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


Danish pop back to Jorgan Igmann

Today Danes certainly know how to rock, or at least how to pop. Danish pop stars like THOMAS HELMIG and MEDINA have become popular throughout Europe. (Watch Thomas Helmig perform “Nu hvor du har brændt mig af.” Watch Media perform “Ensom” and “For Altid” unplugged.) Denmark is also a strong competitor in the Eurovision continent-wide song contest, and it has even won the main prize twice–in 1963, with Grethe and Jørgen Ignmann’s “Dansevise” in 1963 and in 2000 with the Olsen Brothers’ much less groovy English-language “Fly on the Wings of Love.”

Saying Goodbye to Europe (but not in the “Brexit” sort of way)

All Around This World Western Europe "Everywhere Map"

We got there! Over the last three months you, your kids and I, together, have traveled from one end of Western Europe to the other, making music with everyone from Greenlandic poets to Spanish anti-Fascists, from headbanging Germans to seafaring French, from soul-searching Greeks to frolicking Swedes. Along the way we were bitten by poisonous spiders, toppled the French monarchy, made fun of our friends in ancient Maltese and ate really stinky fish. We may have jumped into this season thinking we knew a lot about European music, but then we realized that what we really knew was just a couple songs by the Rolling Stones. We never realized the depth and diversity of European music and the so many things the so many musical styles say about the so many fascinating groups of people there.

This week we’ll bounce around the region just a bit more, singing songs from here and there, remembering, fondly, our days in Europe’s west.

Going Where the Chilly Winds Blow

Ice fishing is a pastime (a recreational activity? a sport? a way of life!) that faces nature’s challenges head on and says, boldly, “cold? BAH with cold.” Though casting lines for fish through feet full of ice in remote, treacherously frozen locations may not be everyone’s cup of tea, getting the opportunity to spend some quiet time out in nature going ice fishing with our friends sure sounds like fun. Fortunately our “interpretive” version of ice fishing, in honor of this week’s music from Greenland,  takes place in your nice warm classroom. Cheers!

The First Thing you Need is an Auger

In Greenland, Iceland and other Nordic countries the winters are darned cold, and with darned cold comes icy ponds that are right for fishin’. After eons of fishing in the cold the Inuit have figured out what to do to conquer the thick ice that sits between all of us and our very chilly fish. To carry on with contemporary Inuit ice fishing all we need is:

— an ice auger: a large drill to cut through the ice
— a spud: an ice-pick shaped like a wedge
— a “split shot”: a lead weight
— a “jigging rod”: a regular fishing rod, and
— a “tip up”: a contraption that allows you to lower a line down into the ice and that “tips up” a spring-loaded flag to alert you when the fish takes your bait so you can reel in the fish by hand. So let’s go!

Yes, Greenlandic Rap

If you think hip hop seems to be everywhere nowadays, you’re right — Greenland = “everywhere.”  Nuuk Posse billed themselves as the first Greenlandic Rap act, which may have been true; the crew’s members, all Inuit, came together to rap as early as 1985. By 1991 the group had officially become Nuuk Posse. Watch the video for the video for “Qitik,” which the self-proclaimed first Greenlandic rap act puts forth as “the first Greenlandic rap.”


When the Danes came to Greenland they brought European instruments such as the accordion and the Danish fiddle, not to mention a steady stock of Christian hymns. Missionaries introduced brass instruments and violins. Danish folk-style Greenlandic bands often play to support an Inuit polka known as the Kalattuut–watch some kalattuut here. (the dancing starts at about 0:50).

Drum Dance Master Anda Kuiste

The main surviving Greenlandic musical tradition is the Drum Dance, a competition during which two musicians come to the town’s “qaggi,” which a snow-house built to host community events, and chant lighthearted songs while each beating a frame drum (made of an oval frame with a bear bladder stretched over the top as the drum head), competing to see who can get the most laughs from the audience. One of the best known Greenlandic drum dancers is Anda Kuitse. Watch him perform a drum dance, the story of which a YouTube commenter summarizes in the following way: “a raven and a goose whom fall in love one summer. When autumn comes and the goose must fly south over the big ocean the raven follows its loved one. But the raven cannot swim nor flote. So when the goose landed in the ocean to rest the raven also landed. But for each time the goose landed in the ocean the raven sinks deeper (the drumdancer shows with his drumstick how deep the water reaches the raven each time they land in the ocean) and finally the raven drowns into the deep for its love.”

Frame Drums and Bull-roarers

The Inuit people who live in Greenland’share cultural and musical traditions with Inuit people all over the world’s north–especially the Yukon, Canada’s Northwest Territories, Alaska and eastern Russia. Most Greenlandic Inuit music features singing and drums–mainly hand-held frame drums. Greenland’s musicians also use buzzers, whistles and even, wonderfully, BULL-ROARERS.

Take Off to the Great White North

All Around This World map of Western Europe featuring Greenland

This week we complete our Western European and Nordic online-class adventure by heading way way WAY up north to visit Iceland and Greenland. Iceland, which for almost a thousand years was in Norse or Danish hands, became independent in 1874. Greenland which for centuries was also a Norwegian-Danish-ruled land, still has ties to Denmark but has been self-governing since 1978. Both places are chilly. Both places are grand, and they’re so different! Our upcoming blog posts will mainly introduce Greenland, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love Bjork.

The Swedes Don’t Know Amphibian Anatomy, but Don’t Care

We end our week of Swedish music and celebrations with some misdummer madness. On the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, Swedes circle a maypole, search the forests for flowers and leap seven times, superstitiously, over fences. By far the best thing they do to celebrate the holiday is dance around a field like frogs. The Swedish frog song you’ll see in this video is “Små grodorna”: “Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se…The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe. No ears, no ears, no tails do they possess. Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,  kou ack ack ack ack kaa.” The celebrating Swedes hold hands around a circle, simulate the eyelss and tailless frogs — not factual — and then hop hop hop. Any Swede, they’ll tell you — “Små grodorna” = midsummer.