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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Charts Ayisha Yahya
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LULLABIES
They're the first songs we remember from childhood - a link between generations. Click below to hear lullabies from around the world - then add your own.

Track

1 Kuwa

2 Obrigada papaid do ceu

3 Gopal Nu Paranu

4 My Dear One

5 Picking Up Frogs

6 Ah-La-Lu-La-Lu-La-Lu

7 Lori

8 Boi da Cara Preta

9 Duermete Mi Nino

10 Habe Baleju O Duliki

[more lullabies]

This chart is compiled in partnership with Radio 4's Woman's Hour .

Read a special feature about a lullaby ritual for childless couples in Leicester's Jain temple.
Contributor

AYISHA YAHYA

CARLA DI BONITO

PRAMILLA CHAUHAN

LARISSA

YEE YEE AUNG

SAEEDA MAHMMOOD

SUE ARNOLD

AMERICO MARTINS

PILAR BOETTI

KADARIA AHMED




Lullaby: Kuwa
Language: Kiswahili
Country of origin: Zanzibar
Chosen by: Ayisha Yahya


Listen   Listen to Ayisha

Listen   Listen to Ayisha singing Kuwa


Go to part 1 | 2

My name is Ayisha Yahya. I come from Zanzibar. I am a native Swahili speaker. This lullaby, ‘Kuwa’ is about a parent trying to put her heart in to telling her little baby to grow up.

When you sneeze in Kiswahili we say kuwa which is an equivalent of Gezundtheit in German, but means ‘health, grow up’, because when you sneeze they believe you expand your lungs and that will promote growth. So they say kuwa. This is a lullaby about kuwa.

It says: ‘Grow up my child, grow up. Grow up so that I can give you advice so that I can give you a herd of cattle and goats, so that you can get milk. Grow my child, grow. Grow so that you can be big. Grow up fast like a banana tree because a coconut palm takes too long. Grow my child grow.’

It goes from generation to generation but I brought my child up here in Britain so there’s hardly time for that. My child is a very talkative girl but I remember when she was very sleepy she would cry with that tune so I knew ‘ah she wants a lullaby now’. It’s very strange but I think it’s a soothing sound.

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