Keenene — I want to eat RASPBERRIES

Keenene” is a Ugandan chant All Around This World first heard on W. Moses Serwadda’s collection, Songs and Stories from Uganda. It appears in a story in the collection about how some village children accepted help from an unfamiliar animal named Baluba and he ultimately provided a feast for them, including a voluminous amount of raspberries, which they shared with their neighbors. In class we dispense with the concept of sharing and DEMAND our favorite foods.

I Want to Eat Matoke, I Want to Eat Matoke

If you’ve never eaten (or sang a song about) Ugandan food, you’re missing out!

When we chant the Ugandan “Keenene” in class we empower kids to demand the Ugandan food they want to eat — “I want to eat raspberries! I want to eat raspberries!” If we were to chant in Uganda, kids might demand matoke (a starchy cousin of a banana), ugali/posho (cornmeal porridge used to sop up stew) and chapati (sweet South Asian flat bread). Or they may very well demand raspberries.

Kadongo Kamu — Who Needs More Than One Guitar?

Let’s begin with Bernard Kabanda….

Going to Uganda in All Around This World classes gives us the chance to enjoy some of our favorite forms of African music, such as Kadongo Kamu (“one guitar”), a modern genre that finds its inspiration in traditional Ugandan forms. In this video, enjoy the beautiful music of Bernard Kabanda, a Kadongo Kamu pioneer.

Why not Uganda?

All Around This World Map Featuring Uganda

The first country we’re going to meet in our African season of online classes for kids is Uganda. While we acknowledge that this East African nation doesn’t always get the best international press, Uganda’s densely fertile land and its diverse yet tightly-woven ethnic groups — not to mention its energetic and melodic music— reveal an optimistic, albeit complex society that aspires to put the past behind it and forge boldly into the future.

What are we Singing This Season?

All Around This World -- Africa Double CD

In class this season we have the pleasure of learning family-friendly songs from all over the awe-inspiring African continent. If you want to dive even deeper definitely check out All Around This World: Africa, a dazzling double CD — 32 studio recordings of songs we sing in our Africa classes, co-produced with musicians from all over Africa. There’s a little bit of everything on it for you and your kids, from Cape Verdean samba to Malagasy salegy, from Algerian rai to South African isicathamiya and more. If you order the physical CD  —! — you’ll get an exciting little booklet with lyrics and a map of Africa that shows you where the songs originated. If you want to stream it, one digital CD at a time, I guess that’s fine too.

Where are we Going This Season?

In All Around This World classes we approach “Africa” geographically, grateful to the natural boundaries for providing some parameters for our multicultural explorations, but beyond that we find our utmost excitement in the continent’s diversity. (Want to learn the countries of Africa? I just found this “African Countries and Capitals” video. Listening to it is kind of driving me crazy, but I can’t look away.) In class we take a tour that begins in the East and proceeds counterclockwise around the continent–North then West, Central then South. What countries will be visiting this season? For an overview look HERE.

Africa……..? AWESOME!

All Around This World Africa "Everywhere Map"
We’re here! Africa Africa Africa. For the next three months in our online classes for kids we have both the ultimate pleasure, and the sincere responsibility, of exploring the vast African continent, meeting an extraordinary number of African countries and culture through music. Our class this week introduces us to a few of our soon-to-be favorite songs. Let’s go!

Kerala’s Panchari Melam Ensemble

Let’s go to Kerala and percuss with Panchari melam….

A couple of days ago we sang “Dhe Dhe,” a rollicking song from India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. The recording of the song we made for the All Around This World: South and Central Asia CD features fantastic drumming that reminds me of Panchari melam — learn about them here — a percussion ensemble that is performed during religious festivals in neighboring Kerala. This video will make you feel like you’re there.

Ta na na na na na na na . . . DHE DHE!

One of our favorite songs this season was our version of a folk song from India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. We sing it as if we are a boisterous band of musicians, jamming and improvising and having a grand time, at the end of every verse exclaiming, exuberantly, as Tamil musicians might, “DHE DHE!!