On June 21st All Around This World, a global cultures and world music program for kids and their families, will release All Around This World: Africa, a double CD set consisting of 32 songs drawn from most every corner the dramatically diverse continent of Africa. Jay Sand, All Around This World’s founder and lead teacher sourced and adapted the songs from two dozen nations, reaching from the Algeria in the north to South Africa, from Ethiopia in the east to Guinea in the west, from the northewestern islands of Cape Verde to “megadiverse” Madagascar off the southeastern coast. Below, Jay suggests 7 engaging ways to experience African music and culture with your family.
— Shake your shoulders with the eskista!
The eskista, Ethiopia’s most popular traditional dance, gives the legs and hips a rest and instead relies on intense shaking of the shoulders. Join Jay in dancing the eskista to All Around This World’s adaptation of the1980s Ethio-jazz hit, “Nanu Nanu Ney.”
— Meet the Maghreb [Sample of a typical Explore Everywhere post (pdf)]
In this post we briefly meet North Africa and introduce the concept of the Maghreb, then leap firmly into marriage by participating in the unique Berber Imilchil Marriage Festival, even though we are not Berber, not in Imlichil and not at all interested in getting married. Background and step-by-step instructions | A “Try This at Home” video version
— What’s your name in “drum?”
Nigeria’s “talking drum” is a uniquely expressive hourglass-shaped percussion instrument whose pitch the musician can control by squeezing or releasing ropes attached to both ends. Because of these changes in pitch the drum can “talk,” and it sure has a lot to say! This video will invite kids to translate their own personalities into a series of tones and “talk” them to each other on a drum.
— Swirl your hips and yell KWASSA!
Kwassa kwassa!! The energizing Congolese dance known as the “kwassa kwassa” inspires dancers to move their hands in circles, following the motion of their circling hips, while their legs jiggle and sway. Dance along with Jay to All Around This World’s version of Kanda Bongo Man’s soukous classic, “Sai.”
— The Gumboot Code
“Gumboot dancing” developed as a literal survival mechanism for African workers enduring the deplorable conditions in Apartheid-era South African mines who would communicate each other in rhythmic codes by slapping and stomping in their hip high boots. Join Jay for a simple start.
— Off the northwestern coast: Cape Verde
Celebrate Carnival in the Cape Verde islands, a former Portuguese colony that was a common maritime rest stop on the route of the slave trade between Africa and the Americas. Despite that dark distinction, Cape Verde also provided a conduit for Portuguese music and culture to travel to Brazil.
— Off the southeastern coast: Madagascar
Leap like Malagasy lemurs
Madagascar is a massive island off the southeastern coast of Africa that is considered “megadiverse,” not just due to its extreme biological diversity but also because of the multiple African/Indian/Persian/French influences present in its culture. Here Jay shows you how to poke around the rapidly disappearing Malagasy forest like an odd little lemur, the aye aye.
The All Around This World:Africa double CD set will be available online on June 21st. You can join Jay on an African adventure today by subscribing to “Explore Everywhere,” All Around This World’s always-online daily learning program, currently digging deep into African lessons. Until June 21st, support Jay’s “1000 Classroom Campaign.” Pledge just $25 to enable him to give year-long subscriptions to Explore Everywhere to 1000 School Classrooms or Homeschooling Groups worldwide.
All Around This World: A Global Music and World Cultures Experience for Kids and their Families
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