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World canons
Combatting “ism”s in our music classrooms
Continuing to Collect Songs from our own communities:




I’m Joan Litman, a (very) seasoned music educator with a passion for traditional and international folk songs. If you are a school or other music educator who wants to broaden your repertoire of global songs, you’ve come to the right place!

This is my name, Joan Litman, in Arabic calligraphy.

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This site features folk songs, singing games, and dances I’ve learned from real folks from around the world.


My vision is to share these songs with music teachers everywhere and to engage us all in in-depth and thoughtful conversations. My hope is always to be culturally sensitive.


The stars of this project are the songs. Each song has all or most of these elements:


1. Audio recording of the lyrics; one sung and one spoken

2. Score

3. Video recording or link when available

4. Translation of the song’s text into English with accompanying paraphrases as necessary to make the meaning accessible

5. Information on cultural context

6. Suggestions for accompanying classroom activities such as storytelling, drama, and simulation

7. Links to additionally relevant musical and educational resources

Envisioning Iraq's bright future! copy.j


Some of the songs come directly from their native lands. Others come from U.S. communities where people have have shared rich materials from their lands of origin.

We always aspire to...

  • Pique our students’ curiosity (and our own)

  • Stimulate our students' enthusiasm (and our own)

  • Perhaps even to replace some of the cultural dissonance in our school communities with interest and respect.

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Conversations with folks who have known the songs as their own will be an important part of this website.

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