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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All Around This World’s Summer 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,


Fiji Strings Us Along

The term “Melanesian music,” used in the broadest sense, covers a wide range of traditional styles ranging from the multiple genres of tribal songs found in Papua New Guinean singsings to Australia’s Aboriginal didgeridoo drones, from Solomon Islanders’ polyphonic pan pipes to Fijian lali drumming. Melanesians have long used a variety of slit-log gongs, flutes and bamboo pipes in their music but only recently, with the arrival of the Europeans, have they added stringed instruments like guitars and ukeleles into the mix. For example, Fijian music blends Melanesian and Polynesian forms and embraces multi-part harmony. Fijian string bands, like the Shefa boys seen rehearsing in this video, are groups of three or more performers playing guitar/ukelele/mandolin and singing in sweet multi-part harmony.

Greetings Malaysia from Fiji

“Bula Maleya” may well be Fiji’s favorite song. It originated with Fijian soldiers who fought, as members of the British Commonwealth, in the British military campaign to fight the Japanese in Malaysia (then Maleya) during World War II. During the battles Fijian and Malayan soldiers became friendly and wrote this song to mark their cooperation.

Fijians have adopted “Bula Maleya” as a welcome song, singing it readily to greet tourists arriving on the islands. There are a several versions of the song, some more bawdy than another, but FijiIslands.com translates the song in a way we and the kids in our classes can sing it: “Greetings Malaya and Fiji also, All the young men are very strong, Talking to the sea, gives me happiness, Hello, hello everyone. Remember Fiji, a small country, With a will to move forward, Fiji will grow to be famous, For Malaya to be known in the world, We found each other again, We will celebrate gloriously, We patriotically declare, The name of Fiji for the honour of the Queen.”

We Meet Fiji

All Around This World -- Fiji

This week in our online class for kids we visit the Melanesian nation of Fiji.. There is disagreement among historians and archaeologists as to exactly when humans came to Fiji, though the general consensus is that people had arrived in the islands by about 1,500 B.C. There is agreement that two distinct groups settled Fiji; Melanesians, dark-skinned settlers who arrived in Fiji by way of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, and lighter-skinned Lapita people, skilled navigators and fishers from New Caledonia who had originated in Southeast Asia’s Malay Peninsula. Later, the Lapita people left Fiji for islands further east, seeding the Polynesian islands like Tonga and Samoa. This left Fiji primarily to the Melanesians.

Whoever settled the place and when, today most Fijians live on the two main islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu; because Viti Levu’s interior is rugged most Fijians who call the island home live in the surprisingly urban Suva.

The Paramana Strangers

Much of the music of Papua New Guinea has developed as a hybrid of indigenous, Melanesian, Polynesian, European and East Asian influences. Since the early days of colonization Christian missionaries, gold miners and seafarers brought their own instruments and merged their songs with local music. For example, World War II-era American and Australian soldiers and sailors introduced guitars and ukuleles to PNG resulting in the development of a distinct PNG style of string band music. The Paramana Strangers is the most popular and enduring of PNG string bands, having formed in the 1960s and continued in generational incarnations–version II, as seen in this video, being the children of the original members, version III being their children–ever since.

Talking Tok Pisin

Papua New Guinea’s “Tok Pisin,” also known as Melanesian Pidgin English or Neo-Melanesian, began as a “pidgin/creole” language blending English, German, Malay, Portuguese and local “Austronesian” languages and has transformed into a developing language in its own right. Like most “pidgins,” Tok Pisin developed in the colonial era as a mix of the colonizer’s language (in PNG’s case, English) and local dialects (in Tok Pisin’s case, primarily the local language of Tolai). Linguists disagree about whether its grammatical structure is based upon that of specific local languages or if it only developed when the first generations of speakers, those children who grew up speaking Tok Pisin rather than the more complex originating languages of English or the local tongues, imposed some sort of “default grammar humans are born with” (as Wikipedia’s entry on Tok Pisin puts it) to the language their parents had taught them.

PNG Speaks 800 Languages

Being multilingual is the norm for Papua New Guinea; the nation boasts over 800 indigenous languages. Unlike its neighbor Australia, with its dry, open landscape British colonizers committed to tame, PNG has ample rain which feeds ample, dense rainforests that amply intimidated German, British and eventually Australian colonial forces into staying put along the coast. This enabled Papuan villagers to maintain their cultural customs, including their languages. Though many languages of Papua New Guinea continue to be highly local, claim less than 1000 native speakers and are in near threat of extinction, a good number are still viable and active.


Wahe wahe romana koli we wahe

“Waitpela Gras” is song by Papua New Guinea’s treasured singer George Telek, on his excellent Real World Recods release “Serious Tam.” It’s a lighthearted song that references happy times — the fun feel of banana peels, grandma’s white hair, a mother’s love. Telek hails from the village of Raluana in PNG’s East New Britain. He often records in the Tolai language of Kuanuan, though “Waitpela Gras” is in Tok Pisin, the nation’s widely-spoken pidgin/English hybrid.

Telek Sings for the Freedom of West Papua

During the 1990’s Papua New Guinea’s locally beloved singer/songwrtier George Telek became an international star when he seamlessly blended rock, reggae, stringband music and indigenous Papuan three-part harmonies on the album “Serious Tam,” released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Telek hails from the Tolai village of Raluana, near the city of Rabaul in East New Britain and sings both in Tok Pisin and the Tolai language of Kuanuan. He started his musical career in the ’70s, playing in popular stringbands such as The Moab Stringband and The Jolly Roger Stringband before joining The Kagan Devils, The Unbelievers Revival Band and eventually the rock group Painim Wok (“looking for work”) which was PNG’s biggest rock band in the 80’s. His collaboration with Australian musician David Bridie broke new ground by fusing Papua New Guinean and Australian sounds. In this video we hear him singing a song promoting the freedom of West Papua, a province of Indonesia that shares the same island as PNG.

Singing, and Singinsinging, in Papua New Guinea

“Singsing” is the Tok Pisin term for the elaborate festivals held all over Papua New Guinea that feature theatrically choreographed dance and vocal performances by PNG villagers. Each of the many performing/competing groups comes to a Papuan singsing to represent its own village’s unique songs, dances, language and culture. The costumes and makeup are extensive, the harmonies are complex and the competition is intense. While in a sense the most popular singsings, like the one in Mt. Hagen featured in this video, are events sculpted for tourists, and while the truth is that most PNG villagers wear Western clothes and don’t paint their faces when they live day to day, Papua New Guineans value singsings as a time to revel in the beauty of their local cultures.