lullabies made of old poetry

In this TED clip, Natalie Merchant sings haunting arrangements of old poetry from her new album, Leave Your Sleep (2CD). If you have limited time, skip ahead to about 8:00 for the beautiful ee cummings poem “maggie and milly and molly and may”, followed by the gently rebellious “if no one ever marries me” by Laurence Alma-Tadema (who never did marry), and then “Margaret” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

I’d forgotten how moving Merchant’s voice is. I’ll definitely be ordering this one when it’s released.

Watch an interview with Natalie Merchant about this project at Granta.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    April 13, 2010

    It was released today. She was on NPR this morning, talking about it and singing a little. My kids liked it and said they wanted it so I ordered the CD this morning.

  2. #2 John
    April 14, 2010

    I’ve always liked Merchant. I was interested in hearing her arrangement of “maggie and milly and molly and may” since I was already familiar with a different arrangement. There’s a poem more complex than it appears at first sight!

  3. #3 JG
    April 14, 2010

    Many thanks! This is fabulous stuff.

  4. #4 Laura J
    April 27, 2010

    Jessica, I SHOULD NOT be using the Amazon 1-click button. Bad influence.

  5. #5 Jessica Palmer
    April 27, 2010

    oh no! I’m sorry! Bad shopping enabler. . .

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