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.

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Living the Hawaiian Dream

All Around This World -- Hawaii
This week in our online class we live the dream — let’s go “home” to Hawaii.

More than five hundred years ago Polynesian settlers from Tahiti are believed to have come to these unfathomably beautiful islands, bringing with them their complicated system of deities, their social hierarchy and their system of kapu (taboos) that helped regulate that society by separating positive actions from bad. Hawaiian culture developed proudly and creatively over the next several centuries, giving rise to the sacred dance known as hula and the sacred — to some — sport of surfing. In 1778 the British navigator James Cook landed in Hawaii — he called the islands the Sandwich Islands in honor of England’s Earl of Sandwich — and throughout the 19th century other world powers like the Russians, the French and eventually the Americans exerted influence. Immigrants from all over the world, especially East Asia, added to the islands’ multicultural mix.

Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state in 1959. While some Hawaiians still advocate for increased autonomy from the United States, others for complete independence, multicultural Hawaii seems like it will be part of the increasingly multicultural, modern U.S. for a long time to come.

Welcome to our Island Home, Share our Peace and Joy

We end our week in the Cook Islands by singing a Pacific welcome song. Let’s greet visitors to the awesome atoll of Manihiki with “Tipo Tipo” — “Welcome to our island home of coconuts and pearls, welcome to every mom and dad, and every boy and girl…..”

All Around This World’s Tour Photos ARE IN

All Around This World in Schrobenhausen Germany 2019All Around This World on tour at SIVO in the Netherlands, 2019All Around This World summer tour 2019 in Tulln AustriaAll Around This World on summer tour 2019All Around This World on summer tour 2019, on Rugen Island in Germany

We’re back! If you are following All Around This World on Instagram (@allaroundthisworld) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/allaroundthisworld) you know that my family and I were on a musical mission this summer, traveling to many countries in Europe over the course of about two months, both to give our kids the chance to meet a different part of the world and to foster international harmony by singing international songs. Over the course of the All Around This World/Sand Family summer tour 2019 we performed in a wide variety of venues, from an afterschool program in Bavaria to a delightful variety show at a town fair in northwestern Italy, from a bistro at the mouth of a cave near Trieste to a pedestrian street in a lovely town along Austria’s Danube, from a number of backyard and farmyard parties (with special thanks to Hamburg and BlissBeach) to the family activity area of the SIVO Cultural Dance and Music Festival in a “museum village” in the Netherlands. Most fascinating, and particularly eye-opening for the kids, were the concerts we played at facilities for families of refugees and asylum seekers in several countries like Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. At those shows we met families in almost every stage of the asylum/migration process and learned so much about the different ways European countries are relating to immigration — as one would imagine, vastly different from the U.S.

While we were abroad I took a few photos — um, about 10,000. There are a few ways to see the best: The 2019 summer tour page on the All Around This World website takes you through the tour and includes embedded videos of us performing. And here’s a Google photos slide show that has all of those pictures and more.

While the tour took a lot of energy and we are all very happy to be home, the adventure was also invigorating. We were all so inspired by the intensity of kindness extended to us time and again by so many people in so many places. Reminded us that there is still much good in the world. Professionally, the experiences I had singing with kids who spoke any number of languages and were engaged in any number of stages of the ground-shifting process of migrating from one part of the globe to another reinforced my belief that music beats the heck out of Esperanto as the universal language. While I’m humbled by the depth, breadth and essential effect of the work so many people we met in Europe are doing to better the world, I return with even more confidence in my mission to spread international understanding through shared joy as I do, and a renewed commitment to do more.

