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2009 Event Media Release - Babies Proms: Sweet Dreams

Issued: Monday, January 12, 2009 

Sydney Opera House presents
Babies Proms: Sweet Dreams
11 – 16 February
Utzon Room
Directed by Catherine Martin

Hush little baby don’t you cry…

The first Babies Prom for 2009 is a soothing musical adventure to inspire bedtime bliss. Created by world music composer Kim Cunio and soprano Heather Lee, Sweet Dreams features lullabies from around the world including Russia, China, India and Spain.

The lullaby is a universal symbol of unconditional love: an affirmation that good wishes will take a child to a restful and comforting space – it also works on the adult to create a bond between the child and parent.

Instinctively parents sing to their children and certain songs become a mutual experience that is capable of comfort when words do not suffice. Children are more sensitive to the messages contained in music but for adults to sit with a lullaby is to make a declaration of innocence, to still be able to remember who they were.

Most of the music we hear is from our own culture but every language has its own entomology and the effect of a lullaby varies significantly from culture to culture.

In the Gulf of Carpentaria, the speakers of Lakadoon and Pitta Pitta sing the rhythmic Bila Bila while they dance around the fire. Similarly Soja Roaji Kumari, a Hindi lullaby made famous in 1940s Indian Bollywood, shows a culture where kids are happy to sleep to movement and rhythm.

The Eriskay lullaby from the Outer Hebrides, Taladh Chriosda, alludes to the divine qualities of Jesus in every child. On a lighter note Cancio de Cuna Para from Cuba asks any child who had a head like a coconut of coffee bean to sleep.

Some of the greatest composers have also written lullabies. Gabriel Faure’s Les Berceaux captures the life of fishing communities whose children sleep to a rocking 6/8 rhythm while Puccini wrote the joyous and comforting E l’uccecellino for the son of a friend who had passed away.

Cunio says: “Every sound we hear is stored, and our minds and body process every piece of music we hear. We can also notice the transformative power of music when it is right for an occasion, when both the sound and intention of the music are in balance. Certain pieces of music comfort us, certain pieces take us to an ecstatic state and others calm us.”

Joining Cunio, Lee and the Babies Proms Orchestra for this interactive concert will be guest performers Llew Kiek (baglama, guitar, oud) and Tunji Beier (tavil, daff, zarb) in a cultural tour of music perfect for slumber.

Season Details: Babies Proms – Sweet Dreams
Dates/Times: 10am, 11am and 12pm Wednesday 11 to Monday 16 February
Venue: Utzon Room
Age: 2 – 5 years old
Cost: $18 / $14 registered childcare groups
Duration: 35 minutes
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online at



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