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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Readers Are Asking...
If you can answer any of these questions, please click 'Read More' and let us know in the comments!
Joann wrote asking for help with a song she’s researching for a 90 year old friend.  Here’s her letter: Do you know of a song sung years ago in the USA, but possibly of Welsh in origin with the phrase, "Terunden, teroden"? The lady is in her mid-nineties, she gave more words but didn’t have any idea...
Bob Anderson wrote looking for help with a Swedish childhood rhyme.  Here’s his question: Do you know of a children’s verse my dad (born 1879) used to do with the grandkids?  He would bounce them on his knees, holding their hands, and at the climax, open his knees and drop them down as if to drop...
We are trying to find the lyrics to this lovely traditional song from Sierra Leone.  It’s in the Mende language. If anyone can help with the lyrics and/or a translation, please let us know in the comments below.  We would love to add this song to Mama Lisa’s World! Thanks! -Mama Lisa
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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...
Nancy wrote asking for help with a song called, "Fair Cuba": When I was in middle school, I learned a song called "Fair Cuba,"  I have not heard it since, but am interested in finding the lyrics, and if possible, guitar chords to this song.  I found one site that had an abbreviated version of two...
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...
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...
Emanuela works in a school with young kids from different countries.  She asked if anyone could help with some questions about how children are cared for and disciplined in various cultures.  Here’s her letter: I have a special request to you and I think you can help me because you know people of many cultures.  In...
Guido wrote asking if anyone can help him find a childhood song that’s Russian.  Here’s his email: Hello! First of all, let me introduce myself: Guido Ruzzier, born in Trieste, Italy, in 1934. My father, Silvio Ruzzier, was born in Pirano, a small town near Trieste, in 1895: when he was born, and until the end of...
Ann-Marie wrote asking for help with an Italian song that she learnt in English.  Here’s her email… I remember a song from a record I had as a child about an old woman planting mushrooms in the moonlight. I remember the entire song, including the tune, but I cannot remember what the woman...
We received this email: There’s a traditional Armenian children’s song that goes "ts’nguluh m’nguluh tseev tseev…" It’s sung to children while pinching the top of the hand like a bird holding the hand with its feet. Any idea what this song is? Thanks so much. If anyone can help with this song, please comment below. Thanks! Mama Lisa
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I came across this YouTube video of kids in Nigeria playing two circle dance games.  The songs are quite fun!  The lyrics are in English.  English is the official language of Nigeria even though over 500 languages are spoken there.  You can find most of the lyrics below the video. Song #1   To play: Each kid...
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Who remembers the expression "I love you with a cherry on top"?  I remember saying it to my mother either to express love or to butter her up if I wanted something! You can make the expression even stronger, by adding more and more toppings as if your love was an ice cream sundae.  You can...
Jade wrote asking for help with an Italian song from Toritto.  Here’s her email: Hey. Love your site. I was looking for a song my nonna used to sing to me as a child. She was from Toritto, a small town outside Bari. It’s in dialect. I’m probably going to butcher the spelling but this is...
Marlena wrote asking for help with a Spanish kids song or lullaby.  Here’s her email: Hi,  I am looking for a song with the refrain "soongee, soongee, soongee" that is sung to infants.    The song is in Spanish.  My grandparents were originally from Mexico.  My family has sung that song to babies ever since I can...
In English, when you don’t understand something, you say "It’s all Greek to me".  In French you say either, "C’est de l’hébreu" (It’s in Hebrew) or "C’est du chinois" (It’s in Chinese).  In Spanish you say, "Me suena a chino" (Sounds like Chinese to me). It would be interesting to learn what other languages people...
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...
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