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All Around This World South and Central Asia (See ya!)
This week we look back on our adventures in South and Central Asia with wide-eyed wonder. Think about how many miles we've traveled! We started in India where we danced like movie stars, went to Pakistan where we held our breath as we wrestled, kept on keepin' on into Afghanistan where we danced in circles. In Uzbekistan we danced with our hands, in Kyrgyzstan we met a hero and an heroic horse. In Tuva we sang with our throats, in Western China we met the Uighurs and built a circular house, in Tibet we took a breath and said, "OM." We ended in Nepal, where we climbed Mount Everest, and finally in Bhutan where we celebrated the end of the rain. Three months of explorations, thousands of miles of open road. We learned about a region of the world that is increasingly intertwined with the West -- economically, technologically, certainly musically -- but stands on the shoulders thousands of years of history; change is both always happening and not likely to happen any time soon.  

This week in class we sing: 

All Around This World welcomes kids to class during the South and Central Asian season with  "Ilelele,"  a rollicking song about welcoming all visitors to the village.  (More.)

We start every "All Around This World" class with "We Are Happy," a greeting song from Uganda. 

"Taralilalalai" is a "sozanda," part of a ancient repertoire performed mainly by Jewish female performers in the city of Bukhara. “Taralilalalai” translates roughly as “la la la” and “yar eh” means “my dear.” (More.)

The original version of "Dudurai" tells the story of a Russian girl, Maria, who loves a Kazakh boy, Dudur, despite her family's objections based on the longstanding conflict between Russians and Kazakhs. (More.)

"Ut Re Moora" is a universal song about the peaceful feeling of waking up before dawn on the farm. (More.)

"Dhe Dhe" is Southern Indian song we first heard on the Smithsonian Folkways Folk Music of India (and known there as "Tamil Folk Song.") In class we use this to sing about our kids' clothes, especially if they come adorned with spaceships, unicorns and bunnies.    


Let's allow ourselves to come full circle, returning to where we started -- India, and the magical Bollywood film industry. When we were in India a few months ago we learned a bit about Bollywood dancing, but there would be nothing to dance to if not for all those exuberant Bollywood songs. WHO SINGS ALL THOSE SONGS? Not the actors! Bollywood actors and actresses are certainly stars in their own right, but the vast majority of them lip-synch while "playback singers" do the actual singing. Playback singers such as Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar and sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Boshle have literally sung thousands of songs in Bollywood films. While elsewhere around the world filmmakers may defer to the fancy actors and pretend "behind-the-scenes" talent doesn't exist, in India playback singers have rightfully earned their fame . . . as have popular Bollywood composers such as A.R. Rahman who are equally instrumental (pun intended) in making the music happen. 

And now you know.