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


Would Cuba Still Be Cuba Without Castro? YES!

All Around This World map of the Caribbean featuring Cuba

Castro.  Castro.  Castro Castro Castro.  Americans who know nothing about Cuba but the fact that it’s an island somewhere off the coast of Cuba all know Castro.  The life and deeds of Fidel Castro have defined Cuba’s relationship to the world since he and a small band of revolutionaries overthrew the island’s U.S.-supported government in 1958.  But of course there’s more to Cuba than even the most iconic leader. This week in our online class for kids we dabble in Cuban music, culture and even learn about a globally fused African-inspired religion. What are we waiting for? Let’s go!

Redemption Song Live

Can we possibly visit the Caribbean for three months of our online classes and sweep past the enormous contribution to the world made by Jamaian legend Bab Marley? No way! In this video we enjoy a live performance of “Redemption Song,” which is as close to perfect as a song can get.

Queen Celia of Salsa

The beloved “Queen of Salsa,” Celiz Cruz, was one of 14 siblings born in a small village near Havana, Cuba. In her childhood she sang for tourists, in school and community productions, and for her younger siblings to help them go to sleep. She attended Cuba’s Conservatory of Music and rose in prominence as a vocalist who sang with bigger and bigger Latin bands. She eventually rose above the bands and became an international superstar of her own. In this video we see her at the top of her game, performing in Africa with the Fania All Stars.

Loi Loo Lo Lo Lo Lo Lo…FREEZE!

We don’t need complicated lyrics to feel great singing this Caribbean. “Loi loo” isn’t a song on its own but a phrase of “vocables” — syllables that don’t have any defined meaning — tucked into one of the many songs on the extraordinary box set, Alan Lomax in Haiti.. We share our version in this video, and add a special bonus introduction to Haiti’s ancestry day. Now FREEZE!

Hundreds of Steel Pan Drummers Playing at the Same Time is a Good Thing, Right?

After the “Canboulay Riots” in the early 1880s in which Trinidadian and Tobagoan descendants of slaves protested colonial leaders’ attempts to restrict the celebration of Carnival, British authorities banned stick-fighting and African percussion music. In 1937 they also banned the banging together of bamboo sticks.  Trinidadians responded by using anything and everything else as percussion instruments — frying pans, dustbin lids and oil drums.ÂThis developed into the modern genre of “steelpan,” which we see (in multiples) in this video, whose primary percussion instrument is the interior of a tuned steel drum.

Tito Puente Rocks the Schoolyard

In the 1950s and ’60s American dancehall bands, which had for decades mainly performed dances and compositions that originated in the U.S., began to actively communicate with Latin musicians and add Latin dances like the mambo, samba and cha-cha-cha to their repertoires. Bebop band leaders like Dizzy Gillespie also wove Latin elements into their music, and in turn American jazz began to appear all over Latin America, fusing with Latin rhythms to become “Latin Jazz.” Latin jazz was syncopated like American jazz but didn’t emphasize the same beats, giving the music a different feel. Cuban and Cuban-American bandleaders like Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’ivera and Tito Puente, became especially popular in the U.S. Watch this old-school video of Tito Puente and you’ll see why.

Join me, and this Video, for a tour of Afro-Caribbean Drumming and Dance

The most revered in Caribbean musicians are known for acknowledging, and advancing, the “New World” fusion of European and African music. While ample Caribbean genres bond the musical legacy of Africa with that of European countries like France, England and Spain, other genres of Caribbean music do seem to directly channel the African soul through glorious, driving beats. Take time to enjoy this video tour of African-inspired Caribbean drumming and dance to see it in action.


And so we go to the Islands

All Around This World Caribbean "Everywhere Map"

This week in our online class we begin our next grand adventure — a three month tour of the magnificent musics and celebratory cultures of the Caribbean. All Around This World’s Caribbean season of songs celebrates global music in all its joyful, rhythmic and multi-cultural glory, featuring songs about love and rum-running and goats, a Haitian tune about a frog one-upping a horse, a beautiful Bhojpuri lullaby and dance grooves from Puerto Rican plena to Jamaican ska.

Who Taught Those Animals French?

Yesterday we met “Ah Ca Ira,” a confident, quite confrontational song from the days of the French Revolution. Our version draws the tale of America Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, answering a question about what he thinks will ultimately happen in France despite its Revolutionary Era chaos. Franklin supposedly answered, “Ah! Ca Ira”” — essentially, “everything will be fine.” We don’t know if that story is true, but we can be almost 100% sure he never sang this song using the sounds of French animals.
See you in class in the upcoming week as we embark on a new three month adenture.

Edith Piaf Says Everything Will Work Out

In class this week we take swing-out to France, where we storm the Bastille with a song in our heart. That song is “Ah Ca Ira,” the anthem of the Women’s March on Versailles, a core event of the French Revolution. In this video Edith Piaf sings a very rousing version, the translation of which is much more confrontational than ours. Get into the revolutionary mood today; tomorrow we’ll sing the same song, but much sillier, and with animals.