Folk Song/Lullaby – Los Angeles, CA

“Duermese mi niña, duermese me ya, porque viene el viejo y sella llevará.”

“Go to sleep my baby, go to sleep now, because the old man will come and take you.”

Kianni told me that when she was a small child, her grandmother would sing this short folk song to get her to go to sleep.  Although the lullaby seems like it could frighten young children and instead have a reverse effect, Kianni said that she never felt afraid from hearing it.  Instead, it was presented in more of a humorous and joking way rather than another childhood admonishment and coax to get the children to obey their elders; in fact, as a child Kianni said she even started to feel soothed by it.  Now, it reminds her of her grandmother, her Abuela, and it brings back fond memories of her early childhood.  Thus, this lullaby serves as a piece of folklore that connects Kianni to elder generations as well as to the Mexican culture.  And although this folk song is similar to other bedtime sayings, such as those concerning a bogeyman or a ‘tiger witch,’ it maintains its difference in its tone and attitude towards the subject.  It is possible that Kianni did not feel the typical fear that accompanies such a bedtime warning because her grandmother spoke in a comforting tone, but she reiterated that even as a young girl, she recognized the meaning of the song and personally never felt frightened from its message.  It is also significant that Kianni still remembers the lullaby and its exact words as her grandmother said them, even now as an adult.  This shows the lasting impact that childhood folklore can have on an individual as well as its power to culturally link several generations together.