Author: Myria Kalli

M.U.S.E.

Toolkits: M.U.S.E.- Music Unites Through Social Equity

The toolkits below have been developed under the project “M.U.S.E.: Music Unites through Social Equity”, co-funded by the Preparatory Action ‘Music Moves Europe’ by the European Union.

These toolkits present five different approaches of using non-formal methodologies for music education, offering a valuable resource for professional development to youth professionals working with students with less opportunities, and especially students of migrant and refugee background.


Blog Post #17

EXPLORING THE LULLABY PROJECT: LULLABY #2, ‘Y’ & MOSTAFA

by Maria Kouvarou

 

“I want to sing”

(Y. & Mostafa)

A lullaby is, among other things, a love song. The melodic expression of parental love. A musical vehicle through which emotions travel from parents to children. An original lullaby, as the ones that participants of the Lullaby Project compose for their little ones, is the ultimate form of that expression. Because what is being created in the process is an original lullaby. Inspired by a parent’s personal experience and powered by the special, individual bond, between a specific parent to her or his children.

Such is the case with Y. who, in writing a lullaby for his daughters, he channeled his life story, his shared experience with them, his aspirations for them, and his hopes for a tomorrow filled with light through music, through melodies, and through beautiful imagery. And created their own, original lullaby, a love song to be shared with them and the world.

This is one of the characteristics of the process that Mostafa points out, and possibly one of those attributes of the Lullaby Project that makes it equally enriching for the participant composers: the creative task to “write feelings” and, in this case, to “write somebody else’s feelings”. To be able to connect with the other, to sense their ideas at a deeper level, as to be able to help them transfer those in the musical universe of lullaby writing. In order to do so, one needs to be able to also connect with the ultimate attribute of a lullaby, which is the attribute that provides it with universality: love. 

Love and its driving power create the thread that brings together the parents’ ideas with the composers’ creativity, the finished lullaby with the children, all the lullabies together, and all the lullabies with parents and children around the globe. In this way, love and its driving power dressed with the light of lullabies, become the soundtrack with which we can sing our way to a better world.

Artist collaborating with mother: Mostafa Ismail

Lullaby Supported by: European University  

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

Blog Post #16

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

by Maria Kouvarou

“Adorable Child”

(Dioh & Andreas)

Dioh and Andreas have collaborated to bring to life a beautiful lullaby for Dioh’s little treasures. A loving mother with much strength and tenderness in her heart, and a professional composer who acted as a “lever”, helping her translate this strength and tenderness into a heart-warming song, to be shared with her children and the world. 

This contact that takes place during the process of the Lullaby Project is indicative of one of the main messages of the project itself, which accentuates the role of music as one of the most powerful social tools and a vehicle that strengthens the human bond. 

The social power of music is something that Andreas also emphasizes when he speaks about his experience with the Lullaby Project. And, indeed, when one considers the many and varied backgrounds from which the participants of the Lullaby Project come from, be it the parents, the composers, and many other team members, and the way music in general and lullabies in particular becomes their unifying element, their common purpose, this becomes even more evident. 

Lullabies carry within them a universality that is felt and understood by all. Existent from the ancient years and within every civilization, and still strongly relevant today, they are one of those cultural forms that show a deeper connection to what is human at its core level. The love of parents (or caregivers) for their children, the passing on of songs through oral tradition, the will to soothe babies to sleep with beautiful images of stars, and moons, and light, and hope… is something that can be felt across the globe and throughout time.

And the way, through the Lullaby Project, parents have the experience of creating their unique lullaby, for their unique connection for their babies, and share this with other parents and children around the world adds up to that experience of universality, by emphasizing that each individual is – and should be – equal part of the whole. Through the project, each parent is given a voice. And each voice becomes significant for all. 

So, when Dioh sings to her little ones the lullaby she and Andreas composed, she at the same time becomes a significant figure, a universal voice, that shares her experience and tenderness with everyone in this world. 

Watch Andreas’ interview about his experience here. 

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 #15

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

by Maria Kouvarou

“The majestic beauty of genuine love”

(Louise & Yiorgos)

A composer’s work can be a lonely process – even at its most creative and fruitful, it often takes place in the confinement of one’s own mind and behind closed “doors”. For the Lullaby Project, composers have to step out of their creative confinement and collaborate with parents, becoming guides and vehicles for musically materializing the love songs they want to write for their children.

The different approach required for the Lullaby Project might at first appear as challenging, but, as Yiorgos says, it is an experience filled with beauty. To closely collaborate with a parent who sets out to creatively express the pure, genuine sentiments that come with parental love opens up new creative windows, through which emotional contact, empathy, and human communication at the most fundamental level can enter. 

The apparent simplicity that characterizes lullabies as musical forms, leaves ample room for this purity of emotions to shine; to reach the baby, lull it to sleep, and open the door to beautiful dreams where safety, hope, and love prevail. 

