an instrument to boot. Voila! Your “Musical Map” truly becomes a musical map.
After many years of intense global musical exploration and content creation and many many months of intense computer mumbo jubmo work to get that content online in a way everyone can enjoy it, the All Around This World site, where you currently “are,” is ready for prime time. There are still some kinks to work out, and a lot of content that will be available as soon as I proofread and fix broken links, but you and your family can now dig in.
While the All Around This World website isn’t “for kids” in the sense that it’s full of games and brightly colored ads to try to get them to buy stuff, it’s definitely a site for you to enjoy with your kids. I’ve vetted every video to make sure, to the best of my knowledge, it’s appropriate for you and your children to explore. (forgive me if I’ve missed something–and let me know.) Leap into the learning here, and quickly you and your family will find yourselves on musical expeditions to countries you may have previously never even knew existed.
Many thanks go to the crew at Act 3, designers of this site, and especially to programming genius Tree, who has gone far above the call of duty over the last couple months to get this behemoth working,.
Even though there’s a ton of information here, we’re considering this site to be Phase 1. Next we’re going to make the site responsive so it works better on mobile devices, and simultaneously more interesting and interactive so you and your kids will have more and more fun traveling the world together. Phase 2 will include a substantial effort to make hands-on teaching materials available, like customizable lesson plans for teachers and step-by-step guides for you and your family to do much as cultural exploration as possible from your home.
Enjoy this resource. Visit again and again.
Back to New Jersey on October 1 to continue work on the AATW: South and Central Asia CDs. I say CDs on purpose because after the session Randy and I ran some recording times and realized that there’s no way we’re going to fit all this music onto one CD. We’re looking at a double for this one too, and probably for the most of the rest. That’s not a bad thing; that gives us more room on each CD to explore.
On Tuesday Samir, Randy and I recorded with two vocalists, both fabulous musicians, both fascinating and very kind people. Looking for a sitar playing/frame drumming/overtone singer? Look no further than Neel Murgai. Need a Croatian vocalist/pianist/dancer/tabla player? You’ve found the best one in Lana Cencic. Watch Lana sing “Dudurai,” a song from Kazakhstan about star-crossed lovers, a Kazakh girl, Marai, and a Russian boy named Dudur:
I really can’t believe we’ve been lucky enough to record with both the musicians featured in the above video, Famoro Dioubate and, as of this Thursday the 26th, Cameroonian balafon player and vocalist Francois Nnang. We’re so spoiled that we didn’t even ask Francios to play balafon on the CD, but instead to add his vocals–which are truly special, as you’ll hear soon on the AATW: Africa Vol. 1 CD–to two Congolese songs, “Independence Cha Cha” and “Sai.” By the way, Francois is an old pro when it comes to entertaining kids:
More recording. More recording. More recording.
This week Amon and I were so fortunate to be able to record some phenomenal vocals for three South African songs that will pepper the two AATW Africa CDs. For a while we didn’t think we’d be able to make it happen, but somehow the fates shone apon us and gave us the chance to schedule a session with South African and Broadway vocal star, Selloane. You’ll hear Selloane’s distinctive voice on AATW: Africa on two defiant Apartheid-era tracks, Senzenina and Thinantsha, and on our Sierra Leonean Afro-ska version of the Pete Seeger and the SongSwapper’s version of the Bantu wedding song, “He Motsoala.” Meet Selloane through this AfirPop interview and enjoy this video of her performing her own music live at Joe’s Pub: