Lady Lullaby Links

Lady Lullaby Blog

Lullabies for babies, grown-ups and everyone in between!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Passing on Traditions to The Next Generation

Last week was the end of the Jewish High Holidays. I took part in them as cantorial soloist for our small community here in Iowa. As I was looking up songs for the various holidays I realized that, along with wanting to learn new songs, the ones I loved best were the ones I’d learned as a child. They reminded me of my parents, of my grandparents, of tradition.

“Bim Bom, Biri Biri Bom.” Who can resist words like that? My three year old granddaughter already knew that song when I sang it to her, and we were both delighted to sing it together. It doesn’t have any religious connotation but pure joy and thanks for the gift of life---and the gift of music to express that thanks. She’ll always know this song and know it’s a special part of her tradition.

Any minute now Christmas music will be coming at us from all corners. As annoying as it is sometimes, there is something about it that really does bring comfort and joy, and a rhythm to the year. In certain settings it is a beautiful and holy experience; in the mall it’s a part of the season that is special and different from the rest of the year.

When my South African friend, who has lived in the United States for many years, hears traditional African music, she melts. I tried to sing her an African lullaby and she patiently and proudly corrected my pronunciation---this is HER music, her country, and she knows it like she knows herself.

The author of a website called “Latest Christian News” wrote, “When a mother’s soft lullaby can make a kid fall into a quiet slumber, a superbly sung chorus can make the inner self of the kid open up in direction of spirituality.” Music opens something up inside all of us on the level of the heart and soul, and the music of our ancestors is already inside us, a part of that process.

Whatever your religious tradition and cultural background is, there is a wealth of music from that tradition that is more important to you than you probably realize. Pass it on—sing it, play it, share it with your children so that in time they can pass it on to theirs.

Sweet dreams,

Listen to "Biri Biri Bam":
Friday, October 7, 2011

Music In The Air

Music is in the air, if we stop to hear it. And in the street, and the cornfield. Listen to it, and then point it out to your children. I was just in downtown Chicago for a few days, downtown by the river, and the sounds of that great city are the symphony of modern civilization.

Sirens, of course---a fire truck, police car, and an ambulance each has its own musical pitch and rhythm. Honking, as annoying as it can be, is music. Notice the rhythm of trains on the tracks, and how they sound different far away and up close. Buses have a different rumbling sound than cars... If you can find the music in construction it becomes more tolerable—drilling, hammering, hollering.

Now back at home in Iowa, there are different pieces being played: birds, crickets, geese overhead, the wind, and being a small town, the whistle of the train night and day. In the suburbs there will be different sounds—lawnmowers, cars and motor cycles, kids playing outside. Then there’s the song of the ocean---waves, gulls, wind--like in the picture above of Cape Cod.

There is a wonderful book called “The Listening Book” by W. A. Mathieu. He describes the day when he discovered that there was more in the air than he’d ever heard before. “I remember the amazement in realizing--the more you listen, the more you hear . . . the delight in registering sounds that have always been present but that I’d never heard. The ecstasy of knowing this is a life-long experience, infinitely expandable, basically musical.”

Here is someone’s take on the musical sounds of New York City:

Enjoy the music of life that is all around, and teach your children to hear it too.

Sweet dreams,