"African Lullaby"
    by John Cech

In the liner notes for her remarkable new CD, African Lullaby, producer Shana Dressler refers this ancient musical form as "love songs for children." And of course she is right -- there is something that calls to the heart of the child from the heart of the singing adult in these lovely, haunting songs -- many of which seem as old as time itself.

Mor Dior Bamba, a renowned singer from Senegal, guides us close to the pure, traditional source of the lullabye and its power to soothe the child with sounds and rhythms, in a lullabye that his mother sang to him:

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Others are wistful, playful. This Ugandan lullabye sung by Samite tells about all the good things that are waiting for the child "in the sleep world" -- oranges, passion fruits, sweet water, and wonderful games:

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In "Diyoré," Abou Sylla from Guinea, sings about not being able to get a child to stop crying -- it's a song that's meant to lift a care-giver's spirits as much as it is to amuse a restless child:

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"Mayo Mpapa," which translates from the Icibemba language of Zambia as "Mother Carry Me, " is about deep cultural values; in it the child asks to be carried by her mother, and in return the child promises one day to care for her. Here's the award-winning singer Muriel Mwamba:

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These songs are valentines for every child, to rock with, in the cradle of civilization's soul.

Copyright 2003 John Cech

Today's program reviewed the following work:

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."