Author: Myria Kalli

Blog Post #7

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #1, Dioh & Andreas

by Maria Kouvarou

“Adorable Child”

(Dioh & Andreas)

 

“I’ll always love you, remember

You will be mine forever

You’ll be attached to my heart

No one will take you apart”

…sings Dioh, and in her lullaby she captures the majesty of maternal love. That bond between mother and children that is eternal, unbreakable, and universal. It defies geographical locations, cultural backgrounds and historical specificities. Dioh speaks as a mother, and her words resonate with every mother of this world. She speaks to her children and her melodies unfold to embrace every child of this world.

Being a mother is a significant aspect of who Dioh is, as is evident to anyone who has seen her spreading her love to her three little angels – her mother, her coucou and her mee-mee. At the same time, she is a woman; a creative person who loves to sing. She comes from the English-speaking South-West region of Cameroon and she carries many melodies, traditions and stories in her from Ndian division, Bamuso sub-division.

All these melodies, traditions, and stories – along with the love for her children – reside in the lullaby “Adorable child”, even if they are not immediately heard. Because the lullaby itself is part of her, her story, her experience, her existence. An existence that glances upwards when she sings every night… 

“Bright stars over the sky

Sweet dreams my beautiful child”

…and knows that under that same sky, hundreds of other children are being lulled to sleep, or ought to be. And, with all the maternal love she has within, goes on to sing for all the children of the world,

“Sleep tight on this splendid night”

Artist collaborating with mother: Andreas Michalopoulos

Lullaby Supported by: Frederick University  

Follow Sistema Cyprus’ social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram to experience the journey of Lullaby creation.

Blog Post #6

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #5, Louise & Giorgos

by Maria Kouvarou

“A recipe for love”

(Louise & Giorgos)

 

“My love, doudou, I love you with all my heart

and I pray to the Lord everyday to protect you

and make you an intelligent person”…

…Louise sings, and she sings from the heart, in the lullaby she wrote for her little boy. And, although the lyrics she wrote are in the Bassa language, the song itself – as the majority of lullabies – preserves its universal tinge. And it resonates. It resonates with all the mothers and the children of the world.

Louise loves to sing. She loves to sing from the heart. She loves to bake cakes, too. Combining different ingredients to create something flavoursome, enjoyable, soothing. A pinch of this and a spoonful of that. Separate elements mixed for the creation of a meaningful whole.

In the lyrics quoted above, Louise creates the base with boundless love (“I love you with all my heart”), goes on to add the hope that her son will be protected and safe at all times (“I pray to the Lord everyday to protect you”), and follows with the wish that he is blessed with intelligence (“make you an intelligent person”). These three elements are strong indicators of parental affection and of the dreams they have for their children’s future

And, as ingredients, all three elements have been used in just the right amount here – so as, when sung, to be able to “serve” the very essence of the lullaby. Louise’s lullaby for her son and every parent’s lullaby for every child. The essence of the lullaby as the carrier of parental affection.

And this is the perfect recipe for love!

 

Artist collaborating with mother: Giorgos Christofi 

Lullaby Supported by: EY Cyprus 

Follow Sistema Cyprus’ social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram to experience the journey of Lullaby creation.

Blog Post #5

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #4, Sofie & Annita/Marios

by Maria Kouvarou

“Unconditional Love”

(Sofie & Annita/Marios)

 

“Live, love, dare, fall, and have no fear 

cry, laugh hard, and win, and lose,

I might have given birth to you, 

but be a child of this world”

Sofie lulls her daughter with words of care and resilience, with notes of hope and strength, with messages of perseverance and happiness. She does not paint images of uninterrupted happiness – although every parent wishes that for their child; she paints images of the beauty of life, with all the reality that this beauty entails. For, she wants her little girl to know that any difficulty that might be met on the way is “part of life” and should be embraced fearlessly and, hence, it shall be overcome.

The element of empowerment is a common feature in lullabies. It manifests itself in the seemingly simple melodies, it is weaved in words full of joy and dreamy splendor. Because a mother, a father, a caregiver knows that life is full of challenges, and they know that one way to protect their little angels from hardship is to instill in them the certainty that they have the strength to endure and to rise above difficulties, should such difficulties be met.

