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Christina Stewart

Lullabies of Loss

Added on 10 February 2014

I have been invited to contribute to Lullabies of Loss.  Hanna Yaffe has collected lullabies from around the world expressing the perspectives of mothers in a time of loss, especially military conflict.

Her collection includes Jewish songs alongside Palestinian, and mothers' voice from First World War Belgium and Armenia.

As Hanna writes :

These lullabies were composed in the context of trauma and contain stark contrasts, the melody communicates sweetness and love, while the words relate fear and darkness.It is the lyrics that can really express the pain of parenting in the worst of times. The devastating psychological effects on these mothers and children have far reaching effects on the societal fabric and on all levels of human interaction and relationships.

My own contribution, "Bà, Bà, mo Leanabh Beag" has its roots in the potato famine which began in 1846 in the Scottish Highlands and which came on the heels of the more widely known Irish potato famine.  The famine was one of the catalysts which led so many Highlanders to leave their homeland.