In February 2010 Vital Arts and Spitalfields Music worked together to bring live music to families and new born babies on the maternity ward at the Royal London Hospital. The musicians performed and taught a selection of lullabies from around the world. With the help of willing families they also wrote simple songs in Arabic, Bengali, Somali and English.
The following are the second lot of excerpts from the diary that was kept during our visits:
Today the artists are relaxed and feel very much a part of the ward as they have allowed the sessions to be ‘organic’ and responsive to the needs of the room. There hasn’t been a stipulated formula for the sessions which has created an openness and fluidity to the project.
The first room of the day was very welcoming and relaxed. There was good conversation with the families and a performance of what has been created in other sessions with the mothers smiling and joining in with singing
Room two was quiet…apart from some crying, but this stopped quite soon with the start of singing. I noticed that having the curtains open while we were in the room aided communication between families and everyone was noticing people they had met before. I know this is something the ward are keen to encourage so hope we contributing to this shift in behaviour! There was a little uncertainty from one mother, ‘it wouldn’t sound the same if I sung it’ so I encouraged Zoe to talk about her experiences of how a mother’s voice is the most beautiful thing to a baby. This seemed to do the trick as she beamed from ear to ear.
The third room was very unsettled today but after a few soothing songs the families had warmed and were ready to write their own lullaby. One wanted to use the words, “My darling baby. My heart” in the song. Another mother piped up and sang a whole song from Somalia to Zoe. The atmosphere on leaving the room was very warm…
We are very reliant on the nursing staff, especially Christine who greets us so warmly and enthusiastically each session. She actively walks into each room and opens the curtains, tells families who we are and spreads the word through the staff!
Programme Manager: Learning & Participation
Keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks for the final part of Tamsin’s Lullaby Diaries.