“Songs to See the World” is a wonderful collection of 14 children’s folk songs from many countries. Each is sung in the language of its native country. Seven performers ranging from children to adults recorded the music in the Performing Arts Center of Goshen College, a state-of-the-art facility. Randi Pickley, Eye2the World’s Director of Art Activities, coordinated these efforts. Here is a brief video clip describing the project: Included with the purchase of the songs are TWO bonuses.
- Bonus One includes descriptions of each song in two formats. You can download them for audio reception in both English and Spanish, or you can read the text descriptions which are provided in English only.
- Bonus Two includes creative activities related to each song. Some contain the sheet music for some songs and others provide illustrations which can be duplicated. The cognitive development of the students in different grades has been taken into account so that the songs can be relevant from P-K through and Intermediate grades and higher.
The entire package, including 14 songs, descriptions of each song, and the comprehensive set of activities are available online from this site for only $14.95.
First of all, this album has been recorded by ordinary folks as well a professionals musicians because we believe that music should be shared and enjoyed with friends, no matter what the level of their ability. Among our ranks you’ll find opera singer, a professional guitarist, and a music teacher…. but you’ll also find a retired scientist, school children, and a mom. The point is that ANYONE can join in the songs, and in the process, learn a little bit about other cultures.
We have tried to give all of you a starting place to explore other cultures. We don’t pretend to speak each of these languages as a native of that culture would, but we have made an effort to understand the nature of the music, give you a little background on the songs, and allow you to become familiar with the flavor of each ethnic style.
Song 1: Sing A Rainbow
Alright, let’s begin with “Sing A Rainbow”, a song written by Arthur Hamilton, a composer from the United States of America. Rainbows are often thought of as symbols of hope…a promise of better things to come. There are many stories about how they began and about their meaning. One story tells of Leprechauns (small magical creatures) who hide their gold in pots hidden underneath the rainbow’s end. Not too many of us have seen where the rainbow ends, but is a delightful idea just the same. “Sing A Rainbow”, invites people of every kind and color to join together in peace and harmony…just as the many colors in the rainbow combine to form a thing of great beauty, while maintaining their own unique identity,
Song 2: Die Katze Lief Im Schnee
This children’s song hails from Germany. It is sometimes sung in different German dialects. In one, the word “Schnee” is pronounced with a long “e” as in “shnee”. In another it can be pronounced similar to a long “a” sound, as in “shnay”. You will hear a mixture of both in this recording. AND I’M GOING TO READ IT FOR YOU WITH THE “SHNEE” DIALECT. THE RECORDING OFFERS A PRONUNCIATION GUIDE IN THE “SCHNEE” DIALECT.
Song 3: Sarasponda
Often sung around campfires, this Dutch song is said to imitate the sounds a spinning wheel makes when yarn is being spun. There are other versions of its origin as well, but whatever its background, it’s just plain fun to sing. The background music is sung with the syllables “Boomda Boomda” over and over again on the same note, while the melody floats above it.
Song 4: This Little Piggy
This original song from the United States combines a variety of traditional nursery rhymes. The lyrics to the chorus are from a game that parents from many cultures play with their infants. In this game, each of the baby’s toes, called “piggies”, take part in the game. Traditionally, the last little piggy goes “Wee Wee Wee all the way home”, and since he already went home, he’s not in this song. Therefore, the words for the chorus are: This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, and this little piggy had, had none. This little piggy had none.” The chorus is sung in unison at the beginning and then continues on throughout the piece underneath the verses. It ends when the melody sings “London Bridge is falling down”.
Song 5: To The Greenwood
“To The Greenwood” is a song from British history that is sung in a round. The term “round” means that each verse can be started at different points and still sung together at the same time. There are three different verses in this song with three different melodies that can be sung as rounds, each by themselves. The first time through each verse is sung solo, without the confusion of hearing the other verses at the same time. “To The Greenwood” is combined with other songs (that are also rounds) to form a much larger round.
Song 6: Frere’ Jacques
“Frere’ Jacques” is a French tune that can be sung as a round. The title means “Brother John”. It is interwoven with the songs, “To The Greenwood” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.
Song 7: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
This traditional American song is also a round which can be sung with four different starting points. It is joined with “To The Greenwood” and “Frere’ Jacques” in the next track to form a great big international round!
