Lullabies Open Dreamy Worlds
Any song is a lullaby if it provides a soundscape to signal the mind that it’s time to rest. New parents have no time to track down the combination of melody and rhythm needed to lull their infant to sleep. This is where shower and baby gifts of music can work their magic quickly.
The best lullaby CDs soothe stressed-out parents long after the baby outgrows them. Lyrics don’t matter in lullabies as much as tone, which opens a world of music and languages to put your family to sleep.
The Music for Little People label offers lullaby brilliance by Bobby McFerrin and the late Freyda Epstein in their 2012 rerelease of MFLP’s 1994 Lullaby, A Collection. McFerrin’s haunting, wordless “Common Threads” and Epstein’s Japanese lullaby “Sakura/Owayare” join tranquil sounds from Judy Collins, Loreena McKennett, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and others who make this CD worth finding. The lullaby section at Music for Little People is full of great choices.
Audio: "Common Threads" by Bobby McFerrin
Charlie Hope’s (she’s a she) World of Dreams: Soothing Songs and Lullabies is a lovely collection of original songs whose simple titles like “My Balloon,” “Little One” and “Up in a Tree” are voiced in a hypnotically whispery style that feels like mommy improvising a cribside song. What differentiates this CD is the fine production and instruments backing Hope.
Video: "Loved" by Charlie Hope from World of Dreams
A Dreamy Series
Another label stop in your lullaby quest should be Putumayo Kids Music. Their Dreamland series of world music lullabies now includes Instrumental Dreamland, with a world of relaxation from the Spanish guitar (Damien Erwin’s take on “What a Wonderful World”), Japanese shamisen (a banjo-like instrument), ukulele (featuring prodigy Jake Shimabukuro) and other instruments. Europe, Asia, Africa and South America are represented on this magnificent collection, including Victor Johnson’s version of the classic “Brahms’ Lullaby.”
If you prefer lyrics with your lullaby, Acoustic Dreamland is a must-have. This folk-centric collection of North American artists includes soft sounds from Lucy Kaplansky and Elizabeth Mitchell in its lineup.
If understanding the lyrics doesn’t matter, seek out any of the previous multilingual Dreamland CDs (French, Asian, Celtic, African) or Dreamland: World Lullabies and Soothing Songs with a little bit of everything, including Carlos Santana (with Anjelique Kidjo).
Audio: “Pupu Hinuhinu” by Keola Beamer from Instrumental Dreamland
Audio: “Naima” by Anjelique Kidjo from Dreamland: World Lullabies and Soothing Songs
Audio: "Durme Durme” by Fortuna from Dreamland: World Lullabies and Soothing Songs
Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.