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


Philly Lutaaya sings Tulo Tulo

This week in class we sing “Tulo Tulo,” a Ugandan lullaby, which we first learned from Eastern Uganda’s Abayudaya Jews.: “Tulo tulo, go to sleep my pretty baby, dream sweetly through the night….” Enjoy this performance of “Tulo Tulo” by Philly Lutaaya, one of Uganda’s most admired musicians. Before Lutaaya passed away in 1989, a victim of AIDS, he became one of the first prominent voices in Africa to speak out about the disease. Toward the end of his life he performed and lectured in schools and churches around the nation, speaking for the dignity of people living with HIV. His last album was the before-its-time, stunningly frank, “Alone and Frightened.”

I cried because I knew then, I won’t see you again

Yesterday we heard a 1920s recording of the classic, and classically sad, Cajun song, “J’ai Passé.” We don’t avoid sad songs in All Around This World classes, though, most often, when we sing sad folk songs we still find some way to have fun. So, here, we don’t just wallow in sorrow. Instead we sing, bounce and tickle. We take the lead in this from folk musicians themselves, like Cajun musicians who sing “J’ai Passé” at Cajun dance parties while music fans dance the two-step.

Oh yé yaille, nobody came

This week in class we sing “J’ai Passé,” is a well-known Cajun classic from Louisiana. It’s the sad tale of someone who goes to visit a love, passing by the friend’s doorway and calling their name. Upon not receiving an answer the singer goes inside, see funeral candles and realizes the object of affection has passed away. In this video you’ll hear a classic version of the classic, a 1920’s performance by Cleoma Falcon.

Look at all the kids in the house today

On our best days All Around This World welcomes kids to class during the South and Central Asian season with, “Ilelele,” a rollicking east Indian welcome song — specifically from Assam, a far eastern state of India.  We first heard on the Smithsonian Folkways recording, “Songs of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and the Andamans” (listed as “Abor No. 4”). According to the album’s liner notes the song “is usually sung on occasions when some guests are received by the village folk,” and summarizes the lyrics like this: “Many people from outside are our guests this evening. The people of our village have also gathered. So you girls should now sing loudly and entertain the assembly here with whatever music they want to hear.” This video is a treat — the Sand Family band performing the song at the Wild Rose, Wisconsin, public library in 2018.

In Assam We Dance Bihu

This week in class we sing “Ilelele,” a song from the far eastern Indian state of Assam. Nestled at the foot of the Himalayas between Bhutan and Bangladesh, Assam is a center of eco-tourism in India, promoting itself as the home of Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, and the almost-but-not-quite extinct one-horned Indian rhinoceros. Assamese culture is a fluid mix of influences from the many ethnic groups that have mingled in the region, like North Indian Vedics, Tibetans, Bamar, Shan and many others from as far east as China’s Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. We don’t do the Assamese Bihu dance in class, but, watching this video, we can’t think of a good reason why not.

Jangar Jangar Jangar Jangar

This week in on online class we sing our version of “Jangar,” a celebration of the Oirat/Kalmyk epic tale of Jangar the great warrior. The Kalmyks are the only group of people in Europe’s that are of Mongolian-ancestried, primarily Buddhist people. They originated as one of the ancient Oirat peoples of Western Mongolia, moving westward in the 17th century to avoid conflict with the Chinese/Eastern Mongolians. Unfortunately they ran into the eastwardly expanding Russian empire. While in the 18th century some tried to return to Mongolia, most stayed in Russia, constantly struggling to maintain their language, culture and religion, and eventually suffering terribly in the ‘40s and ‘50 when Stalin forced migration to Siberia. Most Kalmyks returned to Russia in the late ‘50, and today the Russian republic of Kalmykia is the only majority-Buddhist region of Europe.


All Around This World Global "Everywhere" map

In this week’s online class we step back, pause, and breathe… For the last three months we’ve focused our musical explorations on a country-by-country tour of a geographic region of the world, and, starting next week, we’ll embark on another three months in a different region, doing much the same. This week, though, we take a break from all that annoying LEARNING. Let’s, simply, sing.

Singing at the SIVO World Dance and Music Festival in the Netherlands

All Around This World summer tour 2019, at the SIVO Festival

For this year’s SIVO World Dance and Music Festival in Orvelte, Netherlands, cultural dance and singing ensembles traveled to the tiny Dutch town from India, Mexico, Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus, adding to several troupes from the Netherlands and also a phenomenal group of Syrian dancers from the nearby center for refugees and asylum seekers. The Sand Family band was honored to be included in this elite group of culture-bearers, playing All Around This World songs as “representatives” of the Verenigde Staten. Learn more about the All Around This World Summer tour, 2019.

We don’t say Sayonara

Rather than say Sayonara to this season of songs from East and Southeast Asia, we acknowledge recent research finding that 70% of Japanese rarely or never use the phrase to say goodbye. Instead, let’s say, “Otsukaresama desu,” which means, “You must be tired, thank you for your work!” Other new favorites, according to JapanToday, are:

— Ja ne. (See ya)
— Mata ne/kondo/ashita/raishuu. (See you later/next time/tomorrow/next week)
— Shitsurei shimasu. (I’m sorry for having been rude – on ending a phone call, leaving work, etc.)
— Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu. (I’m sorry for rudely leaving before you [at work])
— Gokigenyou. (Fare thee well – if you want to sound fancy)
— Bai bai. (If you want to sound cute)

At Adau — for a better world

At Adau is a groundbreaking world music ensemble from the island of Borneo. The band fuses many forms of traditional Bornean music — all your favorites, like Sape’, Perutongs, Beduk and Kidibad and even Takebung — with rock instruments like the drum kit and electric guitar. At Adau wants much more than to just play pleasant songs from Borneo: says their website, “At Adau musical creations do not only represent their feelings and expressions but also reflect peace, serenity, appreciation for nature and a deep love and harmony between people around the world, regardless of cultural backgrounds, races, and boundaries.” Cool! Watch them rock Sarawak’s Rainforest World Music Festival in 2017