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UNESCO’s Lullabies

Author John Cech
Air Date 9/19/2003

UNESCO’s Lullabies Transcript

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You’re hearing a traditional lullaby from far Northern Japan, in which a mother trills over her baby to make the sound that, to her, “seems as if the chiming of Gods’ bells in heaven is being showered upon the infant[s].”1 This song comes from Lullabies and Children’s Songs, a CD from UNESCO; it’s part of their series of recordings called “Listening to the World.”

When we listen to the rest of the world, and not just to the highly processed, slickly produced music that we’re accustomed to, our ears are filled with real, remarkable sounds. Two little girls from the Ivory Coast (where children learn to sing as soon as they can talk) make their complexly harmonized, poly-rhythmic music with just their voices and a stick that is scraped through the center of a nut:

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This ear-opening music will leave you breathless and amazed and refreshed, like these children from Cameroon, who press down on the palms of their hands in the water and make it sound like a magical, wonderful drum. Just listen:

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Descriptive notes for “Lullabies and Children’s Songs, ” ed. by UNESCO and Auvidis, in collaboration with the International Music, France, 1996.

Posted in Music