Projects | Commissioning Fund | Professional Development
Ask any mother whether they sing their
child to sleep, chances are they will tell you in an embarrassed
way that they "just sing Hush Little Baby" or "something
silly I make up on the spot..." But women have a habit of
belittling what they do, and one of WiM's awards goes to two
women who recognise the importance of the lullaby.
Karine Polwart and Corrina Hewat are traditional
musicians living and working in Scotland. They will be using
their award to create MotherSong, an original work based on traditional
"A lot of local lullabies are in danger
of being lost," says Karine. "In Scotland ballads have
been prized above all else because lullabies don't translate
as a showpiece for performance."
MotherSong will no doubt challenge this
perception as it is created in collaboration with local women's
singing groups in seven different areas in Scotland. The two
women will also run workshops with mother and toddler groups,
to teach, exchange and create lullabies.
"We were absolutely flabbergasted
when we won the award," said Corrina. "Then when we
told the Scottish Arts Council they said 'Let's help as well!'
and gave us a further £6,000!"
A big part of the expense will the costs
of travelling to reach areas as far afield as The Borders, Edinburgh,
Glasgow, Inverness, Mull, and Skye. "Music groups in these
areas operate quite separately," says Corrina. "And
we thought if we could try to tie all the groups together by
sharing the work and the lullabies between them it would be really
Research into the history of lullabies
will form an important part of the work. Consulting historians
like Margaret Bennett of the School of Scottish Studies, as well
as source singers such as Sheila Stewart on the East Cost, will
expand their already considerable knowledge of the song form.
"The more we go into it, the more
we realise that lullabies are actually really important,"
says Corrina. "This is what children are growing up with.
A lot of people don't know anything about their history, but
it is important to know about your history."
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