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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Monique grew up eating Tortilla de patatas (potato omelet).  The recipe was passed down from her grandma to her mother. Tortilla de patatas is a type of potato omelet from Spain.  Tortilla in Spain is different from tortilla in Mexico and South America (where it’s a thin flatbread). Tortilla originally meant small cake.  Tortilla de […]
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Mama Lisa’s World now has a song, rhyme or proverb from every country in the world! You can access them all at the links below: Countries and Cultures: Countries A to Z  Languages: Languages A to Z If you’re curious about the numbers, that’s: 242 Countries & Cultures and 229 Languages A great, big thanks […]
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Printemps (Springtime) is a lovely French poem written by Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885).  Below you can hear the poem recited and follow along with the original French text and an English translation… MP3 of Printemps by Victor Hugo Printemps Voici donc les longs jours, lumière, amour, délire ! Voici le printemps ! mars, avril […]
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Playing real video games for fun is a great way to improve your foreign language skills. I’m talking about games you’d want to play in your own language, not specifically language learning games. There are many fun games that are available in many different languages. I’m an early advanced French learner, so I understand enough […]
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Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world.  They have a simple formula.  In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door.  The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words.  Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
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Wondering what to do with your overripe bananas? Need a quick dessert to make? This Baileys Banana Ice Cream Recipe uses just 3 ingredients, takes care of those ole bananas and it’s simple to make… Quick Recipe for Bailey’s Banana Ice Cream Freeze slices of bananas for about 2 hours. Put in food processor with […]
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The Moribayassa is a dance of the Malinke people of West Africa.  It’s danced in Guinea, Mali and other West African countries.  When women need help with something very important -like becoming pregnant or healing from a sickness- they ask the spirit of Moriba Yassa for help.  The woman vows that when the wish is […]
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Flashcards are a good way to pick up new vocabulary in a foreign language. It’s good to use them as a supplement to other resources, because if you only use flashcards, you’ll get bored very quickly! There are three flashcard apps I’ve been using over the past couple of months to help expand my French […]
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Mamá te quiero mucho (Mommy, I Love You So Much) is a nice little new dual-language (Spanish/English) book that was just released!  It accompanies a wonderful song that singer/songwriter Sara Quintanar has shared with us in the past (here).  The book also includes a score to the song. Here’s a page from the book that […]
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Quirky Press has just released a new dual-language (Somali/English) book of 14 Somali Lullabies.  It includes a CD of the songs sung in Somali by Maryan Anshur.   Karin at Quirky Press was kind enough to share a recording of one of the lullabies with us!  You can hear it below and read along with the […]
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"To a Butterfly" was written by William Wordsworth in 1801.  When he was a kid, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy would chase butterflies in the summer. When he was about 8 years old his mother passed away. He and his sister were separated. He wrote two poems called "To a Butterfly" which seem to be […]
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Have you ever considered where the generic dog names Fido, Rover and Spot come from? These are the canine equivalent of "John Doe".  Did you know that one was a President’s dog, another the 1st movie star dog, and the last, a dog from a book that helped kids learn to read for over 40 […]
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Watch Darth Vader say, "I am your father" to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie in 20 different languages (as dubbed in the movies).  You can see a list of the languages with their voice actors below the video. Languages and Voice Actors: English (Original) – James Earl Jones Spanish (1980) – Isidro Olace […]
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  "The Moon-Baby" is a pretty poem that can be read or sung to young children before bedtime. The Moon-Baby There’s a beautiful golden cradle That rocks in the rose-red sky; I have seen it there in the evening air Where the bats and beetles fly, With little white clouds for curtains And pillows of […]
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"The Little Blue Bus is the debut album from Michael O’Halloran, celebrated Australian singer/songwriter (and former primary school teacher). It’s a 14 track collection of folk songs filled with gorgeous harmonies, lilting fiddle, washes of dobro (a resonator guitar), sweet mandolin and banjo and tells the tales of life in Australia, from the desert to […]
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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 […]
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Did you know that Japanese people do a circle dance to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw"? The version of the tune they dance to is a little slower and they call it the "Oklahoma Mixer"! Sadao Mazuka wrote to us about it from Japan: "In the description on Wikipedia, they say: ‘A slower […]
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Monique Palomares wrote about the meaning and history of the Native American song "Ani Couni"… Ani Couni is a Native American song that’s well known in many countries. Yet no one seems to know for certain its true origin. There are many variations of how the title and lyrics are spelled, sometimes Ani Couni, sometimes […]
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"Spring Song of the Swallow" is a lovely poem celebrating the joy of Spring. You can hear the poem sung in the recording below and read along with the text. MP3 Recording of Spring Song of the Swallow Spring Song of the Swallow by Marietta Holley Oh, the days are growing longer; So rang the […]

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Does Anyone Know the Rhyme, "Kerrikins, Kerrikins Where is your Nest"?

Kerrie Keyes wrote asking for help finding a rhyme.  Here’s her email: Just searching on the Internet for a rhyme my grandfather used to recite to me: Kerrikins, kerrikins where is your nest In the forest that I love best Between an oak, an ash, and an ivy tree, Cuckoo cherry tree Catch a bird […] Read more »

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