The Bridewell Gallery, Liverpool
Kensington Cradle Songs, Hannah Tuulikki, Bridewell Studios
Felix Ngindu, Hannah Tuulikki and Stephanie Hladowski. Kensington Cradle Songs closing party, Bridewell Studios.
In her exhibition Kensington Cradle Songs, Glasgow based artist Hanna Tuulikki used sound installation and drawing to explore the role of song in contemporary human relationships. I invited Hanna to make this project while I was curator at The Bridewell Studios Gallery.
Kensington is an area in North Liverpool UK that is home to a range of migrant communities. Hanna asked residents to share ‘cradle songs’ which they may have sung to their children or that they remember from their own childhood. Traditionally a song that a parent sings to a child would be known as a lullaby and would contain certain key elements lIke a slow and lilting beat. Although the country of origin may vary, lullabies are often similar across cultures, providing a means of communicating that surpasses language and relies on the melody, rhythm and vibration of the music itself.
Participants were invited to a song-sharing and vocal improvisation workshop, to explore the cross-cultural qualities of lullabies – the lilting rhythms, the soft sibilant sounds, and the strange dream imagery of the words. Recordings from the workshop were woven together into a multi-layered, womb-like sound piece, emphasizing the sense of the lullaby as a communal sonic cradle. Hand-drawn portraits of the singer-participants were hung on paper screens, and two rocking chairs placed in front of a lit fire acted as listening points.
Kensington Cradle Songs CD cover by Hanna Tuulikki
Images from Kensington Cradle Songs, Bridewell Studios, 2005.
Collaborators: Hanna Tuulikki. With thanks to Josie Moore and Keiron Finnetty
Funders: Arts Council England
I live and work on Bidjigal and Gadigal land. I pay my respects to custodians past, present and emerging by revering the land and paying the rent. Always was, always will be.