So does Sofie. In the lullaby she composed for her little girl, she shows how the unconditional love of a mother does not turn a blind eye to the struggles of this world. And, indeed, in the lullaby she composed, does not promise her daughter a utopian world – one that she cannot provide, as much as she might want to. What she does promise is that, in this non-utopian world, she will always be there to offer support, nurture, guidance, and love. In her words:  

“Do not be afraid to get hurt, everything is life’s part

and remember always, you have your mother’s love”

Artist collaborating with mother: Annita Constantinou and Marios Kolonias  

Lullaby Supported by: University of Nicosia 

Follow Sistema Cyprus’ social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram to experience the journey of Lullaby creation.

Blog Post #3

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby no.2, (‘Y’, father & Mostafa)

by Maria Kouvarou

“I want to sing”

(‘Y’ & Mostafa)

Lullabies are usually sung to babies when the night is falling, the dark is arising and the doors to dreams are about to open. And still, regardless of this indirect association with the darker hours of the day, lullabies abound in light. It only takes some hearings of lullabies from around the world to identify the prominence of images of twinkling stars, of the moon, and of countless other references – direct and indirect – to luminous manifestations.

The reference to light, as this appears in the intimate form of lullabies, mirrors the light that floods the relationship between parents and their children, in itself a multi-dimensional construct that projects its sparkle to different directions. 

In the lullaby he wrote for his three daughters, Y. sings… 

I am proud of you,

you who lit up my life

… emphasizing one aspect of this luminous association. The happiness, the hope, the fulfillment parents experience through the relationship between themselves and their babies. Y. finds in his daughters the light that brightens his life and the strength to move on, taking a journey that will create the possibilities for a better future for them all. 

Original lyrics of the lullaby ‘Bedi Ghani’

This, in itself, reveals another dimension of how light plays a central role in the relationship between parents and their children. And that is the brightness the parents want and wish for their children to have in their lives – both in the sense of enlightenment, as well as in the form of the light that will cast all darkness away along their way. Whatever the circumstances one might be facing, whatever the conditions one might be living in at times, light – in its literal and metaphorical sense – remains important for the well-being, the safety, the confidence we need as we navigate through life. Parents feel that deeply, and they express it by so often making references to it in the lullabies with which they sing their babies goodnight.

Follow Sistema Cyprus’ social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram to experience the journey of Lullaby creation.

To find out more about the Lullaby Project, visit the website: www.sistemacyprus.com/news

Blog Post #2

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #1, Dioh & Andreas 

by Maria Kouvarou

“Adorable Child”

(Dioh & Andreas)

“This lullaby ‘Adorable Child’ is dedicated to my children […] not leaving out all the children of the globe”, Dioh writes, and in just a sentence she encapsulates the very essence of lullabies’ universalism.

One of the most intimate forms of connection between a caregiver and a child, lullabies have been lulling babies to sleep for centuries. Their content, both lyrical and musical, specific as it is to a home, to a culture, to a locality, is at the same traversing boundaries, entering a pool of lullabies that are being sung worldwide, lulling babies to sleep in different homes, cultures, localities. This pool unfolds in a wave of love, shiny stars, peaceful sleep and fairytale dreams that sweeps all over the globe, warming the hearts of caregivers and children worldwide, under any conditions and any circumstances. 

The LULLABY PROJECT as initiated by the notorious Carnegie Hall in 2011, and as it progresses into embracing families of various backgrounds all over the world, reflects on this universalism of parental love that is carried through music in the form of lullabies. In the process, it connects past, present and future and becomes the melodic line that sings children, regardless of space and time, to sleep.

From the universal to the personal again, Dioh, a mother from Cameroun who is currently residing in Cyprus, composed the lullaby “Adorable Child” for her three children. She sings to them: 

“Bright stars over the sky

Sweet dreams my adorable child

Bright eyes over your smile

Sleep tight, my caring child…”

…expressing how she wants them to be happy, calm, playful and smiling. A wish she extends to all mothers’ children, when she writes in her dedication “May God bless the children all over the world, to grow up brave, strong, caring and loving individuals”.

Follow Sistema Cyprus’ social media platforms on Facebook and Instagram to experience the journey of Lullaby creation.

Blog Post #1

The young musicians of Sistema Cyprus share their thoughts

by Cassandra Kamberi

Let us meet the young people who have been changing our lives from day one. The students at Sistema Cyprus have inspired us, they have become friends with each other, they are learning how to be part of an orchestra and they are being shaped by all the experiences and people they encounter here.

