Piano, Harp, Cello, E-Guitar, Electronics
Close your eyes. Think back to your childhood. To falling asleep. What do you hear? What do you remember hearing? Chances are it’s a lullaby.
For Damian Marhulets, his interest in this musical form stems from the birth of his daughter. "There used to be no connection between my personal life and the music I made but this changed two years ago, and I needed a new way to express this," he explains. That change was becoming a father and getting married, the latter something he "was never interested in. I wanted to be an artist and be free, and roots are evil if you are serious about making art." Nevertheless, he took the plunge; together with the birth of his daughter and the sad, untimely passing of his father, it led to "a whole series of very personal and emotional experiences" that he poured into new music, songs that would eventually form the core of Lilith’s Lullabies.
In Jewish mythology, Lilith is the mother of all demons, a child murdering, sexually wanton monster who prowls through the night. Yet she became an important social and political symbol for radical feminists in the 1960s, and a totem of female strength and independence. Marhulets wanted to probe these opposing meanings and how such a symbol evolved through time, but he discovered a linguistic quirk that compelled him to write a suite of songs in her honour.
"There's a theory that the word 'lullaby' is derived from the Hebrew 'Lilith-abi', which literally translates as 'Lilith be gone'. So, a lullaby is a song sang to protect children from this demon. I imagined this young girl called Lilith, and there are no lullabies for her because they’re all supposed to ward her off. I wanted to write a set of lullabies for her."
Marhulets excels at juxtaposing elements, merging disparate sounds that "do not belong together because they come from very different time periods and musical cultures, like string arrangements alongside synthesisers from the eighties." And so guitar riffs emerge from beneath elegant harps, mournful woodwind sits next to Rhodes Piano, and skittering percussion underpins simple piano patterns. But they're all transformative, taking the listener on a journey that fully explores that "other side of your consciousness." Some songs really are lullabies, beautifully flowing odes that caress your brain and ease the senses. Others have a brightness and energy that’s impossible to resist. Together, they make Lilith’s Lullabies a thoughtful, contemplative listen, and mark a new chapter in the rise of one of the most talented contemporary composers currently at work.
(text excerpts from CD Booklett by Derek Robertson