THE STORY BEHIND NORTHERN LULLABIES
Oppdatert: 25. april 2020
Cover illustration by Hamdi Barakat
A little while ago I witnessed the mayhem of my nephew and niece facing their much-dreaded bedtime. A rapture of screams, stampedes and a colorful display of crafty tactics ensued as the little ones plunged into a desperate combat to prolong their night.
Thoroughly impressed by their resolve, it didn’t seem like much could be done except to let them battle it out with their parents. In what I initially believed to be an optimistic – or naive – attempt, I still decided to slalom my way over to their living room piano. Quietly I set out with the minor chords of Trollmors vaggsång, a Swedish lullaby from 1943. Already by the second verse, you could only hear music filling the house. The screams had turned to calm conversations, and shortly later the kids were in bed. I kept playing until their mother came to me with an expression of shock-filled awe. «I’ve never seen them so calm», she whispered. «Will you please record these lullabies, so I can play these for them every evening?». I had long toyed with the idea of recording some of the old lullabies that we in Norway call «vuggeviser» and «bånsulls». I grew up in Hamburg (Germany) and San Francisco (California) from the age of 6 till 16, so Norwegian folk songs and classical music became a pathway I often utilized to feel connected to the country I was born in. Lullabies are special. My parents sung these melodies to me, and I’m singing them to my daughter now.
A piano recording will never come anything close to the nearness, comfort and safety of a mother’s voice, but one of the many marvelous things about this instrument is its ability to create a warm space. The sound of a good place to be. That is what I hoped to achieve with this recording. I hope that families will want to put this music on as the day winds down, and that it might even sometimes contribute in making a dark evening feel slightly warmer and lighter. Just that may be especially important now in the spring of 2020.
You can listen to the album Northern Lullabies here.
Out on CD in Scandinavia now – USA and Germany in May.
Released worldwide by Naxos Records / NXN Recordings