Sistema Cyprus not only aims to teach these kids how to play music, but it also strives to cultivate themselves and show them that they can dream big. Music at Sistema Cyprus is something special. The fact that young people learn how to play instruments they grow to love with a group of individuals they enjoy being with, is indeed quite extraordinary…

Today we attempt to help you meet some of our wonderful kids by asking them some questions! 

Let us see what they came up with!

  1. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS:

These questions always scare people out, however, kids have a very fun and interesting way of answering this. “Smart, happy, funny, crazy, lazy, kind, friendly, helpful” were just some of the words that came up. While many of us tend to beat ourselves up, it is important to remember how to embrace who we are.

Society often labels individuals based on their actions. It pushes people into judging each other and this results in inauthentic behaviors and the typical ‘self-doubt’ that we present both in front of others, and ourselves.  Being lazy should not be accompanied by shame and acknowledging that you are funny, or smart should not be perceived as arrogant.

2: WHAT DOES MUSIC MAKE YOU FEEL?

‘Music acts as a soother’ some of our kids said. For others, music translates into emotions of happiness. When we asked them, this question the most common answer we got was that music makes them calm down. If you think about it, music can enhance your already existing emotions or to flip the way you feel right upside down.

One student from Sistema Cyprus said something very interesting. They told us that when they are stressed or they can’t think of something, music helps them focus. Another interesting answer we got was “It’s like your friend – you can go to it when no one understands you, or when you don’t have someone to talk to – MUSIC UNDERSTANDS!”

3: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE/IMPORTANT LESSON YOU LEARNED FROM SISTEMA CYPRUS?

We wanted to see how the kids themselves perceive their time here at Sistema Cyprus. Some of the kids are very thankful that they learned how to play music, the percussion musical instruments seem to be a very popular valuable lesson among the kids. Someone told us that music isn’t as easy as it seems, and someone else proceeded into explaining that learning how to play was harder than they thought it would be and that music gave them passion and made them dream about becoming a musician.

Another great answer we got, was that when something hard happens – both in life and in music – the whole orchestra works together to solve it as a team… We believe that this is invaluable. If we learn from a young age that being united means we are stronger, then life will be made a lot easier for us in the future.

4: WHICH CONCERT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE ONE?

This was a very controversial question. The kids talked about 2 concerts. The one at ‘Skali Aglantzias’, and the one with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. What they seemed to have loved so much about the concerts was a feeling of pride that came with playing in front of an audience. It seemed like they enjoyed every aspect of it, together. They felt powerful, they felt happiness and excitement about those moments, and things to come.

Whenever it comes to concerts, it is normal for a feeling of stress or nervousness to be present, however, when you are having fun all of that just goes away. Music is not about making a mistake or messing up in front of a crowd, music is about enjoying yourself. What we have learned up to now is that, when you play music and you genuinely have fun and get lost in it, then this is translated to every person in the room…

It all starts with you.

5: WHAT WOULD YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF DOING IN 10 YEARS?

This we believe was the most challenging question. It requires lots of imagination and the ability to dream and believe that everything is possible. If one of Sistema Cyprus’s goals is to help the kids dream, then maybe one of our goals is gradually getting fulfilled. The answers we got to this question were amazing.

Some kids answered that they imagine themselves playing percussion, playing the cello, or playing with big orchestras in concerts. Some others want to pursue careers in computers, physics, anatomy. Others expressed that being happy is how they imagine themselves in 10 years, taking care of the family they will create. Some kids said that they imagine themselves being successful – and when asked to define ‘success’ they said ‘not to struggle in any way, having a good job, being happy…’

Others are still in search of their passion, their dream – and in 10 years’ time, they hope to be pursuing this yet undiscovered passion.

An answer from one of our younger students was: I imagine myself in a big hotel with my friends, being a hairdresser, and having 2 dogs. It is beautiful to observe the answers changing from one person to the other, and from one age group to the other.

These questions and their answers helped us understand a bit better what is happening inside of the heads of these beautiful kids. How do they perceive themselves, their future, and Sistema Cyprus? What does music really mean to them? Well, we must say that we got inspired. If someone has the capacity to dream big and believe in themselves – then the sky is the limit… Oh, wait, no. Then – there is no limit.

The kids taught us that… 


Inspirational

"Let us reveal to our children the beauty of music, and music shall reveal to our children the beauty of life" - José Antonio Abreu, Founder of El SIstema 

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