(All Around This World/”Explore Everywhere” students from around the U.S. performing “We Are Happy” on African instruments they made for International Make Your Own Instrument Day.)
All Around This World’s “hello song” is “We Are Happy,” which our close friends Gershom Sizomu and J.J. Keki wrote to welcome visitors to their community in Uganda. We sing “We Are Happy” at the beginning of every All Around This World class, changing the salutation to match the featured country of the week.
All Around This World hello song is actually a mashup of two songs that Gershom, J.J. and Abayudaya of Uganda sing to greet important visitors to Nabugoye Hill, which is a small area a few miles outside of the Eastern Ugandan city of Mbale. The Abayudya of Uganda are a small community of about 500 Luganda-speaking Bagandans who have been practicing Judaism for nearly 100 years. Brothers Gershom and Keki wrote the two greeting songs and led the community in singing them for me when Jay first visited in late 1999.
For the sake of international fun Jay is recording a different version of “We Are Happy” to start each All Around This World CD, arranging the song and developing instrumentation that fits with that CD’s regional theme. So far:
— For All Around This World: Latin America — MERENGUE
— For All Around This World: Africa (West, Central and South) — WEST AFRICAN DRUMMING
— For All Around This World: Africa (North and East) — EAST AFRICAN BENGA
. . . and many more versions to come.
Listen to the Abayudaya’s original recording of “We Are Happy”:
Watch Rabbi Gershom peform the original:
AATW–Rabbi Gershom singing the original “We Are Happy” 2015-04-28 from All Around This World on Vimeo.
Watch the Jay and his kid backing band perform the song on the “Sands Across America” Summer 2016 tour.
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