A collection of traditional lullabies from Ireland, Scotland, Wales & beyond to coax, cuddle and caress a child to sleep. Ethereal and enduring, each of these cradle songs has a melody that delights and lingers within the listener. The Boston globe called this compilation “the sleeper of the year” because as soothing as these songs are to a child, they will also satisfy and please a parent. Harps, whistles, mandolins and flutes create crystalline textures, and the Gaelic lyrics and translations provided give insight into linguistic rhythms, shades of meaning, and even historical references.
So much has been made of the music for babies and children to sleep, eat, and have their brains grow optimally that a collection of lullabies might seem a little suspect. But when the folks at Ellipsis Arts take up the task of creating a lullaby collection, the results are bound to be fruitful. Sure, the emphasis in this collection of 19 songs is on gentleness, but this music is so seldom heard that it's endlessly enticing. The Celtic lullabies range from three-part Welsh carols to the overtone-tinted wooden flute of Chris Norman on "Now I Am Asleep" to several showings for acoustic harp that highlight vocals by singers such as Jill Rogoff and Ann Mayo Muir. The unfortunate trend of globetrotting CDs that lose all their geographic specificity is easily bucked here with songs sung in Manx Gaelic and the more familiar Irish. The set even takes into account the farthest reaches of the Celtic diaspora by including a religious Nova Scotian melody with mother Mary singing to the baby Jesus, "Tha mi 'g altrum Righ na Mòrachd" ("I am nursing the Almighty King," for all you non-Gaelic speakers). The blurred edges throughout this selection move toward sonic dreaminess, made more warmly vaporous by the pillowing effect of the instrumental accompaniments. --Andrew Bartlett