Jay Sand teaching an All Around This World class

All Around This World is a unique, interactive global music and world cultures program for children 0-9 years old that encourages children and their families to explore the world by enjoying global music, rhythms and movement. Jay Sand, guitarist and children’s music teacher, world traveler and dad of three girls developed All Around This World with his girls as a way to introduce them to the countries he’s already visited and the many more he plans to visit with them. Through CDs, concerts and workshops, dynamic online classes, engaging homeschool and classroom lessons, “musical maps” and participatory parent-child music-making Jay hopes to make the world a bit smaller one song at a time.

All Around This World is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of All Around This World must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donate here.

How to sing with Jay each week in your home or classroom Support All Around This World on Patreon Enjoy interactive All Around This World lessons in your home or classroom


Count 9 beats for the Cadaneasca

The Cadaneasca is a traditional dance found in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe that brings us 9 beats and a smile. The beats come in three groups of 2 and one of 3:

1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3.

1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2-3.

You’ll have to really count fast, but try it.  You think that’s tricky? We’re just getting started.

Get Fundamental with Jamaica’s Jimmy Cliff

Jamaica is a musical powerhouse, generating genres like ska, dancehall and reggae that have influenced music internationally far out of proportion with its size. Our “Everything is a Drum” season focuses on rhythms and notes that reggae, in 4/4 time, loves the 2 and the 4. In this video of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff you’ll hear the 2 and 4 as the keyboard kicks in. That’s right…groove. Next week in our online class, something completely different: frantic rhythmic fun from Eastern Europe.

Haiti’s “Mini Jazz” doesn’t seem so small to me

As we explore the Caribbean in our online classes we celebrate the many musics of Haiti, where African, French and Spanish cultures fused and, after Haiti’s independence in the early 1800s, caught proverbial fire. Here we enjoy a 1984 performance by Tabou Cambo, a still-popular ensemble performing a Haitian cousin of merenge called “mini jazz.”

The Key to Caribbean Music? Clave

The Latin/Caribbean “clave” is the pattern of beats that lays the rhythmic foundation for many genres of Latin music, from Cuban son to Jamaican mento to Puerto Rican salsa and beyond. But the clave is much more than a pattern–it’s a feeling, a motion, an unspoken sense. One may say the clave “originated” in Cuba due to the fact that Cuban “son” music fully embraced it, but really the clave is a pattern that developed in Africa over hundreds if not thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years, that accompanied African slaves on their forced passage to “the New World.”

Don’t miss El Tren! The Cuban clave in action

Cuban traditional music icons, Vieja Trova Santiaguera, perform “El Tren” (“Pico y pala”), featuring the clave. If you have claves or any sticks, have them on hand when you watch this video. I dare you to not clave along.

Kumina drumming — from the Congo to Jamaica

We start this week’s exploration of Caribbean music with kumina, a Jamaican expression of African religion that has been present in the islands since the 1850s when, after the official end of slavery in the British Empire, enslaved Africans and indentured immigrants arrived from the Congo. The Kumina drumming battery includes includes a wide variety of drums such kbandus, as well as scrapers, shakers and “catta sticks,” which beat out the rhythm. Note that kumina emphasizes the 1st and 3rd beat of the phrases while other Jamaican music, connected to reggae, usually pushes the 2 and 4. For real! More about Kumina.

“Ay Zuzuma” — Goin’ to Town in Jamaica

“Ay Zuzuma” is a Jamaican children’s circle game in which a man goes to town to go to the market and leaves his wife at home to make lunch, asking her to mind the pig and cow while he’s gone. When he returns she tells him all the things she’s cooked for him – corn, pork and saltfish. Yum? In the current “Everything is a Drum” season of our online class use egg shakers to accent a reggae beat. No pigs, cows or egg shakers were harmed in the making of this music.

Caribbean Rhythms — So Much to Celebrate

All Around This World Caribbean "Everywhere Map"

This week’s online class for kids takes us to the sandy beaches and the sunny sun of the Caribbean. There are a lot of reasons to be happy in the islands, and the many diverse peoples of the Caribbean seem pretty darned good and embracing them, though they do so with full knowledge of, and intimate experience with, contemporary and historical struggle. Most music here is a mix of African rhythms and colonial melodies — Spanish, French, British. In the very same beat you’ll find both the pain of the slave trade and the triumph of Caribbean cultures that survived.

Abbos Kozimov and his amazing Doira

We end our week of South and Central rhythmic adventures by tearing ourselves away from India and venturing north to Uzbekistan, where frame drums like the doira find favor and doira masters like Abbos Kozimov are held in the highest esteem. (Check him out at 3 minutes into the video playing two drums. Yee-haw!) We’re sorry to leave South and Central Asia, but we have so many important and enjoyable places to go. Tomorrow, the Caribbean.