Lullaby, The Singing Bowl was the first iteration of the Lullaby Project and was a contemporary exploration of night-time sounds interspersed with lullabies from India.
Sound artist Duncan Chapman, working with a collection of night sounds from different parts of the globe, created a unique soundscape, experimenting with lumisonic software. This soundscape formed the perfect complement for the soothing Indian lullabies explored by vocalist Supriya Nagarajan. Shakuhachi player Mike McInerney completed the trio, bringing this unique Japanese instrument to life.
Guest artists included Kartik Raghunathan on Violin, Ed Kainyek on Saxophone, Natalia Castrillón on Harp and Alejandro Olarte on electro-acoustic sounds.
“I was visiting a remote part of the South Indian countryside two years ago, the kind of place where villages have no electricity in the evening and everything goes dark. I was on my way back from a temple one evening and I walked past some paddy fields. It was planting season and the women were at work. Children played while infants slept in makeshift cradles tied on trees as slings.
It was getting towards dusk and the women continued to work but as the children began to get restless, I noticed that the women would take it in turns to sing lullabies.
I watched and listened for almost two hours. I was captivated by the way the women used their voices in soothing, repetitive rhythms to keep control of their children. The children were calmed and comforted by simply hearing the sounds. The women could continue to work whilst keeping contact with their children from a distance through voice and lullaby.
This triggered the thought, what is it about lullabies that creates this bond?
Is it the sound of the mother’s voice?
Is it the rhythm?
I believe that Lullabies have the power to calm and soothe, reaching into the deepest emotional areas of the human brain and I plan to explore that belief over the next few years.”
— Supriya Nagarajan – Manasamitra Artistic Director 2013
The first performance took place on 6 and 7 March 2015 in Phipps Hall at Huddersfield University, in partnership with hcmf// followed by performances in Otley Courthouse, Wakefield Literature Festival, Batley Festival, Garforth Festival and Tileyard Studios in London. There was also a special showing at York Minster for Interfaith week 2015.
Lullaby had its first Scandinavian show at Voutalo Cultural Centre in Helsinki, Finland, which was followed by a commissioned tour in Europe and Scandinavia.
Lullaby – The Singing Bowl at Vuotalo , Finland on 05th March 2016 Natalia on harp/Alejandro on sound from Supriya on Vimeo.
Following on from that, Manasamitra worked in Finland at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences on 2015. Manasamitra’s Artistic Director, Supriya Nagarajan and their senior lecturer in Music Education had several creative conversations, resulting in the inclusion of lullabies as a study area in the spring curriculum. Supriya delivered workshops and lectures as part of this programme.
An installation for The Singing Bowl was created by Hilli McManus.