Until the Light of Morning – CD review

“I have just come downstairs from singing my children to sleep. What a wonderful experience. No fighting or tears, just two sweaty little bodies gradually growing limper in my arms as slumber and song intertwined and lulled them, my words perhaps painting the start of their dreams.

“Bedtime here is usually books and cuddles, sometimes a CD. Perhaps ours is the first generation not to soothe our children to sleep with song. We have so many other options. And so can forget the power and the simplicity of our mother voices, singing the songs of our ancestors, passing on melody and words to the next generation.”
So started my winter Dreaming Aloud column in JUNO  (for the full article see below). For regular readers of this blog you will know that sleep is a MAJOR issue in this house. Getting to sleep is no joke… nor staying asleep! Last night was a perfect example, you would need fingers and toes both to count the amount of wakings we had. Today mama and papa bear are distinctly grizzly.

So I was delighted when soon after sharing my love of lullabies a wonderful new CD of lullabies arrived on my doorstep. No Twinkle, Twinkle, or Lavender’s Blue here, thank God. We have paid our penance for unknown crimes committed in past lives, and played our numerous standard lullaby CDs to death – even the funky Elvis-style version of There Was a Crooked Man.  I am very sorry to report that they are now all too scratched to listen to. Ah well! They are no longer needed. There is a new kid on the block!

Said the sea to the little fish

“Oh your tail can really swish!”
Said the fish to the big blue sea
“Oh you take good care of me!”

Until the Light of Morning is a collection of original songs accompanied by baby glockenspeil, guitar, and piano. and the ethereal voice of Essie Jain. Written to appeal to both children and their parents, the melodies are gentle and the words divine:

Fall into dreams
And the night sky will gleam
Lay down
As the moon is crowned
And the stars hang down over your head tonight

Jain is a recording artist with a following in the world of grown up music (who, I’ll admit, I’d never heard of, but that doesn’t say much! My general musical education stalled at the age of 19 with Ben Harper). 

Having been told enough times that her voice was soothing, and hearing from friends and family members who were new parents and were fed up with traditional lullaby CDs, she put the two together and came up with this. And I’m so glad she did. Though my two-year-old says that she doesn’t want to listen to “baby music”, I put it on almost every night because I and my five year old love it. It is hypnotic in its effect, gently lulling busy brains and bodies into sleep as it travels from modern nursery rhymes to pure instrumental, intended to mimic the slowing heartbeat.

I’m not afraid of the dark
I’m just a baby, baby, baby…

She might say she doesn’t like it but it’s sinking in. She crawls into our bed in the middle of the night “I’m not afraid of the dark!” she whispers.

A review of this CD will appear in the Spring issue of JUNO magazine, available from 1st March from health food shops, Borders and alternative baby shops, and of course by subscription. 

Essie Jain has confirmed her first live show, a matinee appearance at London’s Union Chapel on March 12 (onstage 1.30pm). This family friendly event has free entry and a selection of performers to entertain both parents and children. For more info: http://lightofmorning.com

Dreaming Aloud Column – Winter 2010 – The lost art of lullaby

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