Platoon is celebrating Africa Month with African Lullabies Part 2, the second installment in the children’s music series African Lullabies. Taking a Pan African approach, African Lullabies Part 2 features top talents from around the continent including: Asa, Ayra Starr, Karun, Teni, Simi, WurlD, Olayinka Ehi, Tresor, Manana, Aymos and Ntsika.
Where its predecessor - African Lullabies Part 1 - focused on original compositions by South African singers and songwriters and was sung across various languages, African Lullabies Part 2, expands beyond the borders of South Africa and creates a diverse offering of children’s music in various African languages for babies on the continent and in the diaspora. Most of the recordings are original compositions by the artists, drawing from their experiences in parenthood, African folklore, while others are interpretations of previously released material arranged and re-recorded as lullabies.
On creating her first children’s song, Olayinka Ehi said, “It's important for African Lullabies to be made and it's great that we're doing this for younger children who will be able to play and sing this music for their children. We're starting something that can be passed down for generations to come. It's special for children to hear their language, the sounds that they're used to - it's a special moment for them and something that they will always remember and pass down to their children.”
Since July last year Platoon has ventured into the kid’s music space after recognising the vital need for a rich and diverse offering for children that catered to all kids regardless of the language they speak or the country they’re in, partnering up with musicians and children’s content creators from across the globe and many languages, to become one of the leading children’s music curators in the world.
The full tracklist is as follows:
Psalms of Suli - Hello Little One
Teni - One Day
Simi - Iya Ni Wura
Karun - Dream Lullaby (Wakarirü)
Tresor - La Vie Est Belle
Olayinka Ehi - Sweet One
Asa - Little Darling
Ayra Starr - Stars
Aymos - Lullaby Song
Ntsika - Busuku Benzolo
WurlD - Never Alone
Manana - In The Morning
Listen African Lullabies Part 2, available now across all streaming platforms.
Ayra Starr: “My aunt is my world and she just gave birth three months ago and made the song just before she gave birth, so it was kind of like making a song for my niece. Growing up we made up songs ourselves as children, at school we used to make up our own lullabies because we didn’t want to have to sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” When I started making the song I wanted to make something that my younger self would be so proud of. It’s important for more African lullabies to be made because African children need more representation, we didn’t see a lot of that growing up, there weren’t a lot of black dolls and I didn’t get to see a lot of that growing up. I think that African lullabies will inspire children in different ways.”
Teni: “This isn’t my first children’s song, but it is a special one, it means everything to me. I had such an amazing childhood, so being able to work on songs for children is an amazing feeling - it’s indescribable.”
Manana: “My lullaby is true to the tradition of African lullabies. Speaking of peace with the uncertainty of night approaching. I put myself in the mind of a child when writing this, thinking of what I would like to hear if I was restless and unable to sleep.”
Olayinka Ehi: “It means a lot to me to make my first children's song, especially as an African lullaby, this is something that is in a way a part of history because we don't really have much of this on platforms. It is amazing to be a part of it and write something that a parent would play for their child or a child will just love and love so much that they may sing it to their children. It's almost magical to play a part in that bonding experience in their life.
It was really fun for me to do, I would love to do something like this again. I learnt so much about myself in the process of making this song. The one thing that stuck with me is that I like to make sweet music, meaning music that makes others feel loved, hugged and special, which is what I feel a lullaby is about. I learned that this is something I'd love to do. It's just a magical moment to make music with so much love in it.
I lacked this kind of music as a child. I didn't grow up in a musical household. I wish I had something like this as a child. I definitely wish I had an African lullaby growing up.
The biggest challenge that I had in creating this song was trying to speak my language as best as I can. I grew up in a Idoma and Yoruba household so there were challenges with the language because we were from two different tribes that aren't really similar so I wasn't able to learn to speak as much as I would have wanted to. So that was my biggest challenge - I wanted to say more in my language, but thankfully my mom was able to help with the language and pronunciation. Even though it was a challenge it was a bonding moment for us because I'm speaking this language from a culture that I love so much and my mom is also a part of it as well.
Growing up, I didn't really have the experience of lullabies at night, we had gospel music and that but it's cool to be a part of this project because I'm singing a song that I wish was sung to me.
It's important for African Lullabies to be made and it's great that we're doing this for younger children who will be able to play and sing this music for their children. We're starting something that can be passed down for generations to come. It's special for children to hear their language, the sounds that they're used to - it's a special moment for them and something that they will always remember and pass down to their children.”
WurlD: “I never really thought about children’s music and I didn’t see this coming in my career, but I loved the challenge. I didn’t have this experience of lullabies as a child but understand the value of having this experience for babies and children. My biggest challenge was keeping the song and conversations simple and soothing and not too complicated and do exactly what it’s supposed to do - put the babies to sleep.
It’s important for more African Lullabies to be made. There’s so much more we can do in music and this is one of those aspects. I can’t wait to see more lullabies in the African community and I hope that this inspires more people to create African lullabies.
This is an experience I’d love to share with my kids one day when I have one. In the creative process I learned that I can actually be doing a lot more with my songwriting and sound. I learned that I actually make peaceful music.
Creating my first children’s song means that I’m growing as an artist and using my art to do more than the commercial, usual norm and it feels good.”
Ntsika: “I can’t stress enough the importance for us to keep creating African lullabies. By virtue of being Africans in Africa, we create from a source that knows how to heal through music. We create from a source that knows how to be extra gentle with kid’s souls. All those magical moments and untold stories that are not even found in the lyrics themselves, all that intentional prayer that’s found in the melody itself - the kids out there will resonate with all of that magic.
I come from a family of incredible singers, especially the matriarchs. Growing up, the concept of lullabies and putting us to sleep - they would creatively just make up something. Even though they didn’t document those songs there was always music around me. What’s special about this project is being able to record and capture these moments so that they can last for generations to come.
I’ve been blessed with two amazing, beautiful kids and all the music I’ve done for African Lullabies Part 2 is dedicated to them. It means the world to me that I’m creating music intentionally that’s dedicated to my kids, that will stand the test of time.
Throughout the creative process of writing this song I learned that I’m still a cry baby and it has intensified with every moment that comes with expressing love for my children. Each time I go back to the children’s music world I get really happy, because the creative being that I’ve become morphs into a kid, and what comes out of that is music that is nuanced with not being guarded and full of utter joy and magic. I find that the message stays simple but the intention and impact become so complex that it’s not just the kids that fall in love with the music but the parents too.”
Karun: “It’s really cute to have been asked to make a children’s song. This is my first children’s son, I never thought I would. I really enjoy making calm, relaxing music so this made sense. I never saw children’s music as something that I would do but given the opportunity it’s something that I would jump on. I have a son and I like kids, it’s a cool challenge.
I learned a lot about myself when creating this song. I produced the whole song, I love layering vocals, I was playing around with different effects - I learned phasing. It was a lot of learning on the technical side of it. I also leaned that there’s a lot more I need to connect with my mother tongue Kikuyu. Me and my grandmother connected over her helping me remember the lullaby at the end of the song. Kikuyu is my first language but I forgot it a long time ago, so I learned that I’m still connected to it.
I would have loved to have more lullabies made by Africans, made by Kenyans, just available for sure. Growing up I don’t feel like I lacked lullabies but there was a disconnect with the songs that were available. I’m so far removed from the culture that made songs like ‘Rock-aby Baby’ - I was so confused. It makes a big difference to have someone from where you’re from and being able to connect with what they went through in the context of the song.”