Daru nalavili or lullabies | Sunday Observer

Daru nalavili or lullabies

2 May, 2021

What are lullabies? They are songs or verses sung to put babies and children to sleep. The oldest known lullaby is is thought to be a lullaby from Babylonia. It was sung by a mother to her son about four millennia ago and was written by a fellow Babylonian on a clay tablet using one of the oldest forms of writing – the cuneiform script.

Lullabies are found in practically all cultures and are sung in every language.

They usually consist of a few simple, rhythmic verses sung while rocking or putting babies and toddlers to sleep. At times lullabies can be scary as they threaten punishment for bad behaviour or contain warnings.

Lullabies are also called 'cradle songs'.

Rock – a – bye baby is a very popular lullabye which has been sung to put children to sleep through the ages. Another popular lullaby is the Brahma’s lullaby Guten abend gute nacht meaning Good evening good night”. Johannes Brahms wrote this for his friend Bertha Faber when her second son was born and it was published in 1868.

Sri Lanka has a culture of daru nalavili lullabies dating back over several centuries. According to Sunil Sarat Perera who has researched Aadhivaasi (Veddah) poetry and song an Aadhivaasi lullaby may be the oldest known lullaby in the world. It is said to have been sung by the Yaksha Princess Kuveni to her children. Kuveni married King Vijaya.

Throughout the ages the Sri lankan lullabies have developed and gained great popularity. Today, The Junior Observer brings you four such verses.