"Au clair de la lune" ("By the Light of the Moon") is an 18th century French folk song of unknown authorship. It has a simple repeating phrase structure and a narrow range, which makes it ideal for children to sing and for instrumental beginners. Despite, or perhaps because, of this, it has been a used as a source of inspiration by a number of composers, most famously by Debussy in his "Clair de Lune" from "Suite bergamasque."
"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is an English lullaby with lyrics from an early-19th-century English poem written by Jane Taylor. The melody, "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman," is of French origin and was famously arranged by Mozart into a set of Twelve Variations. There are five stanzas to the English lyrics, even though only the first is widely known. It was parodied in Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland":
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at! Up above the world you fly, Like a teatray in the sky.
Cradle Song is the common name for a number of children's lullabies with similar lyrics, the original of which was Johannes Brahms's "Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht" ("Good evening, good night"), Op. 49, No. 4, published in 1868 and widely known as Brahms's Lullaby. The lullaby's melody is one of the most famous and recognizable in the world, used by countless parents to sing their babies to sleep. The Lullaby was dedicated to Brahms's friend, Bertha Faber, on the occasion of the birth of her second son. Brahms had been in love with her in her youth and constructed the melody of the Wiegenlied to suggest, as a hidden counter-melody, a song she used to sing to him.
"Kum ba yah" is an African American spiritual song first recorded in the 1920s. It is though to have emerged in the Gullah speaking population in the Southeastern United States. More serious in mood than many standard campfire and Scouting songs, it nevertheless enjoyed broader popularity during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s.
LYRICS: Kum ba ya, my Lord, kum ba ya; Kum ba ya, my Lord, kum ba ya; Kum ba ya, my Lord, kum ba ya, O Lord, kum ba ya.
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is a historic American Negro spiritual. The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. It has since become one of the most well-known of all spirituals, having been widely performed during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, in TV and film and even having become the anthem of the England rugby team.
Several versions of the lullaby "Hush Little Baby" were collected in the eastern and southern U.S. in the 20th century. Even so, as with many folk tunes, its exact origins are uncertain. The version as sung by Jean Ritchie in 1949 is identical to the version known today. The song has since been sung by a number of artists and adapted into new pop songs, including Eminem's "Mockingbird."
"Ar Hyd y Nos" ("All Through the Night") is a Welsh song first written down in 1784. The most familiar Welsh lyrics were written by John Ceiriog Hughes. It is one of the most familiar songs in Welsh culture, often performed by male choruses and covered by popular musicians such as Cerys Matthews.
James Scott Skinner (1843–1927) was a Scottish dancing master, violinist, fiddler and composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential fiddlers in Scottish traditional music, and was known as "the Strathspey King". He published over 600 pieces, amongst the most famous being "The Cradle Song," here in an arrangement by Gavin Greig, who edited Skinner's biggest collection of music, "The Harp and Claymore Collection."