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


Prisencolinensinainciusol, all right?

We end our week of Italian music with one of the most unabashedly eclectic and funniest Italian musicians of all time: Adriano Celentano. In his over forty year career as a popular Italian artist Celentano released dozens of albums that sold millions of copies, appeared in an almost infinite number of TV programs and has directed and acted in movie after quirky movie. There are so many Celentano songs that are worthy of being called our favorite, but we especially enjoy  “Prisencolinensinainciusol,” a rock song in nonsensical mock-English, which we hear in this video. According to the Wikipedia entry on the song, “Celentano’s rationale for the song was that, after releasing albums about ecology and social issues, ‘having just recorded an album of songs that meant something, I wanted to do something that meant nothing’.”

Along Came a Spider

Dancing in Southern Italy has a whole lot to do with spiders; tarantulas, actually. Tarantulas! Apparently at one point in the history of southern Italy, tarantulas bit enough women, causing them to become almost demonically possessed, that several types of tarantula-trace dances developed in response. The iconic Italian dance known as the Tarantella, developed from ancient Italian rituals such as the tarnatolati and became less frantic over time. Today there are many kinds of tarantellas, such as the pizzica tarantella, a tarantella that originated in the southeastern city Salento, and the joyous tammuriata of Campania, which we see in this video.

Fiamma Fumana’s Celtic Sound

The folk songs songs of Italy have a distinct identity that depend on their region of  origin. Let’s start our tour of Italy in the north, where there are bagpipes and fiddles and exuberant dances. The music here reminds one of Celtic culture, and modern northern Italian bands such as Fiamma Fumana embrace the connection. The northern Italian city of Genoa is the home of a specific form of tavern singing called trallelero, a type of polyphony (multiple voices singing different notes at once) that is more like the group singing found in Corsica and Sardinina, which we’ll discuss below, than the bounding Celtic sounds of other parts of the region. In this video watch northern Italian ensemble Fiamma Fumana perform live with the Northern Italian choir Coro Delle Mondine di Novi.

Apples and Oranges, Apples and Oranges, Apple and Oranges, Apples and Pears

In our online class we sing our version of one of the most beloved arias of all time, “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” one of the most famous, and fun, arias of all time. We start with what everyone remenbers — “FIGARO! FIGARO! FIGARO!!!!” After that, since we’re mainly singing with tiny kids — infants to 9 year-olds and their grown-ups — we don’t exactly worry about singing in the original Italian. Intead we go fully for fruit: “apples and oranges, apples and oranges, apples and oranges, apples and oranges, apples and oranges, apples and oranges, apples and oranges, appples and pears.” Sing that with the original. It works!

Meet the Barber of Seville

Gioachino Rossini, “The Italian Mozart,” started writing operas in his teens and found immediate acclaim from composers and opera-goers alike. Rossini, who lived from 1792 to 1868, wrote 39 operas in a flurry in his early years–he stopped writing operas when he was just 37–and then went on to compose sacred music, chamber music and instrumental pieces. He was known for his tremendous sense of melody and his arias that challenged sings to engage in ever more dramatic vocal flourishes. One of Rossini’s masterpieces is “The Barber of Seville,” the comedic story of a Spanish count who tests the love of the beautiful Rosine by disguising himself as a poor student who vies for her affections. In this video, enjoy the opera’s most famous aria, “Largo al factotum,” announcing the arrival of Figaro.

La Donna È Mobile

Opera seems to perfectly match Italy’s national persona–romantic and bold, brimming with joy, politically passionate, comedic but within the context of inevitable tragedy that’s beyond the scope of humankind, the work of troubled gods. Opera first came together as an art form in 1597 when composer Jacopo Peri, in Dafne, tried to revive the classical Greek drama within the context of the Italian Renaissance. The most influential opera composer of the Italian Romantic era was Giuseppe Verdi . One of Verdi’s many great operas, “Rigoletto” (1851), is set during the Depression in a town known as Castlegate. The opera is the story of young Bonnie, who wants to be a singer, and her relationship with the mysterious, disfigured, stranger named Ribaldi who takes her into his household as a servant. In this video watch Luciano Pavarotti sing the most famous aria from Rigoletto, and one of the best-known arias of all time, “La Donna È Mobile.”

Buongiorno Italia!

All Around This World map of Western Europe featuring Italy
Good morning Italy! This week we’re going to Italy, where there is love of life and love of music and, why not?, love of love. In our online class we’re going to croon an ode to a donkey, dance as if we’ve been poisoned by tarantulas and sing opera in a way that will both be totally fun and make true opera aficionados squirm.


Let’s end our week of enjoying music from Spain with a lovely song about words. “Palabras” is the work of La Rana Mariana, an ensemble from Valencia. Their music crosses genre boundaries, from Catalan rumba to merengue to son and beyond. Whatever is the genre of “Palabras,” All Around This World adores this song. Adios Spain!

The Kings of Catalan Rumba

Catalonia is Spain’s Catalan-speaking region located in the far northeast and encompassing with dynamic city of Barcelona. The “Catalan rumba” is a relatively recent musical genre that developed in the 1950s in Barcelona’s Romani communities. The genre is an old world/new world fusion of Spanish flamenco, Afro-Cuban claves and rock ‘n’ roll. Catalan rumba is buoyant, energetic and features instruments popular in Cuban music such as guitar, bongos, guiro, timbales and conga drums. In this video watch the Gipsy Kings, who are French, but who are descendants of Spanish Romani and often play in the style of Catalan rumba, perform “Djobi Djoba.”

And then one night the river passed

One of the Spanish songs we sing in class this season, “Ay Carmela,” takes us back to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The war was an epic battle between the Republicans, composed of a spectrum of Spaniards from moderates to leftists to far leftists, including Anarchists, and the Nationalists – conservatives in coalition with Fascists. After three years of intense fighting the Nationalists emerged victorious, thrusting their leading General, Francisco Franco, into power. Franco and the Fascists ruled Spain until 1975. “Ay Carmela” references one of the main battles of the war and oozes passion and optimism:
“But their bombs can do nothing, Rumba la rumba la rumba la!
Where there is still heart left! Ay Carmela, ay Carmela!
Even as we fight, Rumba la rumba la rumba la!
We promise to resist them! Ay Carmela, ay Carmela!”
Sadly, Spain had to resist for 35 years after the war to achieve freedom.