The Lebanese Marie Nabhan has been living in Brazil since 1978, but when her daughters were small she lulled them to sleep singing in Arabic. As she had her first daughter, Carla, currently aged 26, soon after she arrived in the country, Marie had no difficulty in recalling the songs sung to children in her homeland.
New mothers in the Arab colony, however, can count on the help of an electronic device to lull their children to sleep in the language of their roots.
Record company Angels Records, specialized in children’s music, has on the market a CD with 42 lullabies in 12 languages, among them Arabic. The CD is called "Acalantos do Mundo" (Lullabies from the World) and includes two songs in Arabic.
The songs are "Dorme me Nene" (Sleep Baby) and "Dorme Dorme" (Sleep Sleep). They are sung by Ivana Domenico and Clarita Paskin and arranged by Alfredo Galhões.
According to the artistic director at Angels Records, Leão Leibovich, the CD was an initiative by the record company itself, and counted on the services of a researcher to reach the repertoire.
Apart from the songs in Arabic, the CD also includes 20 lullabies from Brazil, three from Italy, three from Poland, two from Germany, two from Portugal and one each from Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, France, England, Japan and Chile.
There are also two songs in Yiddish and one in an Indian language. According to Leibovich, between 7,000 and 10,000 CDs have already been sold.
Researcher, pianist and music teacher Teca Alencar de Brito stated that it is important for children to have contact with music from other cultures.
According to Teca, it is good for a lullaby to be sung in the mother’s language, as it strengthens the bond between the child and the mother. Therefore, if the mother is of Arab origin, a song in this language will help the child bond with her.
Leibovich stated that some people buy the CD as a way to keep the language alive in the daily life of the children. When a family decides to live in Europe for a while, for example, they take a CD in Portuguese so that their small children may listen to it. Lullabies in foreign languages also help when a child wants to learn a language in future. "It is a simplifier," stated Teca.
According to the researcher, music simplifies the learning of languages. "Music improves listening capacity, and the person can learn the melody of the language," she said.
It will be faster for the student to have, for example, fluency in the language. "Many times students know all the grammar, but it takes a long time to become fluent," explained Teca.
The CD costs 18 reais (approximately US$ 8) at the record company site. Angels Records sells only CDs with music and stories for children and is based in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The company was established 10 years ago and has released around 30 different titles since it began operating.
Acalantos do Mundo
Telephone: (+55 21) 2549-4010
Anba – www.anba.com.br