In the United States, it’s coming up on the celebration of Mothers Day on the second Sunday in May. Depending on the personalities and circumstance of mother, daughter, granddaughter, son, father grandfather, there are songs in just about every tradition and genre that would suit. On the Native American side, for example, the group Black Lodge has recorded a song called simply Mother, and there’s a fine collection of lullabies from many tribes called Under the Green Corn Moon. Taking another direction, Afro Celt Sound System takes in Arabic and African elements into its song for mothers. Susan McKeown blends Native American and ancient mythological ideas in her song Ancient Mother, and Robin Spielberg offers an instrumental take on the joys of motherhood on Mothers Celebration.

Two songs from the Irish tradition which work well when you are thinking of Mothers Day:

Peata Beag do Mhathar is a lively song with a beat that invites a mother to be dancing her child around with. Even if you’re not sure of the Irish words, with have to do with jokes, tricks,a nd loves for your child, the welcome and fun of the song come through clearly. In this recording by Cathie Ryan, it’s also paired with a another fine tune which will keep you dancing, Joseph’s Reel by John McCusker.

On a different album, Ryan has recorded A Mhaithrin, A’Leigfea ‘Un An Aonaigh Me? which in English is Mother, Will You Let Me Go to the Fair? She sings the words in both Irish and English on this one, so you can follow the story in two languages. It is a story parents and children will easily recognize: the child reeeally wants to go to that fair, and the mother is saying no, you can’t go. It has a joyful tune which adds to the fun of the piece, and clearly Ryan had a fine time with the recording of it, as well.

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