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Singing the Year to Sleep

Author John Cech
Air Date 12/31/2001

Singing the Year to Sleep Transcript

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That’s part of a Lebanese lullaby sung by Ashraf Sweilam, in which a father comforts his child, the flower of his heart, weaving a soft blanket of his eye-lashes to cover the baby, the light of the child’s smile taking the place, for the father, of the very stars. It’s New Year’s Eve, and what could be a better, calmer way to say goodbye to the old year than with lullabies from around our planet. There are thirty-two of these precious songs on the CD, “The World Sings Goodnight, 2” — part of the sales of which go to benefit the Save the Children Foundation. Many of the songs contain only the human voice, the most ancient instrument of parents, but others may have a drum, an accordion, an oud or kora, or the sound of the ocean waves to accompany them. Most are gentle assurances of love and safety, but some are playful warnings, like Juliana Meira Valle’s Brazillian lullaby that cautions the child she is babysitting to be good and sleep or the cucca monster might come:

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So journey with these voices tonight — to Nepal and Armenia, Argentina and Vietnam, Sweden and Mali — and what you will find in these moving songs is that they are telling us that there are some things that cross the boundaries of nations and cultures, religions and politics. And these things are spoken to us in the tender language of the heart, the language that we all know and that, in the end, brings us together into one family.

Posted in Music