This is what happens every time Louise sings to her little boy the lullaby she wrote for him with the guidance of Yiorgos; a new creative experience that was revealing for both the composer and her. An experience that produced another unique expression of the majestic beauty of genuine love to be shared with her baby and the whole world. 

 

Artist collaborating with mother: Yiorgos 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 #14

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #3, Aurelie & Georgia

by Maria Kouvarou

“Love of my life”

(Aurelie & Georgia)

New mother Aurelie and professional composer Georgia collaborated for the creation of a lullaby, a love song for a little miracle none of them had yet met when the Lullaby Project began. As a pregnant woman, Aurelie was experiencing this miracle firsthand. The expectation for her little treasure, who had already changed her life merely through the announcement of his arrival.

The emotions of hope, of affection, of love, that Aurelie was experiencing during her pregnancy, found their way into the creative process of writing the lullaby. They informed it, they adorned it, they unfolded into words and melodies – they became materializations of love and produced the birth of another miracle to accompany the arrival of Aurelie’s son. 

Georgia, the artistic agent that assisted in bringing this musical materialization to life, experienced her own journey of emotional and creative growth. As she says, Aurelie’s persistent use of the word miracle made her realize that life itself is a miracle. And what a greater evidence for that than the arrival of the little miracle that has been the inspiration and the emotional beacon that lit the creation of this beautiful lullaby… his lullaby… the one that belongs solely to him

…which, at the same time, he will share with all the children of this world. 

You can read previous blog posts about Lullaby #3 here and here

Artist collaborating with mother: Georgia Chrystoforou

Lullaby Sponsor: XM Cyprus

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

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

To find out more about Sistema Cyprus, please visit the website: www.sistemacyprus.com 

 

Blog Post #13

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

by Maria Kouvarou

“Unconditional Love”

(Sofie & Annita/Marios)

When caregivers create lullabies for their babies, they fill the airwaves with emotions and thoughts that stem from the depths of their hearts, adorned with melodies and harmonies that become the vehicles for their expression.

Did you miss the previous blog post on this lullaby? Read it here

During the process of the Lullaby Project, this becomes one of the main challenges and responsibilities that composers have – to become vehicles themselves. To help parents express without interfering with the emotional foundation of what is being created. To translate and materialize the caregivers’ ideas, guiding them in the creative process, and allowing their inspiration to shine.

This requires empathy, trust, and bonding. It requires the space for parents to feel safe to express their thoughts and ideas, and the ability on the part of composers to tune into what is being said, “listen” to the musical possibility of it, and become agents of its creation.

Annita and Marios, working with Sofie, became such agents. They heard her thoughts, felt her love, and listened closely to her musical ideas. Annita, being a mother herself, already had a common ground to step onto. For Marios, it was a new experience, and one through which he transformed as an artist and a human. All the participants who worked together for this enchanting lullaby found this an enriching experience, and, in the process they all grew. 

And that’s the beauty of sharing, creation, and love. A beauty that is readily audible in this lullaby, written in the Greek-Cypriot dialect and sung in the musical idiom of 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 #12

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

by Maria Kouvarou

“Adorable Child”

(Dioh & Andreas)

Dioh sings to her little treasures and, as she does, she teaches them how to sing. Dioh sings to her little treasures the lullaby she wrote for them and, as she does, she watches them being soothed to sleep. And then, sometimes, at moments when she least expects it, she hears them sing that same lullaby, their lullaby, and those very moments become yet another passage for the majesty of motherhood to be revealed.

Because, motherhood is a sacred thing, entailing a multitude of roles. As Dioh herself writes:

“I equally admire the strength of every mother. Accepting to obtain degrees informally the moment she gained the title mother. She becomes a teacher, teaching and nurturing her kids from childhood to adulthood. She becomes an economist/accountant managing the finances of her home. An environmentalist, taking proper care of her surroundings. A doctor, giving first aid to the kids at home before rushing to the hospital if the need arises. Every other profession we could think of, a woman has obtained informal certificates.

It’s not by chance we call our universe “mother earth” and not “father earth”, because the globe is in the hands of women”.

 

What is ever-present in Dioh’s passage, is the part that a mother plays as a role-model. The way in which her example is transferred to her children by osmosis. The power she has in raising them as humans who will aspire for a better future. 

And therefore, when Dioh’s children sing their own lullaby to the world, she can hear all the love and affection that she infused in its creation being channeled to them and through them. And she knows that from generation to generation, the thread of light, love and hope will keep leading us to a better world.

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 #11

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

by Maria Kouvarou

“A recipe for love”

(Louise & Giorgos)

The lights are low, the night is rising, a baby is about to fall asleep, enveloped by the comforting sound of love as this is expressed through the melodies, the rhythm, the sonic images carried by a lullaby. Although this scene might be to so many an aspect of their daily routine, there is always something magical in that very moment when, safe and soothed by the voice of a mother, a father, a caregiver, a baby closes its eyes and enters the world of dreams.

