the most beautiful top ten: lullabies
It started a few weeks ago, the visions. I started seeing a little girl with dark curly hair and heartbreaking softness. I don’t know if she is mine, well as much as any human being can “be” another’s, but I hope so. And I’ve imagined what I would sing to her. There is a dear one in my life, too, whose head I would more than anything simply like to hold in my lap and softly lull to peace with song and touch.
I do not remember any lullabies in my youth. Though I can’t say for sure, I do not remember my mother singing to my younger siblings, either. Ours was not a sooth and be soothed home, though there was certainly much love, passion, and activity to provide for us. I am grateful for the gifts of childhood, but know that it is perhaps the absence of lullabies then that makes them so present in my day to day thoughts now. I want to give what I most would have liked to have, in hindsight.
So, today I offer you the most beautiful thing my heart wishes to give… to her, to him, to myself, and to you. Here is my list of top ten most beautiful lullabies, with a little help from my friends. Please leave a comment with your favorite lullaby below, too, thanks!
Image by Ethe.
10. Hush Little Baby
A natural, this song is one of the first I ever learned. I think I first heard it in preschool. I remember straining to learn the lyrics. It’s a classic and a favorite of my friend Kristina, too.
9. Go To Sleep You Little Baby
Another classic, this americana ballad provides an irresistible foundation for stacks and stacks of gorgeous harmony. I particularly like the version sung by Alison Kraus, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and Patty Griffin. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of the song sung by the first three.
This song is also featured in the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou.
8. Brahm’s Lullaby
I never knew what this song was called until I started digging around for others’ favorite lullabies, too. I
7. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
“…up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky…” And though this video does not feature the song, it captures the spirit and is a stellar beginning animator’s work. Enjoy!
5. Frere Jacques (Are You Sleeping)
This is a favorite of my friend Danette is sung perfectly (or at least very sweetly) by this two-year-old (whom I do not know, but rather just stumbled upon on YouTube).
4. Baby Mine
This heartbreaker from the Disney movie Dumbo is not only something I’d love to sing to children, but I added it to my jazz/lounge set list a while back. Listen to a live recording from the night my band (The Boyfriend) and I played on KGNU radio (Boulder/Denver). Hope you like it!
3. Dream A Little Dream
Made famous by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day, among others, this is a real sweetie. My friend Pam sings the Mamma Cass (The Mamas & The Pappas) version to her girls all the time! I first remember hearing this song when I was eleven-years-old in the “two Corey’s” hit film of the same name. It’s probably stuck in my memory because I had a huge crush on Corey Haim (who around our age didn’t back then!).
2. Lullaby (Trad. Brazillian)
This instrumental was on an old Lullabies of the World CD I used to have and is seen here being played simply, sweetly and just about lulled me to sleep watching.
Seldom has any song been on repeat so often and continuously in my home. A song from Kenya about children bringing in cattle from the rain as performed by Ayub Ogada is among my favorites of all time for its soothing melody, imbera-plucked counter-melody, and lilting vocal delivery. I can listen to it for hours (and have). You may recognize it from the soundtrack to The Constant Gardener, though it has been around for a long time before the film.