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...
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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 […]
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 […]
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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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 […]
Listen to this lovely recording of a group of women singing a lullaby in Mali! MP3 Recording of a Lullaby from Mali If anyone can provide the lyrics to this song, identify the language and/or offer a translation, please email me. Thanks! Mama Lisa
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 […]
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
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