Music and Culture of the Eastern Mediterranean, For kids!

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Take a musical cruise with us and explore the rich musical culture of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as we play songs and show instruments from this fascinating area.

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This presentation highlights unique folk instruments and captivating music played around the Eastern shores of this great sea.   From the Greek islands to the Turkish coastline and down to Egypt, the music from these ancient lands has enchanted pharos, kings and emperors throughout their long history.

Learn about the dances of Greece, the drum language of Egypt, and see the evolution of musical instruments from ancient to modern times.

Listen to the sounds of folk instruments like the Sandouri, (Greek hammered dulcimer)  and Darbuka, (Middle Eastern goblet drum), Riq, (tambourine), as well as the modern instruments like clarinet, saxophone and guitar commonly used in folk music from theses areas.


With printable materials available to enhance the learning experience, we give historical anecdotes, show similarities between varied cultures, give interactive demonstrations of musical traditions and talk about our own unique experiences when traveling to Greece and Turkey.

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Enjoyable for all ages, this show offers a musical and visual introduction to the cultures and history of the Eastern Mediterranean!

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  • Sandouri, (Greek hammered dulcimer)
  • Klarino, (Turkish and Greek style clarinets)
  • Saxophone, (Commonly used in Balkan folk music to replace a bagpipe)
  • Nay,  (Middle Eastern end blown bamboo flute)
  • Guitar, (Common in Greek music)
  • Darbuka, (Middle Eastern goblet drum, used in many regions around the Mediterranean)
  • Riq, Defi and Tamborello (Tambourines used in folk music from Italy to Egypt)
  • Daouli or Tupan, (Folk bass drum common around the Mediterranean)
  • Zills, (Middle Eastern finger cymbals)
  • Frame drum and bendir, (Common percussion instruments)

Demonstrations of instruments and music will be accompanied by short descriptions of song lyrics, (sung in Greek), learning how to count to 3 in three languages (Greek, Arabic and Turkish), and learning to say a common Middle Eastern rhythm using the ancient rhythmic alphabet system.

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Music Around the Mediterranean at the Chicago Children’s Museum
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Dancing to a folk song from Tunisia
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More dancing……
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…and Marching!

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