Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
Mama Lisa's Blog
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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We’ve added two songs from the Arapaho tribe to Mama Lisa’s World.  The Arapaho is a Native American tribe.  Their territory once spanned from the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming to the Arkansas River. The Arapaho language is part of the Algonquian language family. Click below to learn two Arapaho songs… Nû’nanû’naatani’na hu’hu’ – The […]
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"Boys and Girls Come out to Play" is a nursery rhyme song that dates back to the 18th century. Here’s a wonderful rendition by Dick Aven, in a gentle rock style.  The ways to use traditional songs and rhymes need only be limited by your imagination! MP3 of Boys and Girls Come Out to Play […]
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Ayako wrote from Japan about the Setsubun Festival…   Feb 3rd is Setsubun  節分.  Setsubun literally means "division of seasons” and now it means the day before the first day of spring.   There are many Setsubun events held in different temples and shrines in Japan.   This year I went to a Setsubun festival […]
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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 […]
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Dreaming was written by the Irish poet, William Allingham (1824 – 1889).  He wrote this poem for his three children.  Here you can listen to the poem while reading along with the text. MP3 Recording of Dreaming Dreaming A strange little Dream On a long star-beam Ran down from the midnight skies, To curly-hair’d Fred […]
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Alka Patel, a children’s librarian in the US, sent us this opposites song in English, Gujarati and Hindi.  Here’s the note I received… I did this opposite song in three languages in my Multilingual story time at my library. I used actions with this song and the kids enjoyed it. This activity is limitless. You […]
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I’m trying out this widget to see if you can record a rhyme on it and send it to me.  This allows you to record a short rhyme (under 90 seconds).  Please try it and email me letting me know which rhyme you’re reciting and what language it’s in.  Thanks in advance! Mama Lisa
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The Chinese poem 月夜 – Moonlit Night by Liu Fangping was collected in The 300 Tang Poems during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907).  Below you’ll find the Chinese text of the poem with the pronunciation, an English translation and a recording in Mandarin Chinese. MP3 Recording of Moonlit Night 月夜 更深月色半人家, 北斗闌干南斗斜。 今夜偏知春氣暖, 蟲聲新透綠窗沙。 […]
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Check out Litterature audio.com to listen to hundreds of free French audio books online. You’ll find an impressive selection ranging from the fables of La Fontaine to Proust. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
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Kids love jokes!  That’s why you should check out Buzzfeed’s 19 Clean Jokes To Tell Your Kids…That Are Actually Funny. My favorite: Guy in a library walks up to the librarian and says, ‘I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.’ Librarian responds, ‘Sir, you know you’re in a library, right?’ Guy says, ‘Oh, sorry. [in […]
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When I was very little (less than 5 years old), all the kids in my neighborhood used to chant, "How now brown cow!" It turns out that the phrase originally came from Scotland in the 1700’s.  Some sources say that, "brown cow" was a phrase that used to mean a barrel of beer because a […]
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The "Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack" is a poem from Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.  Here’s a wonderful singing rendition of it by Ezwa… MP3 Recording of Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack   As the dawn was breaking the Sambhur* belled Once, twice and again! And a doe […]
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The Tortoise – Черепаха – is a Russian finger play that you can enjoy reading below in Russian, English and French.  You can also hear a recording of the rhyme in Russian and French by Maya. MP3 Recording of Черепаха (The Tortoise) in Russian and French Черепаха Шла по полю черепаха И дрожала вся от […]
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People in Japan ring temple bells for the New Year and they watch the sunrise.  Sadao Mazuka wrote to me about these traditions: On New Year’s Eve, many Japanese people go to their local temple and wait for their turn to ring the big bell (one time per person). It is called 除夜の鐘, Joyanokane, “The […]
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I’ve been writing a lot about traditional Japanese dishes for the New Year.  Here’s another installment! My friend Ayako wrote from Japan about the food she made for New Year’s Day: Lisa, Happy New Year ! This year I didn’t have a lot of time, so I made just two dishes of New Year foods. […]
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It’s January 1st, a new year a new you! Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to lose weight and get in shape. There are apps that can help you. I decided in December to try a weight loss app in advance of the New Year. I found one called LoseIt!  So far I’ve lost 3 pounds […]
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Sadao Mazuka wrote to me about New Year’s food (おせち料理) that’s eaten in Japan. "On New Year’s Eve, we ate year-crossing noodles when my sons were young. This year on Jan 1st to 3rd, we are going to have ‘zoni’ and ‘sechi’ or ‘O-sechi’." Zoni is a soup with either a fish based broth or […]
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There’s an old Japanese tradition,  from over 200 years ago, to eat soba noodles on New Year’s Eve.  About half of the population of Japan still follow this custom. The dish they eat is called Toshikoshi Soba or Year-Crossing Noodles. Sadao from Japan wrote to me about it: "On New Year’s Eve, we would eat […]

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Ira Congo – Choir and Girl Scout Song

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 […] Read more »

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