Song8: International Round
“Row, Row, Row your Boat” begins this round, followed by “Frere’ Jacques”. Then “To The Greenwood”. is added. In order to end all three songs at the same time, we asked the first two parts to repeat the last section of their songs, but it also works to let each group finish their songs as they come.
Song 9: Drill Ye Tarriers
In the early days of the railroads in the United States, workers called “Tarriers” had to prepare the land before laying down the rails. It was hot, tiring, and often dangerous work since explosives were used in the process. A true folk tune, this lighthearted song has many verses which tell the story of a “tarrier” who got too close to an explosion. After being tossed high in the air and then returning to earth, he was told by his boss that the company didn’t pay for time not-worked, and he wouldn’t receive money for the time he was up in the sky.
Song 10: The Skunk Song
This bouncy American song has a moral: Don’t stick your nose in places it doesn’t belong. The “pshhh” sound at the end of the song is the skunk’s comment on the subject.
Song 11: Sur le Pont d”Avignon
There is a bridge in d’Avignon, France, on which the townsfolk used to gather and dance. The instructions for the dance steps are given in this traditional song between each chorus. First the gentleman are instructed to do a certain step, which they do together, usually in a circle. Then the ladies are asked to do a different step. As the song progresses, the steps may represent what different characters do: soldiers, babies, dolls, good friends, musicians, gardeners, etc. The chorus simply says “On the bridge of Avignon, they are dancing. On the bridge of Avignon, everyone is dancing in a circle.”
Song 12: Lulazje Jezuniu
One of the most popular Christmas carols in Poland, “Luazje Jezuniu” is a lullaby for the baby Jesus. The Polish has some tricky pronunciations, especially if you look at how the words are spelled, so I’ll speak them slowly for you.
THE RECORDING OFFERS A PRONUNCIATION GUIDE.
Song 13: Congorito
“Congorito” is a South American song from Peru. It contains many humorous stories, but we’ve chosen only two. Each verse is sung as a solo, then repeated while everyone joins in. All sing the chorus together with harmony. You can hear traditional Peruvian instruments being played in the background. And if you listen carefully, you can feel the nature of the rhythm change when the verse moves into the chorus.
The first verse explains that someone is coming, but noone knows who it is. Suddenly everyone starts running the opposite direction, so the singer decides he’d better run, too!
The second verse tells of the street lamps which use candles, instead of electricity, to produce light. The lamps are being lit by the town’s lamplighter, but the singer keeps blowing them out after they’re lit!
Song 14: The Good Bye Song
The Goodbye Song was written for school children who must say farewell to their friends as summer vacation begins, knowing that all will be well when they meet again the following school year. It is also used at summer camps, having formed friendships that can continue long after the campers have grown past their camp adventures.
So now that you’ve had a chance to better understand these songs, start over at the beginning of the CD and just sing for the fun of it. It doesn’t have to be perfect… just enjoyable. And don’t forget to invite your friends to sing along with you, too!
List of Performers
- Sing a Rainbow – (USA) – Brinden Brown, Joan Clayborn, Randi Pickley (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Die Katze lief im Schnee—(Germany)—Cecilia Collins (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Sarasponda—(Netherlands)—all seven performers (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- This Little Piggy—an original work – (Britain)—Brinden Brown, Randi Pickley, Joan Clayborn (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- To the Greenwood—(Britain)—Brinden Brown (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Frere’ Jacque—(France)—Cecilia Collins and Randi Pickley (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat—(USA)—Joan Clayborn, Carson Collins (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- To the Greenwood (Brinden Brown) , Frere’ Jacque (Cecilia Collins and Randi Pickley), Row, Row, Row Your Boat (Carson Collins and Joan Clayborn) – sung in three part round (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Drill Ye Tarriers—(USA and Ireland)—Carson Collins (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- The Skunk Song—(USA)—Brinden Brown (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Sur le pont d’Avignon—(France)—Brinden Brown (Randi Pickley and Nayo Ulloa on guitars)
- Lulaizje—(Poland)—Randi Pickley (with Joan Troyer on piano)
- Congorito—(Peru)—Nayo Ulloa joined by all others on responses and chorus (Nayo Ulloa on guitar)
- The Goodbye Song—an original work – (Goodbyes from Germany, France, and the USA) Brinden Brown and Randi Pickley