All Around This World is an interactive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program for children 0-9 years old that encourages kids 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  dynamic online classes,  CDs, concerts and workshopsengaging homeschool and classroom lessons, “musical maps” and participatory parent-child music-making Jay, and All Around This World’s expanding community of “culture-bearers,” hope to make the world a bit smaller one song at a time.

* Nice note: All of the pictures of culture-bearers in the image accompanying this post are screenshots from actual All Around This World teaching videos.

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

April is in my Mistress’ face

Let British madrigals answer the essential question — which month is your mistress’ face?
In the earliest days of England, musicians learned from and taught bards and troubadours from other nations. In the 16th century though, the Protestant Reformation separated English Protestants from continental Catholic Church, leading to less musical interchange between the British Islands and the rest of Europe. In this era, which coincided with the Renaissance (roughly from the 14th to the 17th centuries), British composers were developed their own music…like MADRIGALS! Do you like madrigals? Of course you do. And if you do, you’ll love “April is My Mistress’ Face.”

Making Very Merry in England

All Around This World map of Western Europe featuring England

We start our Western European exploration in earnest with a musical journey to England. There are very few countries in the world, if any, that have served as the point of origin of more world-changing music than England. We can take a step back and ask ourselves why English-language music and culture dominates the global culture as it has, why songs written with English lyrics and “Western” rhythms have a disproportionate sway over, let’s say, music from China or even the Middle East where billions of people have lived and made music for thousands of years, but those questions are probably beyond our current scope. Instead, let’s stay oblivious, putting that kind of broad questioning aside to marvel at the sheer volume of musical genres that have originated in, and/or developed in, England…wow.

That’s How it Goes

The Adelaide Village Band does “oom-pah” right….

Oom-pah is a form of brass band music popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and around Eastern Europe, though it is most widely identified with the folk music of Bavaria, a state located in southeastern Germany that borders Austria and Switzerland and encompasses many picturesque Alps. The term “oom-pah” simulates the prevailing sound of “oom-pah” songs–a tuba plays the “oom,” and instruments with a higher pitch, like clarinets, accordions or trombones, play the “pah.” Enjoy some inspired “oom-pah” in this video of “Oom Pah Chaos” performed by Australia’s Adelaide Village Band. The Government of South Australia Department of the Premier and Cabinet Arts and Culture page has described them as: “The only Latvian brass band in the world outside Latvia and the most genuine Oom-Pah band in Australia.”

Take me to the River

We’re so excited to sing songs and do dances from Western Europe this season, so LET’S DIVE IN with RIVERDANCE!
The Irish dancing phenomenon Riverdance is a phenomenon because, well, watch this video — it really is phenomenal. “Irish dancing” is a broad term that covers a variety of dances from all over the “Emerald Isle,” many of which developed as a mix of French quadrille and English country dances. Riverdance rivets us with Irish step dancing, which thrills us with a combination of precision and exuberance. Oh yes, we start here.

From Spain to Sweden, Greenland to Greece

All Around This World Western Europe "Everywhere Map"

Welcome! This the first day of the first week of the next amazing season of All Around This World’s online class. Today we start our journey Western Europe and the Nordic Countries, a region of the world that has the distinction of being home to the most popular music-makers of all time, from the almost super-human classical composers Beethoven, Bach and Mozart to the (arguably?) equally brilliant Lennon and McCartney. From Spain to Sweden, Greenland to Greece — yes, we’ll talk about why Greece counts for us as “West” —  we will clap our hands, stomp our feet and have one heckuva good time. Let’s go!


La Rana Mariana certinaly doesn’t sound froggy….

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 Spanish Irishman

Is Carlos Nuñez really a “Spanish Irishman?”

The music of Spain varies from region to region, from community to community, probably even from neighborhood to neighborhood. In Galicia, in Spain’s far northeast, where the Celts ruled for centuries until the Romans supplanted them in 19 B.C. Galician music still retains a Celtic character and features the gaita, which is similar to Scottish bagpipes, the tamboril, which is a Celtic snare drum, and a Celtic flute known as the requinta Galega. Galica is home to the top-notch gaita player Carlos Nuñez, who you’ll see in this video celebrating his Galician-Celtic heritage and who is known, according to the biography on his website, as “The Seventh Chieftain” or, as this video describes him, “The Spanish Irishman.”

Bo Bo Bo Calinda

In our online classes this season we met the Trinidadian stick-fighting sport of Calinda. One of the songs we sing in our Caribbean season of songs, the Trinidadiaan folk song Bo Calinda, may possibly refer to this martial art, which, much like Brazilian capoeira, is always performed with musical accompaniment. It also could be a song about a beautiful girl — or a girl with a “beautiful mouth” — in Spanish, “boca linda.” Whatever the subject of the song, when we sing it in class we do the hokey pokey. CHEERS!

Limbo Lower Now

Limbo lower now…. How LOW can you GO?

This week we’re looking back on our last three months of Caribbean music and culture, catching some of what we couldn’t bear to miss. For example, limbo originated in Trinidad in the 1950s and quickly became the world’s favorite gimmicky party dance (Chubby Checker demands we all “limbo lower now.”) As in this video, dancers move around the room to Afro-Caribbean rhythms, leaning one by one in turn backward beneath a horizontal pole without touching it or the ground. The stick moves lower and lower until only one dancer who hasn’t touched it or the floor remains. But there’s more to the Limbo than just a fun game to play at the roller rink right before “all skate.” Says Wikipedia, “Consistent with certain African beliefs, the dance reflects the whole cycle of life….The dancers move under a pole that is gradually lowered from chest level, and they emerge on the other side, as their heads clear the pole, as in the triumph of life over death…This dance is also used as a funeral dance and may be related to the African legba or legua dance.” (Note: Very few funerals in the United States feature a limbo.)