NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute on May 12, 2023 announced a new video featuring a family and musicians who wrote a lullaby together as part of the Lullaby Project. The video features new parents Bignesh and Deepanjali Shrestha, recent immigrants from Nepal whose daughter Ariana was born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in December, and Carnegie Hall teaching artists Emily Eagan and Patrick Thompson. The parents first met the musicians at the hospital during their prenatal visits, and they then met over several sessions to create their lullaby, “Our World.” Bignesh and Deepanjali were one of sixteen families invited by Carnegie Hall to record their lullaby in a professional recording studio, and the final recording features Bignesh and Deepanjali on vocals alongside Grammy award-winning musician Falu Shah, with Emily on background vocals and Patrick on piano. Bignesh and Deepanjali’s lullaby will be performed at this year’s Lullaby Project Celebration Concert at Carnegie Hall on June 3. Research shows that creating and singing lullabies promotes overall family well-being by supporting maternal health, early child development, and the attachment between parent and child.
“NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine department is proud to offer our patients the chance to write their own lullaby with Carnegie Hall musicians as part of their prenatal and postpartum care,” said Larissa Trinder, Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Writing a lullaby gives our patients a tool to reflect on this important moment in their lives and is a holistic way of treating the whole patient. We are honored to have been the inaugural institution for the Lullaby Project and to be continuing this partnership with Carnegie Hall ever since.”
“We are grateful to NYC’s Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine department for their ongoing partnership and support of the Lullaby Project,” said Tiffany Ortiz, Director, Early Childhood Programs for Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. “Over the past twelve years, we’ve witnessed the Lullaby Project’s meaningful impact on caregivers and family well-being. Writing a lullaby is a chance for parents and caregivers to express their hopes and dreams for their children, connect more deeply, and support early childhood development. We’re very thankful that NYC Health + Hospitals offers this opportunity as a part of care for their patients.”
“We are very thankful to the Lullaby Project, which helped us portray our feelings in an everlasting song,” said Bignesh and Deepanjali Shrestha, participants in the Lullaby Project whose daughter, Ariana, was born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in December. “The song itself is a great gift for new parents like us which we can cherish. Creating this song also helped us bond with each other. We enjoyed every part of the process to create and complete the song for our dear daughter Ariana.”
“We had such a wonderful time working with Bignesh and Deepanjali on their lullaby!” said Emily Eagen, Teaching Artist at Carnegie Hall. “They shared their hopes and dreams for baby Ariana as they collaborated on the lyrics together, and when it came time to write the music, it was amazing to see Bignesh pour so much love and passion into his singing, with Deepanjali encouraging him and adding her own ideas as the melody unfolded. I’ve been a part of the Lullaby Project for more than ten years, and it continues to be such a rich experience that I feel so lucky to be a part of. Every single song, just like every single baby, is special and heart-warming, renewing and imbuing everyone involved with a sense of hopefulness and joy. In a busy world, taking time out to write a lullaby for a new baby is an experience that I’ve seen helps parents so much as they think about what really matters to them as expectant parents. I feel it’s so fundamental for parental and child well-being to make space for this, and I feel, both as a Lullaby artist and parent myself, that adding music to our lives as families makes everything that much richer.”
“Working on the Lullaby Project this past year has further illuminated the importance of integrating mental health services and community engagement programs into our medical centers,” said Patrick Thompson, Teaching Artist at Carnegie Hall. “It has been incredible to see how the process of writing a personal song for your child has had such a positive impact on the participants as well as the personnel at the hospitals. I am proud and humbled to be able to bring my artistry into NYC Health + Hospitals and serve as a collaborator for their communities.”
Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project first took place in 2011 at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi. The initiative now works with about 800 families a year through about 10 partner institutions in New York City and another 50 partner institutions worldwide. In New York City, the project reaches families annually in healthcare settings, homeless shelters, high schools, correctional facilities, and other community centers. Songs have been written in over 20 different languages and in a diverse range of musical styles.
Research by WolfBrown found that lullaby lyrics can soothe a child and provide important opportunities for young children to hear new vocabulary, figurative language, as well as exaggeration and jokes. Lullabies are also an opportunity for parents to share their linguistic and musical culture with their children.
NYC Health + Hospitals offers the Lullaby Project to patients expecting a child or with young children at three of its hospitals: NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.