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 'Nursery Rhymes'
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Mama Lisa’s World has been growing fast!  Lately we’ve made a particular push to put up more songs from Africa. Here are some of the more recent African countries we’ve added songs to on Mama Lisa’s World:  Kids Songs and Lullabies of Burkina Faso   Choosing Rhyme from Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)   Kids Songs and Lullabies from Ethiopia   Lullaby from...
John Ziak wrote asking for help with two childhood songs: Lisa, I have been searching for sometime to find a song/nursery rhyme that my grandfather sang to me when I was young.  He passed away 16 years ago and no one in my family can remember any more words than I.  The song originates from Czech or...
Kim wrote asking for help with a Ukrainian rhyme her grandmother sings.  She would like the correct spelling.  Here’s Kim’s email along with a recording in which her grandmother sang the rhyme… Hi, My Grandmother was trying to teach me the words today to this Ukrainian rhyme. I do not speak Ukrainian, and she cannot spell or...
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Today is the 215th anniversary of the birth of British paleontologist, Mary Anning (1799 – 1847). Mary Anning collected fossils and contributed important information about prehistoric life to the scientific community. She supported herself selling fossils to geologists and to tourists.  She was a seller of seashells!  It’s believed that the tongue twister, "She sells...
Tamela wrote asking for help with a Danish poem her father recited.  Here’s her email: Hi, I am wondering if you can help me at all.  I am searching for the full words to an old Scandinavian children’s poem that my Danish father used to tell us. It is about three children, girls, on one farm meeting...
Laura wrote asking for help with a Czech song.  Here’s her question: Dear Mama Lisa, I am trying to find out about an old Czech Song that our Uncle Bob would sing at the end of every visit as he would leave. He would put his finger on the top of his head and turn in a...
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Emanuela wrote from Italy about St. Nicholas of Bari… "We celebrate St. Nicholas of Bari on December 6th. Our St. Nicholas is the Nicholas who is celebrated in northern Europe. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey), but now his body is in Bari, Italy. European immigrants brought this character to America....
Gerard Ramos wrote asking for help with an Italian kids song from Sicily.  Here’s his email: Hi Lisa, I stumbled across your site searching for Italian children’s songs trying to find a song my great grandmother passed down through our family.  She was born in Sicily and moved to New Orleans when she was young.  No...
Grant wrote asking for help with a rhyme he learnt from his grandmother.  Here’s his question: Hi, My grandmother’s parents were from Yugoslavia and she taught us a nursery rhyme from them which I would love to know the meaning. I am typing this as if the rhyme is in English. Any help would be great....
Debra wrote asking for help with a Yiddish rhyme: The following has been passed down through the ages (at least 150 years) by my mothers family, though we can only guess what the words mean now or the correct spelling of the words. I am hoping you may recognize it or be able to decipher it...
Jeff wrote asking for help with a Yiddish song.  Here’s his email: Hi, I grew up reciting a Yiddish rhyme or song where we pinched the skin on the back of each others hands and bobbed them up and down while saying something like (and I’m just writing what it sounded like): "Sipicle sipicle amadal, kimsimir and kamadal,...
Jen wrote to me looking for help with a childhood rhyme.  Here’s her email: I stumbled onto your site while looking for an answer to an age-old family question. When I was a little girl, my grandma and grandpa, both of whom were Portuguese, used to recite a rhyme to me in Portuguese while...
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Booktrust did a survey of over 2,500 people in the UK to determine the top nursery rhymes.  Here they are with links to their lyrics (most of the links have mp3’s or videos too): 1. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 2. Incey Wincey Spider 3. Round And Round The Garden 4. Baa Baa Black Sheep 5. The...
Cristina wrote asking for help with a childhood song her grandma sang to her.  Here’s her note: Mama Lisa, I am trying to figure out the name of a song my Nonna used to sing to me as a baby. She is from Bari and I cannot find the song anywhere. It went something like “chic de...
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Here’s an Irish Blessing just in time for St. Patrick’s Day… Irish Blessing   May your pockets be heavy And your heart be light.   May good luck pursue you Each morning and night. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! -Mama Lisa
Peter wrote asking for help with some Ukrainian rhymes.  Here’s his email: I wonder if anyone can help me with some verses my father use to recite, all I have is some of the words, and the basic ideas behind the verses. One involved fish and vegetables dancing: Пастернак (Parsnip) Риба (Fish) The second involved a father sitting on a...
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The other day I was adding the Spanish hand clapping rhyme "Chocolate" to our collection, and my daughter heard me play this video of it below… My daughter pointed out that it has the same "tune" as the American handclapping rhyme "Double Double This This". You can hear that one in the video below… In both versions...
Theresa wrote asking for help with a childhood rhyme that’s possibly of Russian or German origin: Greetings from WA State. My grandfather passed away years ago, and when I was a small girl, I remember him sitting little ones on his knee and bouncing them to a familiar sing-song.  I DO NOT have any idea what...
Charleen wrote asking for help with the exact wording and spelling of a Sicilian version of "This Little Piggy" that sounds like "Ucchellino fonda notte".  Here’s her email… I have been trying to figure out a little finger play my Sicilian grandmother used to say…it is like "this little piggy went to market"    You make a...
Liz wrote asking for help with a German Hand Game.  Here’s her email: Hi, My name is Liz, & I’ve been searching and searching for an old German hand game my dad has done with us since we were tiny – that was done with him when he was little by my grandmother. I’m sure over the...
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