Sweet Lullaby

In 1970, the Swiss-French ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp recorded a voice sample of an old woman called Afunakwa from the province of  Malaita in the Solomon Islands singing a traditional lullaby “Rorogwela” in the local Baegu language. The recording was released by UNESCO as part of their Musical Sources collection and, in 1992, was remixed by the French world music/ethnic electronica musical group Deep Forest. The song became a hit in many European and Oceanic countries and the video (directed by Indian-American filmmaker Tarsem Singh) was nominated for several awards. It shows a little girl on a tricycle riding past some of the most iconic spots on the globe…Moscow, Great Wall of China, Varanasi, New York City, Barcelona…Everywhere she goes, she is confronted with shapes and actions the semiotic equivalents of which can be located in her very homeland. Thus, the findings of adventure become validations of what’s already possessed, and exploration turns into a constant homecoming.

Watch the video and read an English translation below. The lyrics tell the tale of a young orphan being comforted by his older brother after the loss of their parents.

 

 

Baegu lyrics in English (by User “SilentRebel83” of lyricstranslate.com)

Little child, little child be calm
Even though you still weep
Your father has left us
Protect the elderly, protect the orphan.

Little child, little child be calm
Even though you still weep
Your father has gone to the afterlife
Protect the elderly, protect the orphan.

—-

In 2006, the song gained more popularity when the American traveller Matt Harding used it as the background score for a video compilation of his own globetrotting adventure.

 

 

 

Image Credit:

Featured: Screenshot of “Sweet Lullaby”, Deep Forest via Vimeo. Used for illustrative purposes only. No Copyright Infringement intended.

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2 thoughts on “Sweet Lullaby

  1. As a general statement concerning all of your blogs, all of which I now follow, I again must thank you. You are giving me something I’ve been seeking and putting it all in one place so I can experience what you share, then explore more deeply the things that touch me the most. Thank you for sharing your intelligence and education in such a beautiful way.

    Liked by 1 person

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