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

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Articles about 'Countries & Cultures'
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People in the northeastern mountains of Turkey use a form a whistling to communicate with people far away.  It’s a version of the Turkish language that’s whistled instead of spoken. The whistles actually translate to Turkish speech. It’s called kuş dili or Whistled Turkish. Roughly 10,000 people can still communicate in it. The sound echoes among […]
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The University of Hawaii has a site for learning some songs from Thailand. It’s called Learning Thai from Songs. The songs have the original Thai lyrics, with English translations and mp3 recordings. You can also visit Mama Lisa’s World’s Thai Song Pages for more songs from Thailand. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
Kerrie Keyes wrote asking for help finding a rhyme.  Here’s her email: Just searching on the Internet for a rhyme my grandfather used to recite to me: Kerrikins, kerrikins where is your nest In the forest that I love best Between an oak, an ash, and an ivy tree, Cuckoo cherry tree Catch a bird […]
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Here’s a beautiful little movie that’s narrated by a 6 six year old, giving great advice about life and how to deal with fears… the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.
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Wow your kid for his or her birthday with this rainbow layer cake! It’s easy to make.  Here’s how… (Below you can find quantities of food coloring to get the colors pictured here.) Recipe for Rainbow Layer Cake Ingredients 2 Boxes White Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury Classic White) Ingredients needed to make the cake […]
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Gâteau d’omelettes (Omelet Cake) is a French dish made for brunch, picnics and buffets. It comprises of layers of thin omelets, alternated with ratatouille and tapenade. We present here a recipe shared by Monique from France.  We separated out the recipes for Ratatouille and Tapenade and then explained how to assemble the gateau. Regarding the […]
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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 […]
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, […]
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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 […]
Christina wrote asking for help with an Italian (Calabrese) rhyme.  Here’s her email… Hi Lisa, This rhyme has been recited to small children in our family at least since the early 20th century. My paternal grandfather’s parents came to the U.S. in 1913 from Falerna, Catanzaro. They left two children there and subsequently had four […]
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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 […]
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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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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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