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


Join us for Coffee in Lalibela

Yesterday we introduced Ethiopia’s endearing (and extensive) coffee ceremony. The “Buna” ceremony can last a couple hours or more, and is consciously slow, leaving ample time for socializing. This video shows us how it’s done in Lalibela, a city in Ethiopia’s north that’s known for its ancient rock churches. Go there for the churches? No. Go there for the coffee.

This is How You Eskista

Yesterday we met the Ethiopian traditional dance called the Eskista, shaking our shoulders as the Amhara do. We tried our best to shake, shimmy and roll, and had much fun doing it, but that just left us wanting to learn more. Fortunately YouTube offers more of absolutely everything, including videos, like the one linked in this post, of Ethiopian kids doing the dance, and doing it wonderfully. Cheers!

Shake your Shoulders as you Eskista

The Eskista is a popular traditional dance of Ethiopia’s Amhara people. “Eskista” means “shaking shoulders,” and that’s what we do when we try it in class — first we shrug our shoulders to the beat, then we shimmy our shoulders, then — since by then we’re totally into it — we roll our shoulders. Let’s do it!

Ethio-Jazz is the Epitome of Cool

One of the most prominent Ethiopian music styles is Ethio-Jazz, which arose in the 1960s after Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke fell in love with American jazz while studying and traveling in the West. Returning to Ethiopia, he blended ancient Ethiopian scales with syncopated jazz rhythms. Astatke has long been a legend in the Ethiopian jazz world, but found international fame most recently when one of his songs appeared in the soundtrack of the Jim Jarmusch movie, “Broken Flowers.” Take a look at Astatke and his band performing live.

Eager to Explore Ethiopia

All Around This World Map of Africa featuring Ethiopia

Ethiopia is on the the agenda in this week’s online class for kids. Over the ages Ethiopia faced many challenges from abroad, but with the exception of some years of Italian rule during World War II, the nation either ended up defeating the invaders or weaving them, or at least their religions, into the nation. Today, though there are still many reminders of wars, famines and military dictatorships past, the always-unique Ethiopia has become a vibrant international cultural, musical and culinary hub.

Will the Real Amagunjju Please Stand Up?

Yesterday we learned about the Amagunjju, an exuberant royal court dance from Uganda. I hope you all danced with me, and didn’t mind looking ridiculous. The dancers in this video look anything but ridiculous dancing the Amagunjju. If you’re going to dance the Amagunjju around your house, don’t worry if you dance like me. On the other hand, if you dance it for the Ugandan king….
So glad we could learn about Uganda together in class. Tomorrow we go to Ethiopia.

A Ugandan Dance to Please the Infant King

This week in class we dance the exciting Ugandan royal dance called the Amagunjju. Once upon a time the Kabaka (King) of the Obutiko (“mushroom”) clan of the Baganda died and didn’t leave an heir. He did, however, leave many pregnant wives. Medicine men declared that one wife was carrying the Kabaka-to-be. She sat on the throne with the idea that her unborn baby was truly ruling Buganda. When the boy was born, his uncle Gunjju created a dance meant to keep him constantly happy . . . a crying king brings bad luck!

“Tulo Tulo” — Sing Sweetly Through the Night

Tulo Tulo” is a lovely Ugandan lullaby that we sing in class both in English and in the original Luganda. Can you try it with me? Don’t get hung up on the pronunciation — it can’t be worse than mine. Here are the words:

Tulo tulo kwata amwana, bwoto mukwate nga olimulogo, ssebo wulila
Njagala ngendeko kumazina nzine kundongo, nkyuse kubulamu obulamu wikulika

I Want to Eat Matoke, I Want to Eat Matoke

When we chant the Ugandan “Keenene” in class we empower kids to demand the food they want to eat — “I want to eat raspberries! I want to eat raspberries!” If we were to chant in Uganda, kids might demand matoke (a starchy cousin of a banana), ugali/posho (cornmeal porridge used to sop up stew) and chapati (sweet South Asian flat bread). Or they may very well demand raspberries.