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 'Songs by Theme'
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Here’s a cute little song called Eight Little Letters Make Three Little Words (I love you) about love and marriage.  The song was written by Bert Kalmar (1884-1947), music by Ted Snyder (1881-1965).  Below you can listen to an mp3 recording and read along with the lyrics… MP3 of Eight Little Letters Make Three Little Words....
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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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"Ging Gang Goolie" was written by Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, for the 1st World Scout Jamboree in 1920.  Kids from 34 countries attended the event. The song is gibberish on purpose so that kids all over the world who speak different languages can sing along and not feel like the song is...
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Hello! Bread and Butter can be used as a Hello or Goodbye Song.  You clap along as you chant.  You can find the lyrics below with 2 videos showing how to chant and clap to the song.  In the first video it’s used as a Hello Song and in the second video it’s used as a...
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Sumer is icumen in is possibly the oldest canon in print (circa 1226 a.d.)  It was written in Middle English.  You can read the original here, followed by a translation into modern English and a lovely YouTube rendition by two girls. Sumer is icumen in Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu! ...
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Ooh La! Ooh La! is an animated video by the band They Might Be Giants.  It’s about Double Dutch jump roping Double Dutch jump roping is done with two long jump ropes turning inwards at the same time.  The phrase Double Dutch is old slang meaning “to talk nonsense”.  It may be a coincidence, but the...
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The French Song, Alphabet des Scouts (Scouts Alphabet) is perfect to help you learn how to pronounce the names of the letters in French.  You can hear it at the link above and read along with the French lyrics.  There are also English and Spanish translations of the song. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
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I’m currently reading a series of books that takes place in Botswana called  The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. When reading the first book, you quickly come upon the term "Mma" (pronounced "ma") used before a woman’s name and "Rra" (pronounced "ra" with a rolling "r") used before a man’s name.  I...
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Nyango M. Nambangi sent us this Cameroonian song from her childhood in Africa. It’s a lovely song to sing with children and they can even dance while singing! Like many African songs, it’s a call and response song.  In the recording below, Nyango explains how to sing and dance to the song.  Then she sings...
Vivian wrote asking about the song "Moja Numba"…. Hello, I have heard a song called Moja Numba, which I believe is Swahili.  It was recorded by M’EarthTones.  I contacted them, but even they weren’t able to tell me the origin.  I’d like to know what the words are and what they mean. Thank you for your help. Vivian Caputo If...
Virginia emailed me looking for help with a song about a lonesome China boy or girl.  She wrote…. I have been trying to find a song my Aunt used to sing called Lonesome China Girl… Lonesome China boy on a street in old Shanghai Feeling kinda blue, what were they to do , Oh Gee, Oh Me...
Roger wrote asking for help.  Here’s what he emailed us: Dear Lisa, I am trying to find information about a song which I believe to be Bulgarian. I starts: Todora todorke vecheya la lisi… Obviously I’m not sure about spelling. Do you know it? Thanks for any info, Roger If anyone can help with the original lyrics of this song and/or a translation,...
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Nancy Silverrod, a Librarian, wrote to me about a variation of the rhyme Miss Lucy Had a Baby called Miss Lulu.  She was wondering if it has a connection to Susan B. Anthony and her alligator purse!  Susan B Anthony was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. Here’s what Nancy wrote: There are numerous variations...
A teacher in Spain has taken a well-known Spanish kids song called Saco una manita and turned it into a Hello Song.  You can hear her version below.  After the video you’ll find the Spanish lyrics with an English translation. Enjoy! –Mama Lisa Saco una manita (Buenos días) (Spanish) Saco...
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There’s a jump rope rhyme about Lincoln Beachey (1887 – 1915) one of the earliest aviators.  He was the first to do many stunts while flying… until one fateful day in 1915 when his plane lost its wings while flying upside-down.  He ended up landing in the San Francisco Bay and drowning.  Children soon started...
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Have you ever heard of Safety Songs?  If you grew up in New York in the 1940’s, like our correspondent Richard Stark, I bet you have.  In the New York City school system, teachers would teach them to kids.  Richard remembers growing up singing them. The Safety Songs that Richard grew up with were written by...
Here’s a song about helping kids know what to do if they get lost.  We believe it was popular in the 1940’s… Remember Your Name and Address Remember your name and address And telephone number, too ...
Sheila wrote from North Carolina asking about a circle dance song: I sang this in kindergarten 55 years ago. I don’t know the correct spelling of these words, but this is what the refrain sounded like… Mumbo, hot-toe, mata relay, relay Mumbo, hot-toe mata relay relay roan. It was a circle dance with one child in the middle,...
Here’s a song the kids sing on the bus to and from school… a true Bus Song! And the lyrics are… I know a song that gets on everybody’s nerves… Repeat the line ad infinitum! (Or until you’re thrown off the bus!) Enjoy (or not)! Mama Lisa
“Pizza Pizza Daddy-O” is a cool circle dance game. Below are the lyrics to one version… many exist and you can add your own lines. The kids stand in a circle and one child goes in the middle. The child in the middle is the one whose name they say in the...
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