A Bonnie Gift For Baby: Harpist Beth Stockdell records collection of international lullabies

A Bonnie Gift For Baby: Harpist Beth Stockdell records collection of international lullabies
April Wallace
awallace@gmoore


When Beth Stockdell’s stepdaughter Christa was in the final trimester of her pregnancy, Stockdell began mentally creating an album full of lullabies for her and husband Rick’s first grandchild.

“Then she was born and christened Bonnie Reed … so immediately I knew the perfect song for our Bonnie lass, the Scottish lullaby, ‘Bonnie in the Morn,’” Stockdell said in her early release of the album to family and friends. “Quickly, I realized I wanted to assemble a collection of lullabies to reflect the heritages of her parents, grandparents and the wider world I hope she will explore.”

Stockdell released that album last week. “Bonnie at Morn,” a collection of international lullabies played by Stockdell on harp and recorded by Darren Crisp, was inspired by little Bonnie, who’s now a few months old. You can find it at stockdell.com. It’s soon to be released to iTunes, Spotify and other streaming platforms.

As a harpist, Stockdell is a big believer in the beneficial, healing properties of music. She spent years as a hospice volunteer, playing music for patients in their final weeks of life. These days she frequents the wedding circuit.

“It’s a good time for a lullaby album,” Stockdell says. “All this time of not having anyone in our lives, and now there’s a little baby boom.”

Her husband’s nephew has a 4-year-old and her own nephew has a 1-year-old. Now with Bonnie in the mix, their family has grown even more. As more of their friends became grandparents too, she noticed the Stockdells were not alone in welcoming babies around the pandemic.

Stockdell says she wanted to make something that both kids and adults would enjoy listening to.

“Songs that are just for kids, no parent wants to listen to that for a really long time, but there’s a way to make things that can be appreciated at all kinds of levels, and I hope I have done that,” she says.

When she played snippets from “Bonnie at Morn” for her family at Thanksgiving, Stockdell says it put her dad in the mood for a nap; she was glad to see that it created a relaxing mode, which is what she intended.

The namesake of the album, “Bonnie at Morn,” is a piece Stockdell calls a “hauntingly beautiful Gaelic tune” about a baby who’s good in the morning, fussy at night and making the parents too exhausted to keep up with the barn and their other chores.

Beth Stockdell is currently looking forward to a spring trip planned to visit baby Bonnie. In the meantime she’s busying herself with the making of a book to record her inspirations and choices for the songs as a little side gift for her granddaughter. (Courtesy Photo)

The other instant pick was to include the classic Johannes Brahms “Lullaby.” One track, which lasts nearly 8 minutes, is a grand collection of versions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

“Maranoa Lullaby,” a traditional lullaby from the land down under, was chosen for Bonnie’s father, who is Australian. “Sleep as falls the dark in your bed of bark none shall harm you dear father watches near,” it goes.

Stockdell didn’t have any experience with that one but found herself in a cycle of growth while picking and choosing.

“Baloo Baleerie,” a Scottish lullaby, and the Irish “Éiníní” (Little Birds) were chosen for Stockdell’s husband’s heritage. “Baloo Baleerie” is alliterative nonsense, she says, based around the Scots’ word for lullaby, baloo. Stockdell herself is 40 percent Swedish, so she also included the Swedish song “Go to Sleep.”

Other songs on the album are German, Polish, French, Welsh and Italian. The lone American lullaby she rehearsed didn’t make the final cut.

At some point, Stockdell says she realized she was assembling an international collection of lullabies. It’s not that surprising, given that she defines herself as a world traveler and is editor-in-chief of the Folk Harp Journal, a trade journal that is a benefit of membership in the International Society of Folk Harpers and Craftsmen.

“That’s been important to me, assembling this international collection. Once it formed … I wanted to release it wider,” Stockdell says. “There’s a bigger market for this to represent more people and a way to approach the songs so that more people would be interested in them.”

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FYI

‘Bonnie at Morn’

Available at stockdell.com and soon to be released to iTunes, Spotify and other streaming platforms.

You can see Beth Stockdell perform at the Fayetteville Public Library from 2-4 p.m. March 27. More details will be available soon at faylib.org.

Categories: Family Friendly