Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Mama Lisa's Blog
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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Slate recently pointed out how the animation studio, Pixar remade some scenes in the movie Inside Out for foreign viewers. One aspect they changed is the vegetable Riley hates as a little kid.  For US audiences, it’s broccoli, a cliché vegetable that American kids hate.  In Japan, kids love broccoli, so they changed the hated […]
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Is pink a girl color in your country?  It is in the US!  Here’s a video that explains how it came about… Blue is considered a boy color. Please let us know in the comments below if there are any specific colors for boys or girls in your country. -Mama Lisa
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Most people associate summer with occasional lightening storms.  We found this wonderful Italian poem called Temporale Estivo - "Summer Lightening Storm" .  It was written by Federigo Tozzi (1883-1920).  Below you can listen to a recording of the poem while reading along with the Italian text, and an English translation. MP3 Recording of Temporale Estivo […]
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It’s always fun to read fables. They make you think of an earlier, simpler time. We think of fables as being for young children. However, a French teacher I recently spoke with told me that in France today, Jean de La Fontaine’s fables are mostly read by high school students.  That’s because the language is […]
Kirundi is a Bantu language spoken in Burundi, Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda. We were recently asked about Kirundi nursery rhymes (in the following note)… Hello; my name is Anyesi and was wondering if you could please send me the Nursery rhymes in Kirundi.  Thank you:) If anyone knows any Kirundi nursery rhymes, please share them […]
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Icelandic Pancakes are called Pönnukökur.  They’re served for breakfast and also for special occasions. They’re more like French crepes than thick American pancakes. These pancakes are mainly served two ways, either sprinkled with sugar and rolled up or covered in blueberry (or other flavored) jam and whipped cream and folded in fours. No matter how […]
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We like to post seasonal poetry from around the world.  Now that summer’s here we’d like to share this French poem about summer that will heat you up! Below you’ll find the original French text to the poem Chaleur (Heat) by Anna de Noailles with a recording and an English translation. MP3 Recording of the […]
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Wondering what to do with all that summer zucchini?  Try Zucchini Fritters!  Both my husband and daughter loved them! The beauty of this recipe is that all you need is zucchini, cheddar cheese and some basic ingredients you probably have already.  It’s quick to make too. You can grate the zucchini in a food processor […]
When Pop Rocks and Lollipops Ruled the World Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications covering the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries. My husband and I went to the movies over the weekend and felt like we entered a time machine as we watched people […]
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It’s always great to celebrate the seasons with poetry! The poem Noche de verano (Summer Night) is a lovely poem we’ve chosen to share now that summer is finally here.  It was written by Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939). Below you can listen to a recording of the poem while reading the original Spanish text […]
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Baba Ghanoush (also spelled baba ghanouj) is an eggplant dip that’s eaten in the Middle East. Variations can be found in Egypt, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordon, Lebanon, Turkey and Armenia. Baba Ghanoush is often served with other dips like hummus. Pita bread is usually sliced up and dipped into the baba ghanoush.  We also eat […]
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Monique grew up eating Tortilla de patatas (potato omelet).  The recipe was passed down from her grandma to her mother. Tortilla de patatas is a type of potato omelet from Spain.  Tortilla in Spain is different from tortilla in Mexico and South America (where it’s a thin flatbread). Tortilla originally meant small cake.  Tortilla de […]
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Mama Lisa’s World now has a song, rhyme or proverb from every country in the world! You can access them all at the links below: Countries and Cultures: Countries A to Z  Languages: Languages A to Z If you’re curious about the numbers, that’s: 242 Countries & Cultures and 229 Languages A great, big thanks […]
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Printemps (Springtime) is a lovely French poem written by Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885).  Below you can hear the poem recited and follow along with the original French text and an English translation… MP3 of Printemps by Victor Hugo Printemps Voici donc les longs jours, lumière, amour, délire ! Voici le printemps ! mars, avril […]
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Playing real video games for fun is a great way to improve your foreign language skills. I’m talking about games you’d want to play in your own language, not specifically language learning games. There are many fun games that are available in many different languages. I’m an early advanced French learner, so I understand enough […]
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Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world.  They have a simple formula.  In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door.  The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words.  Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
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Wondering what to do with your overripe bananas? Need a quick dessert to make? This Baileys Banana Ice Cream Recipe uses just 3 ingredients, takes care of those ole bananas and it’s simple to make… Quick Recipe for Bailey’s Banana Ice Cream Freeze slices of bananas for about 2 hours. Put in food processor with […]
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The Moribayassa is a dance of the Malinke people of West Africa.  It’s danced in Guinea, Mali and other West African countries.  When women need help with something very important -like becoming pregnant or healing from a sickness- they ask the spirit of Moriba Yassa for help.  The woman vows that when the wish is […]

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Does Anyone Know an Italian Song with "Sum, Sum, Sum"?

Can anyone help with the following question we received about an Italian song? "I have a question: I’d like to know if you can help me identify this song that one of the Italian grandparents would sing to my father-in-law. (They were from the area near Genoa/Luguria.)  I know neither the name nor the lyrics, […] Read more »

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