recess radio program

5/07/04
Mother's Day, In Song From Africa
    by John Cech

 

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That's the incomparable Floxie Bee the Hikosso Queen, with the beginning of one of the most popular songs from Nigeria, and indeed from all of Africa -- "Sweet Mother." It appears on a new cd from Elipsis Arts called Lullabies and Cradle Songs from the Motherland and it's arrived just in time for a musical Mother's Day celebration in your home this weekend.

Mother's Day, of course, isn't a purely American invention, and this recording reminds just how universal the feelings are for those who carry us into this life, who nurture us, and hug us, and comfort us, and call us "my light, my jewel" as Tigist Shibabaw does in her cradle song, "Eshururu." Cape Verdean mothers carry their children to dreams with "mornas" like Celina Pereira's "Eclipse":

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Mothers urge their children to make peace in the world, as Soulange, the Congolese singer does in the mournful, "Wapi Mama Yangu," about a child who has lost her mother to war. And perhaps most of all, mothers remind their children never to be discouraged, as Sammy from Madagascar explains, because -- "somebody always is remembering you, [even] if the wind is blowing dust into your face."

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Copyright 2004 John Cech

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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."