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


Step, Together, Step, Touch

The Cajun two-step is a partner dance, so find a friend! We’re going out to a “fais do do,” a Cajun dance party that we’ll learn about tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re going to enjoy some Cajun music and, essentially, shuffle around the community space or dance hall with our beloved.

There are few ways to speak out the steps — “push-DROP, push-DROP,” or “Step together step touch, step together step touch.” However you say it, the night is young, the music is grand, and, at least tonight, all is well.

Fais Do Do at the Bayou Barn

A “fais do-do” is an energetic “Cajun hoedown,” a community event full of music, good folks and great food, that takes place on a Saturday evening at a public dancehall and may very well go all night. The term “fais do do” means “go to sleep,” and refers to the way Cajun mothers would traditionally try to shush the young babies they brought with them to the event, handing them to a grandmother or an older relative to put them to sleep in a nearby room so they could dance. At a fais do-do a Cajun band plays “chanky-chank” music, featuring a rollicking accordion, a vibrant fiddle and a triangle (a “ting-a-ling.”) Let’s do a Cajun dance together at this Fais do do at the Bayou Barn.


We all know the main instrumental attractions in Cajun music are the accordion and fiddle, but neither is nearly as fun to play, or to say! as the fiddlesticks. In this video from the documentary, “Les Blues De Balfa” fiddler Dewey Balfa fiddles while and his nephew Tony Balfa fiddlesticks.

Joe and Cleoma Play Cajun Music, Old-Style

By mid 1930s a large wave of English-speaking immigrants had come to French-speaking southwest Louisiana to work the oil fields. At the same time many Cajuns moved westward into Texas. This brought both British and Texan sounds to Cajun songs. To appreciate some of this old-style Cajun music, listen, in this video, to Joe Falcon and Cleoma Breaux perform “Osson.”

Dennis Magee at Sady Courville

Yesterday we learned about the orgins of Cajun music, following the Acadians from “New France” to Louisiana, where we pick up the tale. The Spanish eventually relinquished Louisiana to the French, who in 1803 sold it to Thomas Jefferson and the fledgling United States. Throughout all this nation-changing the Acadians, eventually known as the “Cajuns,” became farmers, manual laborers and pretty darned great fiddle and accordion players, fusing French-Acadian music with some Celtic infuences and letting it simmer in the bayou heat. In that context, let’s enjoy this video of Dennis McGee, who was of Irish, Cajun and Native American descent. His playing helped fuse Celtic influences into Acadian music. (The music starts at 1:35).

Down on the Bayou

All Around This World US and Canada "Everywhere Map"
This week, a tasty treat – we go down on the bayou to enjoy a truly international, truly North American form of music.

Cajun Music is a genre that developed in Louisiana but that has its firm roots in the Maritime provinces of Canada. In the 17th century a group of French settlers, hailing from all over France but primarily from urban areas, colonized the eastern part of the country we now call Canada–specifically today’s provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. At the time the land was called Acadia, which was part of “New France.”

In 1710 the British conquered Acadia. The British feared the Acadians in New France would rebel, and, in fact some did. From 1755-1764 the British used this threat as justification for “The Great Expulsion,” during which they brutally deported about 11,500 Acadians, sending most to France. An estimated third of deported Acadians died en route. Acadians who the British had deported to France yearned to return “the New World,” and many thousands did, taking advantage of an opportunity to settle in southwestern Louisiana. The Acadians became known in Louisiana as the “Cajuns.” Say “Acadian” like this — ah-cA-djun — and you’ll get it.

Over the course of this week we’ll enjoy Cajun songs, learn a cajun dance and place fantastic Cajun fiddlestick.

Such a Good Feeling to Know You’re Alive

One last musical visit with Native American tribes from the Southwestern United States to end the week. Athabaskan tribes such as the Navajo and the Apache sing their fast, percussion-heavy songs with vocals that are notably nasal (sort of like the tribes of the Plains, about whom we’ll learn below) and don’t have any accompanying harmony. Sometimes the Apache use the “Tsii’edo’a’tl” (meaning “wood that sings,”) which is known as “the Apache fiddle.”  In this video watch Mr. Rogers — yes, that Mr. Rogrrs — visit Tom O’Horgan — yes, that Tom O’Horan — and learn about his incredible collection of inigenous peoples’ instruments from around this world.

The Zuni Buffalo Dance

Native Americans in the Southwestern United States were making music using instruments such as turtle shell rattles, clay bells and clay flutes as early as the 7th century. After about the year 1000 Southwestern Native Americans assimilated an increasing number of Mexican and U.S./Mexican border instruments.

Pueblo songs–-music of the Zuni, whose “Buffalo Dance” we see in this video, and the Hopi, Pueblo tribes like the Taos Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo and San Ildefonso Pueblo–are among the most complex of all Native American songs due to their melodic and rhythmic trickiness.

Arapaho Boys

Music of the Plains tribes, such as the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Dakota, Crow and Comanche, who live/lived in the center of the North American continent, stretching from Texas all the way north into central Canada, features vocals with high, nasal pitches (often sung in falsetto), and songs with “incomplete repetition,” meaning songs divided into two parts, with the second part always repeated before the song starts again at the top.

Licka Ma Leg

Great Basin tribes, such as the Ute, Shoshoni and Painte, live/lived mainly in the U.S. Southwestern deserts of Utah and Nevada. Their music is relatively simple, with short and straightforward melodies placed within a small vocal range that are often repeated in pairs. In this video we hear Judy Trejo perfom a Paiute/Shoshone “circle dance” song, “Licka ma leg.”