Lullaby Project pairs Philly caregivers with musicians to compose original songs for their kids
by Anndee Hochman, for The Philadelphia Inquirer
“This was right in line with our mission of how music connects people, how music can be a way of building community, how music can be a way of learning,” says David Bradley, producing director of arts and learning at World Cafe Live.
Organizers were uncertain about how noisy, interactive, in-person sessions, which featured dancing and musical instruments for adults and children to play, would translate to Zoom. But Bradley, the musicians, and the parent and grandparent participants found that the online format fostered a disarming intimacy.
For the musicians involved — a range of artists, some Spanish-speaking, with expertise in classical, folk, and other genres — the project called for sensitive collaboration, eliciting words and melodies from people who didn’t necessarily consider themselves to be creative.
A caress to the soul: The Philadelphia Lullaby Project, launched this year by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute with World Cafe Live, strengthens bonds among parents, babies and communities
by Jessica Blatt Press, for The Philadelphia Citizen
It is well documented that music encourages caregiver-child bonding and can stimulate early language development, too, says David Bradley, producing director of arts and learning at World Cafe Live, which was chosen by Carnegie Hall to oversee the program, given its mission of being a place where artistry meets social impact. And music, Bradley adds, helps us transcend what can disconnect us. It can be a bridge—and that’s something that feels particularly necessary during a global pandemic that continues to keep us apart.
Lullaby Project Philadelphia was originally scheduled to debut in March. Community partners like Esperanza Arts Center, Health Annex, and Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services were spreading the word to recruit interested families (Sheller being the well-known attorney and philanthropist), and World Cafe Live had assembled and trained 13 teaching artists. When Covid-19 hit, the project was put on hold.
But this fall, it kicked off via Zoom, with 22 caregivers from around the city participating in the program, a mix of group meetings and one-on-one sessions between caregivers and teaching artists, discussing parents’ wishes for their children, their hopes and dreams.
“Parents with little ones don’t have a long history of the child to draw on, they have the immediacy of now,” Bradley says. “In this way, the giggling and all of the other little elements woven into the work are a celebration of the everyday, the celebration of the moment.”