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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Here’s a quick podcast about why chopsticks became more popular for eating than silverware in some countries…
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Here’s a wonderful song for preschoolers and kindergartners to learn about the head and face. This song is sung in English in Cameroon, Africa.  It was sung for us by Nyango M. Nambangi. MP3 Recording of I Have a Head I Have a Head I have a head, a head, I have a head,...
Anigur is a traditional musical game in Mauritania that’s been around for a long time.  Two people dance and duel with sticks to a beat.  The spectators play the drums or clap to encourage them on. This game is played more for amusement than anything else.  It’s played at weddings and special events too. You...
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Written by Sadao Mazuka in Japan. The tune to "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" comes from Europe in the 18th century.  It has travelled all over the globe, from France, to the US, to Japan.  Here’s a breakdown of the route it’s taken… 1752 (France) – Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau composed the original tune to "Go Tell Aunt...
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Eric Hill, author of the Spot the Dog children’s books, passed away this week at 86.  Hill created Spot for his young son in 1976.  In 1980, he created the first lift-the-flap book to ever exist called "Where’s Spot?".  He came up with the "lift-the-flap" design after he had seen it on advertising flyers.  What...
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Sadao Mazuka sent us this article about the rainy season of June in Japan… June is a rainy season here in Japan.  The English word “June” gives us a feeling of bright and refreshing air, especially with a word such as, “June-Bride”.  But in Japanese, it’s “6月(Rokugatsu = June)”.  It makes us think of a rather...
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The Persian New Year is celebrated on the first day of Spring.  It’s called Nowruz.  There are many New Year traditions, including throwing grass into a river or lake.  Here’s what Fatima wrote from Iran about some New Year’s traditions: In the last month of the Iranian year people shake up the house (i.e. they clean...
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The expression "to tie the knot" means "to get married".   There are several places where tied knots have been connected to marriage and love. During Roman times, brides wore a belt or girdle at their wedding tied in a Hercules Knot. Only the groom was allowed to untie it (the unloosening was supposed to be a...
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 spell or...
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Today is the 70th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion (D-day)… which helped turned the tide of WWII in the allies favor. At this site, you can see interesting photos of Normandy on D-day and now.
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Shigin is a way of reciting poems in Japanese that most likely dates back to the 5th century.  The poems are chanted, often before an audience.    We’re lucky enough to have a Shigin recitation of the famous Haiku poem, “Furuike ya” (Old Pond).  The poem was recited by Shihoko Mazuka.  You can hear it below...
One of the most well-known forms of Japanese poetry is Haiku.  Yet there are many other forms of poems in Japan and it’s interesting to learn about them. Haiku poetry follows a pattern of 5-7-5.  That means the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 and the third line has 5 syllables.  Haiku...
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Eating bugs might sound disgusting to most of us today, but some people used to love it!  Maybugs or Cockchafers used to be a great nuisance to crops in Europe.  People were encouraged to hunt them down to lower their population.  There’s even a French song about hunting Maybugs called Il était un petit homme...
Here’s a video from Malawi of two guys singing a nice little song.  The song is sung in English and Chichewa.  The English lyrics are: "Because I’m a lonely lad who cannot find my way." If anyone knows the Chichewa lyrics (with a translation if possible), please comment below or email me. Thanks! Mama Lisa PS We’ve just added a...
The great American poet Maya Angelou passed away today at 86.  In honor of her life and work, I’m posting this recording she did of her children’s poem, "Life Doesn’t Frighten Me at All".  You can listen to it below. RIP Maya Angelou.
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One summer, my husband and I visited Montreal where we had an amazing cucumber soup with a spoonful of raspberry sherbet in the middle.  I’ve been making this soup every summer since then.  It’s a wonderful meal on a hot day. Recipe for Creamy Cold Cucumber Soup with Raspberry Sherbet Ingredients 6 Small Cucumbers (peeled, seeded and...
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The following video features a song in Mongolian and English by the group, Modern Children.  It’s based on a Mongolian folk song.  Here are the Mongolian lyrics that the kid sings at the beginning of the video and the band later sings the same verse: Mongolian Pronunciation: Nana nana NaaSir Shuder Shuder Tsasai ...
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I highly recommend the History of English Podcast.

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Can Anyone Help with a (Welsh?) Song "Terlinden, Teroden"?

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 any idea... Read more »

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