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


BTS. (Yes, we go there.)

In our upcoming season of songs from East and Southeast Asia we may lean toward friendly folk songs of the occasionally-distant past but that doesn’t mean we have to disown the music of today. Okay, so BTS may not be our thing…but why not? Can’t just relax and appreciate the catchy melodies, the frenetic choreography…the many shades of hair? East Asian boy bands are all about spectacle. Watch this, or most any video of BTS, as an example. I know you’ won’t be able to look away.

Busting Borders with Japanese Jazz

People have been living in, and making wonderful music in, countries in East and Southeast Asia for thousands of years, cementing ancient traditions, generation too generation, over many centuries. Despite this adherence to tradition, musicians in this part of the world — like musicians absolutely everywhere — were always curious, always with ears open, always eager to share. Many ancient East and Southeast Asian genres formed by blending styles from beyond borders so seamlessly over time that even the most familiar musicologists can’t always tell here from there. Today this international embrace continues — Japenese jazz fusion, as we see in the video in this post, is just one of an almost infinite number of examples.

Korean National Treasure Kim Min-Ki

In class this season, as we always do, we’re going to pay particular attention to the power of music to inspire positive change. From the 1970’s through the early 199o’s Korean songwriter and playwright Kim Min-Ki wrote songs that inspired a generation of Korean activists to resist the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee and other Korean autocrats. The government censored and eventually banned Kim’s songs so he began to release them with the aid of vocalist Yang Hee-eum who sang many of his compositions and claimed authorship. Today all South Korea knows Kim’s art and is free to find power in his poetry.

In Concert…Carabao!

This season we’ll appreciate a wide range of East and Southeast Asian folk songs, from simple traditional children’s rhymes that resonate in rural areas to deeper, “dangerous” anti-authoritarian activist anthems. The Thai band Carabao is an example of a group that lives for the latter, blending acoustic folk — specifically Thai political “phleng peua chiwit” folk music — with Western rock. In this video enjoy the opening of a 2009 Carabao concert, big drum beats, raging guitar solos, ubiquitous bandanas and all.  

24 Festive Drums

This season as we learn about the music of East and Southeast Asia we’re going to enjoy so many drums. While drumming rhythms themselves aren’t the heart and soul of most music of the region as they are in other parts of the world like Africa, the Caribbean or Latin America, every nation has its own proud, powerful tradition of drumming. In this video we meet Malaysian drums — “24 Festive Drums” to be exact. Kudos to the kids who are continuing this Malaysian drumming traditinon.

Shamisen Girls!

In class this season we’re going to listen to music performed on so many East and Southeast Asian instruments, some of which we don’t hear very often in the West, like China’s suona , others that are becoming more familiar, and many that give us a bit of both. For example, the Japanese shamisen clearly reminds us of the guitar, but its sound and emotional feel land us firmly and formidably in East Asia. The “shamisen girls” from the Japanese duo Ki & Ki will show you what’s up.

Pinpeat of the Cambodian Court

In All Around This World classes we don’t get too technical about music, we generally just jump in. The “classical” music of many places can become exceptionally technical; there are specific techniques that musicians have practiced and perfected over hundreds of years, and one who knows them can truly appreciate the accomplishment of a musical performance. On the other hand, leaping into an unfamiliar form of music with little technical knowledge can be liberating. In this video, is this Cambodian Pinpeat orchestra a collection of virtuosic musicians performing at the top of the game, or are they just a bunch of enthusiasts playing in the park on a sunny afternoon? If you know Pinpeat you may have an opinion. All Around This World’s opinion? They rock.

On our Way to East and Southeast Asia

All Around This World East and Southeast Asia "Everywhere Map"
This week in our online class we start a new adventure — a three month, no holds barred tour of the many musics of East and Southeast Asia. Learning about Asia through music will be such a good time…HAI!

With the exception of some stunning forms like Japanese taiko, Chinese “thunder” drumming, and Korean pungmul gut, driving drum beats are not at the heart of East and Southeast Asian traditional music….Instead, most ancient East and Southeast Asian music, such as Japanese gagaku, Thai piphat and Indonesian gamelan, developed over hundreds if not thousands of years, primarily in the courts of powerful dynastic emperors, and rely primarily on gongs, cymbals, shakers and other kinds of light, mesmerizing percussion to accent the xylophones, strings and wind instruments that provide their melodies.

Let’s make it happen.

Yeeeeeeah! Ugandan Dance Party

Dance party! East African dance party, to be exact. This week in class we chant “Keenene,” a Ugandan song and story that empowers us and our little kids to demand to eat raspberries. The song appears in W. Moses Serwadda’s collection, “Songs and Stories from Uganda” embedded in a tale about how some village children accepted help from an unfamiliar animal named Baluba and he ultimately provided a feast for them, including a voluminous amount of raspberries, which they shared with their neighbors. The Ugandan song in this video has nothing to do with Beluba…but doesn’t it make you want to dance?

Preeti Saagar’s Boogie Woogie

Yesterday we the All Around This World version of “Diwali Aayee,” a song that celebrates the most popular holiday on the Indian Subcontinent. We first heard the song a CD “Hindi Nursery Rhymes” performed by Bollywood playback singer Preeti Sagar. In this video Preeti Sagar and her cast of young accomplices delight us with the “Boogie Woogie,” which we may know at the “Hokey Pokey.”