With joy,


An Astounding Atoll

One of the favorite songs in our season of music from Oceania and the Pacific Islands is a tune from the Cook Islands we call “Tipo Tipo,” a welcome song from Manihiki, a spectacular Pacific atoll. Manihiki’s atoll, which is essentially shaped like a triangle, is the top of a mountain that rises 13,000 feet from the ocean. Its primary industry is the cultivation of black pearls; the few tourists who visit can visit pearl farms in between stunning sessions of snorkeling or scuba diving. There is a small airport — a 3 1/2 hour flight from the nearest big island, the Cook Islands’ Rarotonga — but “Tipo Tipo” tells the tale of the one boat that would arrive weekly, bringing goods from other islands and, occasionally, visitors from distant lands. This video introduces us to Manihiki. Tomorrow we’ll sing.

We Immerse Ourselves in ‘Imene Tuki

‘Imene tuki are a heavenly hybrid, songs that infuse Church hymns with cascading multi-part harmonies and elements of pre-colonization chants that capture the musical spirit of the Cook Islands. We introduce kids in our online classes we do so with enthusiasm, humor and, if we can manage, confident Polynesian flair.

Many Kinds of ‘Imene

Cook Islanders express their culture exuberantly, especially when they sing ‘imene, a genre of music that not only covers contemporary songs, like Cook islands string bands, but also traditional music, like ‘imene reo metua — songs that Protestant missionaries brought to the islands in the 1800s — and Ute, celebratory songs that are essential to Cook Islanders’ social gatherings. Tomorrow we’ll meet one more kind of ‘imene: “‘Imene tuki!”

Taking Action in the Cook Islands

The music of the Cook Islands is rhythmic, harmonious and lively. Drumming forms the foundation of traditional music and dance from the Cook Islands, for example, in “action songs” in which drumming sets the tempos and ukuleles and guitars play the melody. Many of the popular drums in Polynesia such as the Pate and the Tokere may have originated in the Cook Islands, though they arrived in French Polynesia in the early 1900s and have since become identified with Tahiti.

Kia Orana Day

Yesterday we began a wonderous week of wanderings in the Cook Islands. Let’s start by celebrating Cook Islands culture. In other words, Happy Kia Orana Day!

Though each of the Cook Islands has its own unique shades of culture, a common strain running among them is a social organization based on chiefs, families (clan) and a lack of individuality as opposed to integration with the village or family group. The chiefdom primarily passed along the male bloodline, while land rights passed down the mother’s line. Among other duties such as leading the village in war, chiefs were responsible for the all-important sharing of food and giving of gifts; the greatest chiefs threw the best parties. Www.ck also suggests Cook Islands society has a Greek-style “heroic” strain, meaning that in the islands a man would acquire power by developing a reputation of having accomplished admirable deeds.

A Hundred Square Miles of Land in 700,000 Square Miles of Ocean

All Around This World -- Cook Islands
This week in our online class we visit the Cook Islands, a group of fifteen Polynesian volcanic islands and atolls — 93 square miles of land spread widely over 690,000 square miles of ocean. According to the history page of www.ck, “Cook Islanders are true Polynesians, the finest seafarers of the vast Pacific, voyagers on frail canoes who felt at home on the ocean and who traveled across its huge wastes in search of new lands and new beginnings.” The first record of these “true Polynesians” appearing on the Cook Islands came from about the years 600 to 800 A.D. when settlers are believed to have migrated from other Polynesian islands such as Tahiti, Samoa and Tonga.

The islands, which exist as a self-governing democracy, even as they are considered to be “in free association” with New Zealand., exist two distinct groups. The Southern Cook Islands, which include the most populous island, Rarotonga. Actually the largest population of Cook Islanders is not in Rarotonga, or anywhere in the islands themselves, but in New Zealand. In 2006 about 14,000 people lived on Rarotonga. In 2006, 58,000 in New Zealand self-identified as being of Cook Island descent.


Tahiti’s Terrific Toa’Ura

We end our week enjoying Tahitian music and dance with by meeting Toa’Ura (“Red Warriors,”) a multifaceted Tahitian ensemble that fuses traditional Polynesian percussion and melodies with contemporary Western instruments and song structures. To get a sense of how this works -–and it works very well — you can watch many Toa’Ura videos on YouTube, such as in this video from a live performance, dancers and all. Cheers!