recess radio program

03/17/06
Celtic Lullaby
    by John Cech

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You're hearing a portion from "My Gysgi, Di Maban" ("Me Giskee, De Mahban") as sung by the Welsh choral group, Plethyn ("Plythin"), from Celtic Lullaby, a CD from Ellipsis Arts. Today is Saint Patrick's Day, and everything is turning green and lovely, like the 18 songs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and other Celtic lands represented here. According to the introduction to this remarkable collection, a nineteenth century commentator on Irish folksongs claimed that "the Celts have no lullabies; they are too warlike" -- but he surely hadn't listened to the tender lyrics of the Welsh song you've just heard, which, translated, read:

"You'll sleep my baby, you'll sleep softly
Your face as tranquil as a summer's day,
Your fingers slacken as you let go my hand
You'll sleep my baby, and the morning will come."

Nor could he have paid much attention to the traditional, wordless Scottish lullaby called "Cold Frosty Morning," played here by Chris Norman.

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And he certainly wouldn't have understood an unwed mother's heartbreaking lament in "Hishie Ba" ("Hishebah")-- sung on this CD by the incomparable Jean Redpath. Ach, and he never heard a harp, which in Ireland gives birth to the lullabye, certainly not the way Margie Butler plays it on "Morag's Cradle Song," like you and your children can hear it and be carried away by it to places where wars have ceased, and all is hushed and peaceful.

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Copyright 2006 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."