Sewepagaham: The Sleepy Song
Recorded December 2021 at Christ Church Cathedral
As part of traditional Cree parenting practice, lullabies are sung by mothers, aunts, grandmothers and big sisters to the infants as they are swung in a wîwîp’son, a moss bag or held in the arms and rocked. The melodies were hummed or words of love, comfort and descriptions of the baby’s preciousness were sung. This lullaby is inspired by one that Sherryl’s great-grandmother sang to her father when he was a child. While he no longer remembers the song, he speaks of the memory of being sung to as he was swung.
When babies are in the womb surrounded by the mother’s bodily fluids, the soothing sound of “swishing” is heard by the baby (the mother’s blood in the veins, digestion and body movements). In The Sleepy Song, the swishing is represented by the rattles. This lullaby was created in the spirit of Sherryl’s great-grandmother’s lullaby to soothe the spirit and the child within us all. (Sherryl Sewepagaham and Dr. Darlene Auger)
Audio by Don Harder
Video by Mike Southworth, Adam PW Smith, and Brandon Fletcher.
Produced by Jacob Gramit and Joanna Dundas.