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


Terrific Taarab of Tanzania

We are so thankful today for taarab, a stunning example of the mix of East African, Arabic, Persian and South Asian influences found in Eastern Africa. Taarab is dramatic Swahili orchestral music of Zanzibar that features instruments from several continents: Middle Eastern oud and dumbek, Indian tabla, western electric keyboards, and the a Japanese taishokoto, described as “a banjo/typewriter key hybrid.”

We are Hoppy — MATU!

We start our online class this week by becoming Tanzanian frogs. The cibula, a frog, jumps (aye), and when he does he makes the sound “MATU!” This is a tricky “jumping game” from the the Gogo people of Tanzania’s Dodoma region, which I learned from the very generous Kedmon Mapana , originator of the Wagogo Music Festival.

Zanzibar + Tanganyika = FUN

All Around This World map of Africa featuring Tanzania

This week’s online class introduces us to a pretty darned great portmanteau — in 1964 the archipelago of Zanzibar, located just off the East African coast, united with the mainland country of Tanganyika to form (ta da) TANZANIA! Join me this week as we leap like Wagogo frogs and celebrate Zanzibari Nowruz with a tussle.


Alemayehu Eshete — the Ethiopian Elvis

Living up to the nickname “the Ethiopian Elvis” must be quite a challenge, but Ethio-Jazz icon Alemayehu Eshete can handle it. As our last post before we move along in music class, turning next week’s focus to Tanzania…watch this video of Eshete and his band of ferenge (“foreginers”) tearing up the stage. You’ll surely agree.

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.