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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The song "Ira Congo" is sung around the world by choirs and Girl Scouts.  It’s believed to come from Africa. Below you’ll find the lyrics and some YouTube renditions. Ira congo, Ira congo by ay, Ira congo by ay congo, By ay, congo, by ay. If anyone knows which country this song comes from and/or […]
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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 […]
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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Cecyle wrote to us looking for help with a saying her mom would recite… Hi Lisa, My mother used to repeat a saying (about 20 lines) about common sense things that we should all do.  I only remember a few lines:   If you put it down, pick it up, If you get it out, […]
Claire sent us some lyrics to an African song with a translation that seems much longer than the original lyrics. She’d like to know to which African country this rowing song belongs to. Would anyone be familiar with it? Original Lyrics: Banga titi para biani Banga titi para biani Refrain: Eléléyo, éléléyo, yo, éléléyo Yo, […]
Jessica wrote, "Here is the video of my husband’s great grandma (102) reciting a fingers and toes rhyme (Swedish origin perhaps?)." Can anyone help identify the language of the rhyme, write out the words and/or help with a translation?  If so, please comment below or email me. Thanks in advance! -Mama Lisa
We’re looking for the lyrics and/or a translation of the following Angolan lullaby.  We’d also like help identifying its language.  If anyone can help please comment below or email me. Thanks in advance! -Mama Lisa
In Turkey and Turkmenistan, children go door-to-door for Ramadan singing and asking for a gift (like candy or coins). "As the holy month of Ramadan gets under way, children in Turkmenistan are taking part in one of the local customs associated with the holiday: visiting their neighbors and asking for gifts as they sing a […]
We would like to add a song from Turkmenistan to Mama Lisa’s World.  The following song is about feminine beauty.  If anyone can help with the Turkmen lyrics and/or a translation, please comment below or email me. Thanks in advance! Mama Lisa
Maria wrote asking for info about the song, "Zimbole".  Here’s her email: I have been trying in vain to find the meaning of the African folk song “Zimbole”.  I believe it’s an Zulu word for peace but I’m not sure and I can’t find any information anywhere!   There are videos on youtube of kids singing […]
Can anyone help with this question from Patti: Hey, Lisa!  My Dad and I enjoy sharing our family history through his telling stories of him growing up on the family farm in Cheboygan, MI and on Mackinac Island with his French-Canadian father.  At times he will  recite old poems and songs from his youth; he’s […]
We’ve been asked for help finding the full lyrics to a Caribbean song called, "Emma Lemme (Let Me) Lone".  Here’s the info we have so far: Beau wrote: "…looking for a song that I sang in Elementary School – it’s a Caribbean song I think, goes something like "Emma lemme ‘lone, let me lone! Me […]
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 […]
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 […]
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
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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