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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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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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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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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Flashcards are a good way to pick up new vocabulary in a foreign language. It’s good to use them as a supplement to other resources, because if you only use flashcards, you’ll get bored very quickly! There are three flashcard apps I’ve been using over the past couple of months to help expand my French […]
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Mamá te quiero mucho (Mommy, I Love You So Much) is a nice little new dual-language (Spanish/English) book that was just released!  It accompanies a wonderful song that singer/songwriter Sara Quintanar has shared with us in the past (here).  The book also includes a score to the song. Here’s a page from the book that […]
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Quirky Press has just released a new dual-language (Somali/English) book of 14 Somali Lullabies.  It includes a CD of the songs sung in Somali by Maryan Anshur.   Karin at Quirky Press was kind enough to share a recording of one of the lullabies with us!  You can hear it below and read along with the […]
Dominique wrote asking about an Italian rhyme her mother recited: "I’m looking for a rhyme that my mom would sing to my children, it went something like: ‘Zampe, zampette (or zampine), zampone, zampette, che di prete fu portati prete dice cosa son queste: zampe’. This was said while moving the baby’s feet. My mom was […]
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Have you ever considered where the generic dog names Fido, Rover and Spot come from? These are the canine equivalent of "John Doe".  Did you know that one was a President’s dog, another the 1st movie star dog, and the last, a dog from a book that helped kids learn to read for over 40 […]

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