For 20 years my dear families have been asking that I record a tape (back in the day) or CD of music they could keep at home.
After all the silly songs, the dancing, instrument playing and Looped dee Looing in a typical Circle of Song session, we wind down and change the pace with some quiet music. Many times both moms and kids settle down, relaxed and cozy in a nest of colorful silks.
As I sing lullabies or play the flute, a sighing voice often pipes up saying, “Can you come to my house tonight at bedtime? I wish you could come to our house at bedtime tonight….”
After 20 years I’ve made exactly that recording! My new CD, Lullabies in the Garden: Celebrating 20 years of music with Sunflower Creative Arts, features flute and vocals by me and guitar and sound engineering by Mario Inchausti.
You can order your copy here. $15. All proceeds benefit the play, nature and arts programs of Sunflower Creative Arts. If you aren’t local, we would be happy to mail you a CD for $15 + shipping costs. Please contact us for more information.
Lullabies in the Garden is a little bit of Sunflower, a lot of love and some Susany quietness for your family to use whenever you need it. My heartfelt thanks to Joe Snider, Courtney Salamone, Tiffany Moore, Mario Inchausti and Jaime Greenberg for their invaluable help in making this CD a reality. Also huge thanks to Adam and Ani Smith and Bill and Karen Epstein for their generous donations towards production costs.
Each tune has a special meaning:
What if? is an original piece I composed for a service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton with my dear friend, Mary Cadwell. Along with nature buddy, Elisabeth Hoffman, she is one of the main reasons that I found a home at the UU. She has been an inspiration to me always. The tune is the unique song of a child. Created and sung by the community– from birth, throughout life’s joys and challenges, to death– to acknowledge and celebrate his/her true essence. To me this little tune is a call for all the possibilities of all children.
I hear Down in the Valley in my head every day as we run to our Sunflower Valley– our mini nature playscape where we can all tell stories, dance, dig, climb and enjoy our “place” in the beautiful natural setting.
I love the sweetness of Here’s to Cheshire, Here’s to Cheese and remember long ago a tiny boy named Jon once begging me for the “apple tree” song. I hadn’t sung it in a very long time, so it took me a while to know which one he meant. His face beamed as I started singing. I am always amazed at how deeply these songs sink into the beings of little ones. The verses are a bit new and updated. I love the idea of a frog and mouse loving each other and working through the daily give and take of play and friendship that we all experience.
Greensleeves is my dear friend Lora McCoy’s favorite song. Sunflower would never have existed without her encouragement, intelligence and dedication to the importance of experiential learning for all children. We have cooked food and chewed on philosophical ideas together for almost 30 years!
Be Like a Bird has a powerful statement that I have sung as a round through tears with my youngest son Steven many times and sometimes in the quiet just to myself for courage.
Cockles & Mussels and Loch Lomond are lovely tunes that speak to the Irish in me.
The Baby Song is a finger play I learned from Bev Bos, my California soul sister and mentor. It was my granddaughter Ella’s favorite when she was a toddler. I would sing it to her over the phone again and again and again…. Watch the video below for the motions or make up your own. Your children will make up the funniest and most poignant things that the baby “needs” as well as repeat one that was already said. It sometimes takes courage to add your ideas to a song so I always accept the repeats saying, “Oh, the baby needs even more milk….or more blankets….or more muffins etc.”
All the Pretty Little Horses has a beautiful melody and imagery. It was one of the lullabies I sang to both Angelo and Steven when they were tiny babies.
If I could only play one composer for the rest of my life I would choose Bach and die very happy. This is from his solo Sonata in A minor for unaccompanied flute. I have played it and loved it for 45 years!
The Fauré is very french, with a beautifully soaring lilt to lull you into sleepiness.
Bonne nuit mes amis! (Good night, my friends!)
Love & Peace,
© Susan Caruso and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2013
Original artwork © Haidor Truu and Maria Tempesta
Photos © Sunflower Creative Arts