All Around This World class in action

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  dynamic online classes,  CDs, concerts and workshopsengaging 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


Mahala Rai Banda — Romanian Folk gets a Balkan Beat

Taraf de Haidouks may be where it’s at, but Mahala Rai Banda is no slouch!

Mahala Rai Banda, formed by violinist Aurel Ionita who is a related to members of Taraf de Haïdouks — the best of the best Romanian Romani bands — takes the music a step toward international funk. As you’ll no doubt enjoy in in this video, the rollicking Romani ensemble from Bucharest combines violins and accordions and a rousing rhythm section with an army brass band from the village Zece Prajin.

Our favorite “brigands”– Taraf de Haidouks

In All Around This World’s opinion, there is no more astounding Romani band than Taraf de Haidouks — Band of Brigands!

Traditional music from Romania generally falls into two broad categories — Transylvanian music, from the Hungarian-dominated northwest, and, across the Carpathian mountains that run through Romania, the Balkan-oriented, Turkish-dominated east. Our favorite band of Romanian Roma musicians is Taraf de Haidouks (Band of Brigands!) is based in Clejani, a village outside of Bucharest, in Romania’s southeast. (This video will help you see what we mean.) They’re Turkish/Arabic/Eastern influence, and their unabashed awesomeness, abounds.

Rah Rah for Romania

All Around This World Eastern Europe map featuring Romania
This week in our online class for kids we journeyed to Romania, a culturally and historically rich nation located in Southeastern Europe. In the Middle Ages there were three Romanian principalities, one of which was Transylvania, home of brutal 15th century leader “Vlad the Impaler,” inspiration for the fictional Count Dracula. The Ottoman Turks conquered Romania in 1541. Romanians rebelled several times and earned their independence, albeit more than 300 years later. In 1881 Romania even brought back its monarchy and crowned a new king — all hail King Carol I! In World War I Romania sided with the victorious Allies and was able to take back a lot of its long-lost land, including Transylvania. This ushered in the short-lived age of “Romania Mare” — “GREAT ROMANIA.”  During World War II little was “great” in Romania; hundreds of thousands of Romanians perished in battle. After World War II the Soviets occupied, the Romanian Communist Party came strongly to power and struggles abounded. Since the USSR fell, Romania has inched slowly toward health and stability. Verrrry slowly.

We celebrate this slow Romanian revival by singing dancing really quickly. You’ll enjoy the upcoming week’s exploration of Romanian bands and dances.


Jay teaching Livecast classes


When you click the link below you’ll be able to put an event reminder on a Google Calendar. If you’d like to come to class in Zoom, CONTACT ME FOR THE LOGIN INFO. Ideally we’ll communicate before the day of class, but I do try to check my messages before my first class each day.

All times are U.S. Eastern Time, UTC-5. Registration and tuition details are here.


10am: “Kids Explore Eastern Europe” — Bulgaria

If you can’t log in, watch via Facebook Live on All Around This World’s facebook page.

If you’d like to come to class on a regular basis and get lots of information each week about the countries and cultures we’re exploring, REGISTER HERE.

To enroll in amazing online courses that take your family on a musical tour of the world: EXPLORE EVERYWHERE!

We visit Bulgaria…and SING!

Enjoy this week’s live class! If you want to join the fun, check out the livecast class schedule and contact me to be “in the room” on Zoom. If you can’t make it to Zoom, watch live classes, or watch anytime, on All Around This World’s facebook page. This week in class we sang “Kalinka,” “We Are Happy,” “Dilmano Dilbero,” “May You All Prosper,” “Az Der Rebbe” and “Nigun Simcho.” We also learned a little about additive rhythms and danced the Cadaneasca.

Dancing the Csárdás in 1975

We end our week in Hungary with the iconic national folk dance — the Hungarian Csárdás.

The Hungarian Csárdás originated with the 18th century verbunkos, dances that were most often done as a form of recruitment for the military. The dance usually starts off slowly –a section called lassú–and ends very quickly with a section known as friss (“fresh”). Both men and women dance this so-called “Tango of the East,” though tradition dictates that only women wear a traditional red skirt that twirls as they dance. In class we try the Csárdás, though there’s no way we can do it as fantastically as the folks from Hungary do in this video. Woo-hoo 1975!

Makam is the Best of Budapest

All Around This World loves music that fuses sounds from many cultures — this Hungarian band does not disappoint.

With such so many centuries of contact with empires both East and West, Hungary is an ideal place to engage in musical “world fusion.”  For example, when the Turks arrived in the 15th century and conquered part of Hungary they brought sounds from the East, as well as Roma people who came with their own unique music. Makám, which you’ll see in this video, is a Hungarian band founded by prolific progressive folk musician Zoltán Krulik. The band plays Central European traditional songs but demonstrates influences from Asia, Africa and the Balkans.

Bravo for Besh O DroM!

We kick off our week in Hungary with one of our very favorite Eastern European bands — Besh O DroM.
Besh O DroM is a Budapest-based multifaceted, multi-talented 10 piece “electro-acoustic collective” that draws on traditional music from all over the world — “Transylvanian, Jewish, Afghan, Egyptian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Greekz,” as they say on their website — to create a rambunctious blend of old and new. The band’s  comes from the Lovari language, meaning, “ride the road.” Or, with a more creative translation, “follow your path, get on with it.” This video will definitely confince you to follow the B-O-D path.

Merry about Magyars, Happy about Hungary

All Around This World map of Eastern Europe featuring Hungary
This week in our online class we visited Hungary, land of the ancient Magyars who settled in the Carpathian Basin way back in 895 A.D., well before the founding of Germany, France or England. Along the way there were Turks, Austrian Hapsburgs, Russians and more, but through the ages the Hungarian nation endured. This may have something to do with the unique Hungarian language, distinct from the Slavic languages of its neighbors. Being the only ones to speak a language may isolate your nation from potential allies, but it can also unify it in the face of enemies. Today we say a hardy jó napot and embark on a week of Hungarian unity.

We visit Hungary…and SING!

Enjoy this week’s live class! If you want to join the fun, check out the livecast class schedule and contact me to be “in the room” on Zoom. If you can’t make it to Zoom, watch live classes, or watch anytime, on All Around This World’s facebook page. This week in class we sang “We Are Happy,” “Tureja Liepa,” “Little Rabbit,” “Ketri Ketri” and “Shepherd’s Live Az Elet,”  We also learned a little about the Hungarian Csardas — “the Tango of the East.”