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


Goori goori goori goori gawee bawee bo!

“Achim Baram” (“Cold Morning Wind”) is a Korean children’s song whose lyrics are less important than what kids do with them. The hand motions that accompany this Korean kids’ song are essentially rock/paper/scissors — when we reach “Goori goori goori goori gawee bawee bo!” (“scissors, a rock, a hand”) we show one of the three. Kids really play this Korean rock paper scissors game, and apparently become quite competitive. Do we?

Let’s Trot Over to South Korea

After the Korean War, tens of thousands of U.S. and Allied troops remained on South Korean soil. Western soldiers shared the styles that were popular at home with South Korean musicians, teaching them big band jazz, Western rock and eventually international pop music. South Korean musicians fused Western and even Japanese styles with their own, creating new musical blends such as “teuroteu,” or “trot,” which finds its origin in Japanese enka, with a touch of Western foxtrot thrown in for good measure. South Korean Trot music disappeared as an active genre for decades but has undergone a revival.

Bang a Gong with Korean Farmers

Korean musicologists generally acknowledge four types of traditional Korean music — courtly, aristocratic, scholarly, and religious —  and three kinds of Korean court music — aak (Chinese/Confucian ritual music), hyangak (purely Korean), and tangak (a combination of Chinese and Korean court music). There are also many  folk styles, such as:

— sanjo: a completely instrumental music, performed with shifting rhythms and melodies on instruments such as the gayageum.
— pansori: a theatrical form of music performed by one singer and one drummer. The singer tells one of five different stories but individualizes the telling with jokes and social commentar,y, and
— nongak (“farmers’ dance”): a public form of percussion performed by twenty to thirty performers, most often in a rural setting.

Inspired by this video, grab a gong and join the farmers in their Nongak.

One Korea Two Koreas

All Around This World map of east and southeast Asia featuring souch Korea

This week in our online class we strive to understand two complicated Koreas. North Korea is the world’s most militantly isolated nation. From the inflated cult of personality surrounding its self-procluamed “Supreme Leader” to its government’s policy of imprisoning anyone, even foreign journalists, who dare question the omnipotence of its regime, North Korea is about as off-putting as any country could be. On the other hand, South Korea is one of the most wired, open and accessible nations in the world. In the years since splitting with the north it has raced to embrace all things that could connect it to global society, like cell phones, the internet, and shamelessly over-produced pop music. The sad fact is that for more than three thousand years, and until just about sixty years ago, these two divergent nations were one. Then came a brutal Japanese colonization culminating in a World War and a wholly unwelcome starring role in the military and ideological struggle between the Soviets, the Chinese and the United States. Since a vicious armed conflict in the early ’50s — Americans know it as The Korean War while Koreans refer to as their civil war — North has split from South with such vigor that there is literally a line between the countries that no one from either is allowed to cross. The chasm between the countries continues to widen; the civil war’s wounds are still raw.

Shanadoo Teaches Us How to Para Para

Yesterday we met Japanese para para, a fabulous form of synchronized pop dance. Para para is the kind of dancing that is incredibly enjoyable to watch, but even more frantically fun to do. This video teaches us some Para Para dance moves — the very basics, and they’re wonderful. Don’t be shy, get up and try!

Night of Fire

Japanese para para is AMAZING. The form of synchronized dancing emerged in Japanese clubs in the 1980’s, providing specific moves, mainly made with the arms, choreographed to frantic Euro-dance. Para Para has ebbed and flowed in popularity, alternating between “boom” and “glacial” periods, though in all periods “official” para para routines found favor among devoted “paralists” while routines choreographed by fans — nicknamed “maniac” — would make the rounds informally, especially outside of Japan where even the most committed dancers would be hard pressed to find a para para club. Purist paralist or no, you will absolutely enjoy — though you will perhaps be slightly confused by — “Night of Fire.” Let Shanandoo teach you some basic para para moves.


Dancing Bon Odori in the Public Square

Bon Odori is a Japanese folk dance most often performed during the Obon “ancestor appreciation” holiday in the public square and danced in concentric circles around a raised wooden platform called a yagura. The dance developed several hundred years ago from a Buddhist chant to welcome the spirits of the ancestors. Bon odori is a public, participatory dance that is meant to attract young and old, both trained dancers and those who just want to celebrate.

Dancing to Please the Ancestors

“Ashibinaa” is a song that accompanies Bon Odori, a Japanese folk dance performed during Obon, a summertime festival which is a period for Japanese to appreciate their ancestors by returning to their hometowns and “visiting with” the spirits of those who have passed. Obon is sometimes called the Lantern Festival; at its beginning Japanese light chochin lanterns to guide the ancestors’ spirits from their graves to the family home and at the end family members use lanterns to lead the spirits back. Our Japanese bon odori dancing may not be so accurate, but we do get the chance to exclaim, “HAI!”

Strings of the Okinawan Soul

Japanese folk music encompasses four main types of songs: work songs, religious songs, songs used for gatherings such as weddings, festivals and funerals, and children’s songs. The tradition is strong throughout Japan, especially on the once-independent island of Okinawa, whose folk music differs from that on the mainland in several ways. For example, while mainland Japanese folk uses the shamisen, Okinawan folk music uses the shansin, as well as the sanba, which produce a clacking sound similar to castanets, as well a sharp form of whistling known as the “finger flute.”

Three shades of Gagaku

Japanese Buddhist chanting may be the most ancient form of Japanese music, but orchestral court music, known as gagaku, is well over a thousand years old. A full gagaku performance encompasses three forms of art — Kuniburi no Utamai, featuring ancient Japanese songs played on harp and flute, instrumental performances that accompany Japanese dance, and Utamono, danced to Japenese folk songs and sung Chinese poems.