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


We Visit the Uighurs

All Around This World map of South and Central Asia featuring Uighur region

This week in our online class we visit a number of Central Asian peoples, dabbling in Kazakh and Kyrgyz customs while focusing attention on the Uighur people who mainly live in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in Northwestern China, which many Uighurs who are eager for political independence from China refer to as “East Turkestan.” Over the last few years the movement for an independent East Turkestan has received international press due to increasingly intense clashes between the Uighurs and the Chinese government. The Chinese government has sought international support for its controversial effort to stop the Uighur separatists and refers to them as “terrorists.” Of course the Uighur people are more than a political independence movement; Uighur culture is as ancient and rich as Uyghur history. In music class we largely dispense with the politics and SING! 

Yat Kha takes us to a Tuvan Gadda Da Vida

We end our short but very sweet tour of Tuva with one of our favorite things ever. In this video Tuvan punk band Yat Kha performs the heck out of the Iron Butterfly song “In a Gadda Da Vida,” throat singing and all. It’s East meets West meets awesome.

See you next week in our online class for a visit to Xinjian.

Once upon a time, at the beginning of the beginning . . .

“Once upon a time, at the beginning of the beginning, behind the past, when the horns of the bull used to break off and fall, that’s the time when it happened, so they say…” So begins the Tuvan epic tale of the camel, as told gloriously by Dabgy Salchak-oolovna Bolat, in Tuva’s Kyzyl-Dag village. Why does a camel go so long without drinking? Why does the deer shed its horns? To find out read the translation in the video’s comment section, courtesy of Enduring Voices an awe-inspiring project to maintain the world’s linguistic heritage.

My Chadagan

Yesterday we met the Tuvan zither called the chadagan. All Around This World’s song “Chadagan” re-imagines a traditional Tuvan love song we first heard on the Smithsonian Folkways recording, “Musics of the Soviet Union,” listed as “Song from Khomeizhi.” You can sing along with the original version — “Chadaganym Khöömejimni kagbazy Khönü chitpes chadaganym Khölchüng kara urug-bile Khöörezhiir chadaganym . . .” — or start with ours.

The Sweet Sound of the Chadagan

A chadagan is a Tuvan multi-stringed instrument, a bright and luscious “plucked zither.” Who created the chadagan and why? According to this Tuvan legend, the instrument’s beginning had something to do with an old musician, a hungry baby, and one very generous nine year-old sheep. As you read the tall tale listen to Gendos Chamzyryn performing the Tuvan song “Manchurek” on a chadagan.

Late Night Meets Ondar

Tuvan throat singing master Kongar-ool Ondar was one of the Tuvan throat singers who made international waves before his abrupt passing in 2013. Here he is making friends around the world on late night TV.

Say Hello to Huun Huur Tu

In traditional Tuvan culture, making music is more than just a frolic; it’s a way to connect with nature. Tuvans simulate the sounds of the wide open plains with throat singing (“overtone singing”), a form of vocalizing in which a singer can make multiple tones at once, high and low. In this video we meet one of our favorite Tuvan throat singing ensembles, Huun Huur Tu.

Tuva is Tremendous

All Around This World South and Central Asia map featuring Tuva

This week in our online class we travel far far FAR away to Tuva. Officially known as the “Tyva Republic,” Tuva s a geographically and, until recently, culturally isolated semi-autonomous part of Russia located in south-central Siberia. The Tuvan people are of Mongol heritage and have traditionally been independent, yurt-dwelling goat, sheep and cow herders (and reindeer!), but since the 19th century when Russians began to settle there, Russian and China fought for control of Tuvan land. When the USSR collapsed in the early ’90s Tuva remained part of Russia, but Tuvans have become much more independent to follow their Buddhist, Tibetan Lamaist and Siberian shamanist religions, pursue the national cultural pasttime — THROAT SINGING! — and make many friends around the world.

This Kyrgyz video is THE FUTURE

We end our week of musical explorations in Kyrgyzstan with the future. Kyrgyzstan may be geographically distant from western nations that generate most of the world’s most popular music, but today human beings are only as far away from all others as their iPhone. Generations of “distant” musicians are growing up with instant access to everything, and they are going to amaze and enlighten us with the international cross-pollination of culture that results. As in this video, that means Kygryz musicians will now forever have the chance to fall in love with global pop music, Latin dance and all the super-fun features of their new video effects program.

Next week we see this principle in action as we visit the Russian republic of Tuva.

Kyrgyz dance

Kyrgyz folk dancing can be delightful — colorfully-dressed dancers spin in circles, flowing with eager grace, the embodiment of a twirling wind on the Central Asian plains. Below we meet a revival of a very different dance known as the Kara Jorgo, or the “Black Stallion,” which is equally connected to traditional Kyrgyz life.

(Happen to be on a trip in Bishkek with a hankering to salsa dance? YOU CAN!)