” Sweet Lullaby ” is by Deep Forest, the French World music ethnic electronica group. The song was written by French musicians, Michel Sanchez and Eric Mouquet.
Production was by Dan Lacksman the Belgian composer, who has worked with some artists including the late David Bowie.
The song was taken from the first Album called Deep forest which was released in 1992 on the 550 Records label, now part of Epic Records.
” Sweet Lullaby ” is based on a Baegu language lullaby from Northern Malaita in the Solomon Islands. The actual name for the song is Rorogwela which is sung by Afunakwa, the women from the islands.
The song’s original chant focuses on a child crying because of the absence of his parents, to calm and reassure the child his older brother sings the lullaby.
He is asking for the deceased parents to protect the child as the people believe the deceased look after the living and sings ” From the island of the dead, their spirit will continue to look after us, Just like royalty, taken care of with all the wisdom of such a place”.
The Baegu lullaby which is used in the song was initially recorded by Hugo Zemp back in 1970; these recordings were later released as part of a Musical Sources collection by UNESCO.
The song was a commercial success for Deep Forest, in the United States it entered the Billboard Top 100 at number eighty-five and climbed to reach number seventy-eight, staying on the chart for eight weeks.
In Australia, the song entered the Australian chart at number forty-three and climbed to reach number seven. The song stayed on the chart for a total of seventeen weeks.
In the United Kingdom, ” Sweet Lullaby ” entered the UK Singles Chart on the 5th of February 1994 and climbed to reach number ten, it spent one week in the Top Ten and a total of seven weeks on the chart.
” Sweet Lullaby ” was soon to run into controversy, many believed that the commercialisation of the ancient lullaby was wrong, but also Deep Forest also added some of the lyrics to their song out of context.
The group also ran into trouble with the song’s origin which the group said came from Pygmy tribe in Central Africa, the community in the Solomon islands where Afunakwa came from did not get credited by the group, this meant they didn’t benefit from the commercial success of the single or Album.
At the time of writing the Album is out of print due to copyright and ownership disputes. Although royalties go to the Pygmy Fund which is based in California and helps the native people of Africa, sadly the indigenous people whose traditional music helped form the Album and the hit single ” Sweet Lullaby ” are not covered by the fund.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 78
UK Highest Chart Position: 10
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: France (SNEP) 17, Germany (Official German Charts) 31, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 15, Australia (ARIA) 7, Canada Dance (RPM) 9, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 21, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 8, Ireland (IRMA) 11, Norway (VG-lista) 4
Official Website: Deep-forest.fr
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/deepforestofficial
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/DeepForest
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