Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Memories of Lullabies

One of my first memories as a child is my father singing Sospan Fach (little Saucepan) to meI remember sitting on his lap and listening to him singing and watching him intently.  Then I remember singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, one of the traditional lullabies that I have sung with children for years.  I still sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with my own children, teaching them the actions and encouraging them to copy and join in. 

However it is Welsh lullabies that I return to time and time again.  There is something so soothing and calming about them, they are part of my heritage and something that I am continuing the tradition of passing  through the familyI don't know if it's the welsh language that I find calming and often captivating when hearing it sung or the fact I've been raised listening to them.  

It was only as I got older that I learnt that Sospan Fach was actually sung by The Llanelli Scarlet Welsh Rugby supporters.  Once I realised this it made sense to me as my father has and always will be a Scarlet supporter but to me its had a different meaning and I am pretty sure I am not the only child who was sung Sospan Fach by their father.  I have never really thought about the English translation but I have been searching for it to share with you, you'll see that it's not a lullaby but the way it was sung to me it will always be one to me.

Welsh 
Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi brifo, 
A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach. 
Mae'r baban yn y crud yn crio, 
A'r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach. 
Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân, 
Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr, 
A'r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.  

Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
A gwt ei grys e mas. 

Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi gwella, 
A Dafydd y gwas yn ei fedd; 
Mae'r baban yn y crud wedi tyfu, 
A'r gath wedi huno mewn hedd. 
Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân 
Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr 
A'r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.  

Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
Dai bach y sowldiwr, 
A gwt ei grys e mas. 

Aeth hen Fari Jones i Ffair y Caerau 
I brynu set o lestri de; 
Ond mynd i'r ffos aeth Mari gyda'i llestri 
Trwy yfed gormod lawer iawn o 'de' 
Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân 
Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr 
A'r gath wedi huno mewn hedd. 

English (literal translation) 

Mary-Ann has hurt her finger, 
And David the servant is not well. 
The baby in the cradle is crying, 
And the cat has scratched little Johnny. 
A little saucepan is boiling on the fire, 
A big saucepan is boiling on the floor, 
And the cat has scratched little Johnny.  

Little Dai the soldier, 
Little Dai the soldier, 
Little Dai the soldier, 
And his shirt tail is hanging out. 

Mary-Ann's finger has got better, 
And David the servant is in his grave; 
The baby in the cradle has grown up, 
And the cat is 'asleep in peace'. 
A little saucepan is boiling on the fire, 
A big saucepan is boiling on the floor, 
And the cat is 'asleep in peace'.  

Little Dai the soldier, 
Little Dai the soldier, 
Little Dai the soldier, 
And his shirt tail is hanging out. 

Old Mary Jones went to the fair in Caerau, 
To buy a tea set; 
But Mary and her teacups ended up in a ditch, 
Through the consumption of rather too much "tea". 
A little saucepan is boiling on the fire, 
A big saucepan is boiling on the floor, 
And the cat is 'asleep in peace'.

 Taken from Wikipedia  

It made me thinking about other Welsh lullabies that I know and those that I share with my children.  One of my favourites has to be Suo Gan. It's a traditional Welsh lullaby, the translation of Suo Gan is Suo = Lull Can = Song.  This soothing poignant lullaby about a  mother singing to her child while nursing.  I've found this video of Katherine Jenkins singing it here for you.  Every time I hear Suo Gan I can't help but stop and sit quietly listening, thinking about memories of my childhood, of my grandparents and others who are no longer with us.  It almost has a therapeutic quality for me. 



Another traditional Welsh folksong that I first learnt with my gran and then sang at school is Ar Hyd y Nos - All through the night.  It is now often heard sung in English just as much as in welsh.

         


A lot of the songs we sing with the children although not traditionally lullabies but more nursery rhymes are often sung at bedtime.  This is the case with Heno Heno Hen Blant Bach - Tonight, Tonight Little Children.  But to be honest I think it's how a song or rhyme is sung that makes it a lullaby as in the case of my father singing Sospan Fach.   

Back in February I heard the devastating news that a gorgeous little girl had died during the night.  That little girl was Matilda Mae, although I have never met Jennie(her mum) and her family, I know her through the parent blogging community which I am so proud to be a part of.  Since I started blogging I have tweeted with Jennie, we were pregnant at around the same time with Erin and Matilda and like many I have followed her blog at Edspire.  Jennie has continued to be a source of inspiration, she has continued sharing with us her thoughts and feelings about Matilda and this has never seized to amaze me, as through her writing we have seen a glimpse of her  love for Matilda, the gorgeous little girl who's smile was contagious.  Since Matilda Mae's death from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Jennie has worked with FSID to raise awareness of SIDS and to help others who have lost their cherished children to this cruel syndrome.          

Today FSID have changed their name to The Lullaby Trust firstly in the hope they can reach more families and help them access the fantastic service and support they offer.  But secondly to make sure Sudden Infant Death is not ignored.  So I have written this post in support of Jennie and The Lullaby Trust to help raise awareness for help other families who have lost their babies.
Edspire and The Lullaby Trust

6 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I so enjoyed learning about the traditional Welsh lullabies that are special to you and yours x

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  2. Such an interesting post seeing the connections between lullabies and our heritage and roots.
    Great way to get over the Lullaby Trust message too.
    Will be back when more time to listen to every one.

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  3. Nice to hear/read of lullabies in different languages x

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  4. It's interesting how for lullabies we revert back to our heritage. Something soothing how we intertwine the future- the baby- with the past,our roots singing lullabies, reciting poems

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  5. I love this so much! What a fun lullaby. Thank you so much for linking up and helping to raise awareness of the Lullaby Trust. xx

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  6. What an interesting post - lovely to get a glimpse of others favourite lullabies and where they come from xx

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