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Lullabies are often just thought of as songs to help babies and little kids to sleep at night. But, what if there were lullabies for everyone? 

That sounds like a good idea in these trying times.  

And that is what Lullabies from Detroit is doing. Every evening at 10 p.m. a musician performs on Facebook Live from their home.  

I spoke with the organizers Michele Oberholtzer, Audra Kubat, and Emily Rose about the project. Here’s a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Daily Detroit: How did this begin? Because it’s just kind of like a magical thing in these times.

Michele Oberholtzer: I have been a fan of lullabies, and the idea of lullabies for a long time. It is just this hidden part of our culture that is known but not shared. And so it’s just an idea that I play with a lot. And I thought that it would be really wonderful and necessary to be sharing all lullabies in this moment, and I didn’t know how to do it.

And fortunately, I reached out to Audra and Emily and then almost instantly, we just formed this idea together of having a nightly lineup, a way to give a platform for artists, especially artists who can’t really perform in the traditional way right now. And it’s just grown from there.

Emily Rose: So far, it’s been really successful and we’ve been getting a great response. I think people look forward to it every night at 10 pm. It’s like one thing they can rely on to go to that won’t be bad news, that will be people who want to want to reach out. It’s one thing you can count on to get every night. I didn’t even realize how successful it was gonna be. And in the first week, we already have, like 500 likes, and we have a lot of people talking about it. So it’s great.

Michele Oberholtzer: I just want to add one more thing. I think that the concept of the platform of a lullaby, this is a pretty low production thing. Either acapella or acoustic and so it really is suited to the time that we’re in where a lot of artists don’t have their amps, their mics, their band, you know, collaborating. So it is kind of meant for this type of moment when we don’t have all the tools we’re used to.

Daily Detroit: And it really showcases the skills of the artists, every single one that I’ve seen, it’s been excellent because it’s just you and the artist and a guitar or something like that, where the quality really shines through I think. What are a couple of your favorite songs that give the most reaction for people they connect with. Have you gotten any feedback?

Michele Oberholtzer: My favorite one was a “Stay Awake,” the Mary Poppins song. And I actually didn’t remember that I loved it until I spoke with my mom before we launched this project. And so that’s been my favorite. It’s an actual lullaby.

Audra Kubat: For me, I think sharing “Somewhere over the Rainbow” was my favorite moment because that brought back all the memories from being a child and watching it with my family.

Emily Rose: The response I got the best from mine was actually a cover of The Bangles, “Eternal Flame.” But think about the lyrics. It’s like, “Close your eyes. Give me your hand, watch you while you’re sleeping.” The lyrics are actually very lullaby-esque, but I played it actually at a funeral like a few years ago. And it was really special because this was a very special song for this family. And so that’s kind of why it’s stuck out for me about maybe doing it for the Lullabies from Detroit.

Daily Detroit: Are you finding that this is helping spread your wings a little bit musically helping you connect with folks or is this something that you feel like, you know, is kind of like a natural extension of what you’ve already done?

Emily Rose: For me, it’s been interesting because I’ve never done live Facebook stuff. I’m not a big online sharer regularly. So it’s been taking me out of my comfort zone. While in my literal comfort zone, it is making me stretch. But the connection part for me is even like just watching all the musicians and being a watcher of all the comments rolling in while other people are performing. I think it is connecting us all, even just kind of being an observer of other folks because we don’t always get to go to each other’s shows because we’re often playing gigs on the same night. Or maybe you don’t want to go out on your one night off. Cuz you know, so it’s been actually an opportunity to hear artists that I haven’t gotten to really hear in a long time or artists I’ve ever before.

Audra Kubat: Performing in front of people, for me is always been a way to kind of generate that cycle. That happens. I feel like that’s where I shine the best. Even in the studio recording, I don’t feel like I sound as good or as connected as I am when I’m performing with an audience. And I have that experience. So, yeah, it’s certainly been challenging and a bit terrifying. But yeah, I think it’s been really good practice to do this kind of thing and try to get more comfortable with sharing this way.

Here is the lineup for this week:

  • Monday, March 30 – Mike Ward 
  • Tuesday, March 31  – Spoo Willoughby 
  • Wednesday, April 1, – Caitlin Drinkard of the Drinkard Sisters 
  • Thursday, April 2nd – Ally Evenson 
  • Friday, April 3rd, –  Monte Aaron Pride 
  • Saturday, April 4th –  Rocketman

Check it out here.

A version of this story originally appeared as a segment on the Daily Detroit podcast.

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