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 excerpts from the diary that was kept during our visits:
For our first session everyone was a bit unsure about what to expect and how to act. The first room we went into was Transitional Care where some babies and some mothers had been through a particularly difficult labour. The atmosphere was very thick and incredibly quiet! It was difficult at first to know how to use the space with the instruments, where to place ourselves so that we could see everyone in the room? And how loud could we be? Our artists Zoe Palmer, John Barber and Sonia Mehta began with singing a lullaby then took a baby’s name to improvise a song. It was a good way to include and integrate but harder for those whose names have not yet been chosen…. There was some shyness around using their voices or perhaps just exhaustion. They were enjoying listening to the music said how it gave them a break from thinking!