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 'Languages'
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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Watch Darth Vader say, "I am your father" to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie in 20 different languages (as dubbed in the movies).  You can see a list of the languages with their voice actors below the video. Languages and Voice Actors: English (Original) – James Earl Jones Spanish (1980) – Isidro Olace […]
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  "The Moon-Baby" is a pretty poem that can be read or sung to young children before bedtime. The Moon-Baby There’s a beautiful golden cradle That rocks in the rose-red sky; I have seen it there in the evening air Where the bats and beetles fly, With little white clouds for curtains And pillows of […]
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"The Little Blue Bus is the debut album from Michael O’Halloran, celebrated Australian singer/songwriter (and former primary school teacher). It’s a 14 track collection of folk songs filled with gorgeous harmonies, lilting fiddle, washes of dobro (a resonator guitar), sweet mandolin and banjo and tells the tales of life in Australia, from the desert to […]
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Lonnie wrote asking for help finding a story that his mother-in-law used to tell about the origin of black-eyed peas.  Here’s his question: I am trying to find a story my mother in law used to tell my daughter. All I can remember about it is the little pea tore something and it was sewn […]
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Monique Palomares wrote about the meaning and history of the Native American song "Ani Couni"… Ani Couni is a Native American song that’s well known in many countries. Yet no one seems to know for certain its true origin. There are many variations of how the title and lyrics are spelled, sometimes Ani Couni, sometimes […]
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"Spring Song of the Swallow" is a lovely poem celebrating the joy of Spring. You can hear the poem sung in the recording below and read along with the text. MP3 Recording of Spring Song of the Swallow Spring Song of the Swallow by Marietta Holley Oh, the days are growing longer; So rang the […]
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Mrs. Mulligatawny is a poem by Arthur Macy about the value of thinking for yourself.  Macy’s style reminds me of the writing of the American children’s author, Dr. Seuss.  Both have fun making fun of human foibles! You can listen to a wonderful recording of the poem below and read along with the text.  MP3 […]
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May 5th is Children’s Day in Japan!  Carp shaped windsocks are flown to celebrate the day. Crafts include origami (おりがみ) of carp streamers (こいのぼり) and samurai helmets (かぶと).  Here’s a video showing how to make an origami carp windsock… Here’s a video showing how to make a samurai helmet. (If you make it larger and […]
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Do you remember doing the Bunny Hop? I learnt it as a kid in the early ’70’s in dance class.  The Bunny Hop and the Finnish Folk Dance called "Letkajenkka" (aka Letkis) are nearly identical.  Both became a dance craze around the world. The Bunny Hop became popular in the early 1950’s.  The Ray Anthony […]
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Are you a fan of tongue twisters?  Here’s a well-known French one that is also an example of "trompe-oreilles": Tonton, le thé de ta tatie t’a-t-il oté ta toux ? -Oui, le thé de ma tatie m’a oté ma toux ! "Uncle, did your auntie’s tea get rid of your cough?" "Yes, my auntie’s tea […]
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We’ve just started Mama Lisa’s French Facebook Group to discuss all things French! This group is for people who love French and would like to learn more about the language and culture. We’ll share French learning resources.  We welcome recipes and traditions. We’d love to discuss French books, music and movies and other items of […]
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Our friend Innosanto Nagara is making an Indonesian Children’s Music CD and Book Set. Innosanto has contributed some Indonesian Kids Songs to Mama Lisa’s World including: Panjang umurnya (Long is His/Her Age) Nina Bobo (Go to Sleep Nina) You can help Innosanto help make his new project a reality!
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Souallé is a beautiful lullaby that comes from a part of Africa that was formerly called French Equatorial Africa. It was the federation of French colonies that included French Congo, Gabon, Oubangui-Chari, Chad, and French Cameroon.  It’s believed that this lullaby is specifically from Chad and/or Congo. Souallé means good night. You can hear the […]
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Learn the sounds of the alphabet in Asante Twi in this alphabet song. Twi is spoken in Ghana. Asante is one of the three dialects of Twi. Here are the letters… a – b – d – e – ε – f – g – h – i- k – l – m – n […]
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Check out this site about Disappearing Idioms. It covers the origins and meaning of some idioms that are going out of use.
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Hi, People around the world have different ways of greeting using their bodies.  Here are some with videos to see how they’re done… India – Touching Adults Feet Younger people touch the feet of their elders to ask for blessings. In the return, the elder touches the younger one’s head while giving their blessing. Thailand […]
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A Noiseless Patient Spider was written by Walt Whitman in the 1860’s. The spider in this poem is a metaphor for the human soul. Listen to an mp3 recording of the poem while reading along with the text below… MP3 Recording of A Noiseless Patient Spider   A Noiseless Patient Spider   A noiseless patient […]
Ilona wrote asking for help with a Finnish song her mother taught her.  Here’s her email… Our Finnish Mumi taught us a song which started: (Excuse the spelling;  also – no umlauts)      Semmonen tytto kun sina olet, Sen mina ten vaikka puusta Kielen ten mina paperista Ja kintut kissan luusta Jos mina kirpun kiine saisin […]

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