I’ve been sleeping a lot lately. Not when I’m supposed to, mind you, but soundly, when I can get it. Nothing seems to be able to put me to sleep at the appointed hour, however, when I’m worried about something or someone (mostly someone…things aren’t worth the bother).
It might be nice to have the luxury of a lullaby to help me to drift. Frank Dieter‘s “Fireflies in a Jar” comes closest, so far. I’m constantly in search of others.
Jim Blum introduced us to Dandling Songs – The kind of songs your mother might chant as she bounced you in rhythm upon her knee.
One such example is the lovely “Deandi, Deandi” – Aine Minogue (The Twilight Realm/Little Mil.)
One on which I was raised is a variation of “Ride a Little Pony“, and it was a delight:
Ride a little pony (bounce baby on your knee)
Ride to town (continue bouncing)
Ride a little pony (throw baby’s arms outward)
DON’T fall down! (lower baby backward, dropping your knee)
In the Middle East a similar ditty has the child riding the ankle on extended leg; riding a camel in slow, galumphing rhythm on pilgrimage to Mecca. I think that’s a charming variation, albeit more difficult to do, depending upon the size of the child!
One English speaking woman related to me that, as a young child, her European Spanish Nanny held her in her arms and sang to her traditional Spanish lullabys in rhythm native to that land. As a result, this child, now grown, felt more intimately bonded to the Nanny than to her own kin, and the Nanny’s culture became her own culture, down deep, where her soul lives. At the time, she didn’t understand the language, but that mattered little; music and closeness has language of it’s own.
What are some of your Dandling songs and Lullabys, and in what languages were they sung to you, and by whom?
Have you passed them on, or perhaps created new ones of your own?