And yet, the significance of a lullaby does not stop at that. For, lullabies are not merely love songs that aim to aid a baby fall sleep. They are vehicles that transfer, even if subtly, parents’ experiences and beliefs and aspirations for their children. This becomes even more evident in cases of lullabies that are created by caregivers especially for their babies. As is the lullaby Louise wrote for her little boy.

Did you miss the first post for this lullaby? Read it here

One of Louise’s main principles is her desire to be a good role model. In fact, she believes that women can be the most significant role models for a new generation that will make an effective change for a better future. As she has shared during one of our conversations, her mother was to her exactly that: a role model who she has always admired and of whose the positive example she does her best to follow.

She aspires that she will become an exceptional role model for her baby, too. That she will be able to set a positive example for her son, as her mother has done for her. So that her son will know that life is in his hands – and that he can achieve everything as long as he is a good human, a hard-working person who strives to achieve his dreams while also remaining respectful and kind to all other beings around him. 

This is one of Louise’s most significant purposes ever since she gave birth to her little boy. And, this significant purpose, aligned as it is with the essence of motherhood, might be what further strengthens her feelings of love, elation and hopefulness; what inspires her to sing

“Since I gave birth to you, I have felt only joy and happiness in my life”

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

To find out more about Sistema Cyprus, please visit the website: www.sistemacyprus.com 

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 #9

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #3, Aurelie & Georgia

by Maria Kouvarou

“Love of my life”

(Aurelie & Georgia)

“I dedicate this song to my baby, the love of my life, my hope for life…”

…that’s how Aurelie begins the dedication she has written to accompany the lullaby for her little baby. For the little miracle she carried in her womb for nine months; the one that she now carries in her arms. The little miracle to whom and for whom she has been singing.

Did you miss the first post for this lullaby? Read it here. 

In this seemingly simple dedication, Aurelie unveils and communicates deeper ties between a lullaby, a mother, and her child; between a lullaby, a mother, and the love of her life. For lullabies are, much too often, love songs – bodies of melodies, harmonies, rhythm and words that carry the feelings of unconditional love that parents and caregivers have for their babies. Love songs sung to lull babies each night, filled with affection and care and gratitude and hope for a life filled with light.

Her dedication reminds us, also, how lullabies can be seen as extensions, as sonic embodiments, even, of that connection between mother and child. When Aurelie was writing the lullaby for her baby, she was singing it to him, and he could hear it from within. An internal sonic bond that can only be experienced between embryo and mother, as extensions of one of the other. Now, Aurelie sings to her baby while holding it. And, her voice, becomes the extension of that extension – the extension of that connection, that aurally envelops the baby, creating a safe, comforting space.

And so, when one reads the full dedication of Aurelie:

“I dedicate this song to my baby, the love of my life, my hope for life. You can go wherever you want, I will never be far” 

…we know that that bond, sonically embodied by their lullaby, is one that connects mother and child regardless of place, circumstances, and time.

Artist collaborating with mother: Georgia Chrystoforou

Lullaby Sponsor: XM Cyprus

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

Blog Post #8

Exploring the Lullaby Project: Lullaby #2, ‘Y’ & Mostafa

by Maria Kouvarou

“I want to sing”

(Y. & Mostafa)

They say that the only constant in life, is change. A change that takes all sorts of façades and unfolds in countless possible ways. Change is often present in lullabies in different forms, too. In the way caregivers sing about how the arrival of a baby has influenced their lives, in the way they express their hope for a better tomorrow for their children. Change is present even by the mere fact that the lullaby – sung before sleep – encompasses in itself a journey from today to tomorrow. 

Did you miss the first post for this lullaby? Read it here

At the same time, even in change, there are elements that remain constant. Elements that hold together the befores and the afters, threads that connect past, present and future, making them into complete wholes. And, the “constant in the change” is something that is again characteristic of lullabies.

Historically, and in not few civilizations, one of the roles of lullabies had been to pass down cultural knowledge and tradition. This is a current noticeable today, too, although it does not necessarily happen purposefully. Rather, one could say that when a mother, a father, a caregiver creates a lullaby for their baby, they do it from the heart – from the purest corners of their being, from the depths of their experience; places where tradition often resides.

‘Y’ took a journey with his three daughters, a journey that brought them from Syria to Cyprus. Cyprus is home now, and, in this home, Y. writes a lullaby for his little ones. In the lyrics he weaves, in the Arabic language, words that express his love, his pride, and his aspirations for them. In the music he paints sonic images of tradition with an Arabic rhythm that is played with percussion instruments from his country; the doumbek, the riq… 

“God protect them for me

and make their dreams come true”…

…he sings, gazing to the future with his daughters. And he does it in the present, but without losing the connection with the past. 

And, by experiencing the interplay between continuity and change through the lullaby Y. has created, we are reminded that, while the world undergoes rapid changes, new generations replace older ones, and tradition is ever-modernized, some things remain constant and universal: the unconditional love of parents and caregivers for their children, and the heartfelt way in which this love is expressed when they lull their babies each night.

Artist collaborating with mother: Mostafa Ismail

Lullaby Supported by: European University  

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

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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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