New Video - Sisi Sima!

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I recently revisited one of my favorite songs from Rabbit Days and Dumplings, a Tibetan jump rope song called Sisi Sima, during these first two weeks of physical distancing. 

Ms. Sonam Lhamo (ex tipa) and three young students from her Tibetan Sunday School recorded this song with joy and energy, and hung out with me one afternoon in one of my favorite parks in NYC, Flushing Meadows park in Queens. The footage has been sitting idle for so many years, I decided to take this opportunity to create this simple video! With my limited video-making skills, I was inspired by a Sesame Street short from 1970, in which a group of kids run around a zoo and play. Thanks to Techung, and all of these great musicians for teaching me this song! Now let’s jump rope!

Diu Diu Deng - new music video!

Artist Maiko Kikuchi has created a magical and imaginative world in this video for the Taiwanese train song Diu Diu Deng, inspired by the countryside of Taiwan. I learned this song from my friend Ya Yun Teng, who can be heard singing on it and seen with her daughter in the video. I immediately loved the simple and catchy tune, and the playful sound of the Taiwanese words. Diu Diu Deng is about a train chugging through a tunnel as droplets of water fall from the tunnel ceiling onto the roof of the train. The drops make the sound “Diu Diu,” like a flipping coin landing on the floor. The song features the incredible Wu Man on the pipa (a plucked Chinese string instrument) and Dan Zanes picking away on the banjo.


See more from Maiko here:

Dan Zanes' House Party Songbook!

In December, Dan Zanes released his House Party songbook treasury, which features 64 songs from the past fifteen years of Dan Zanes and Friends music-making. The book is notated with help from Claudia Eliaza and beautifully illustrated by Donald Saaf. House Party includes lyrics, chord charts, history, essays, and everything else for parents, kids, educators, folk enthusiasts and more to enjoy the songs and sing along. Including two songs from Rabbit Days and Dumplings: Anta Gata Doko Sa and Diu Diu Deng! 

New Video: Zui Zui Zukkorobashi! 

This is one of my favorite “nonsense” songs, a fun kids' tune from Japan. The song accompanies a simple game that kids will play with their hands, based on the song's rhyme. The rhyme features some made-up words that are really fun to say ("zui zui zukkorobashi!"), something about a tea urn tumbling, a mouse in a rice basket that squeaks ("chu! chu! chu!"), and a mother and father trying to figure out who broke a rice bowl. The meaning is a mystery, but the song is pure joy. 


This video, created by illustrator and animator Jordan Young, captures the playfulness and mystery of the song. He brings it to life with these lovable characters!

"Anta Gata Doko Sa" Music Video!

The video for this song "Anta Gata Doko Sa" ("Where are you from?") was made by the incredibly talented artist Lauren Gregory. She and Elena grew up on the same block in Oak Ridge, TN and many years later crossed paths in Brooklyn, NY!


The song is often sung while playing with a red bouncing ball. The title Anta Gata Doko Sa means “Where are you from?” The first half is an answer to that question (“I am from Higo.” “Where is Higo?” “It is in Kumamoto. It is in Senba.”), and the second half describes the sad fate of the tannuki, a raccoon-like creature that roams around Mount Senba.

"Sol Nal" Music Video!

This joyous Korean song celebrates the new year ("Sol Nal" means New Year in Korean).  Reimagined by Elena Moon Park and Friends, the song is about family, new year's day customs,  renewal, and, of course, birds. This video shot was shot on a very humid afternoon, on a very smart phone, in about an hour at Festival Five headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. With Dan Zanes, Sonia De Los Santos, and Colin Brooks!


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