Songs on the Vanilla Trail

Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from East and Southern

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Songs collected by Nathalie Soussana Musical arrangements Jean-Christophe Hoarau Illustrations Magali Attiogbé

An enchanting collection of 25 traditional songs that pay homage to the rich cultural heritage and multilingual communities of East and Southern Africa. The highly mixed musical styles that are unique to each region demonstrate how these communities welcomed new horizons through contact with others. A wide array of styles—skipping rope songs from Mozambique, lullabies from South Africa, counting songs from Réunion, traditional dance tunes from Madagascar—are all performed exquisitely by men, women, and children in more than a dozen languages and dialects. Vibrant compelling artwork and homegrown instruments, such as the tube zither, kayamb, bobre, segakordeon, and ravanne drums round off this wonderful celebration of history, language, and culture.

Lyrics appear transcribed in their original language and translated to English followed by extensive notes describing the cultural background of each song and a map of East and Southern Africa. This picture book is accompanied by a CD featuring 25 recorded songs along with unique code for the digital download of the audio. A free teaching guide and activity sheets are available for download.

Readers are sure to learn new facts about this part of the world while appreciating its mix of global cultures. The book is beautifully produced on thick, matte paper, and the diversity of musical styles produced is impressive. KIRKUS REVIEWS 

Pub Date: 2021
Ages: 3 to 7 / Grades Pre-K to 3
Keywords: Africa / Musical Traditions / Maternity / Community

Nathalie Soussana is the author of several musical picture books, including the 2020 Children's Africana Book Awards winner, Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees, and Parents’ Choice Gold Award-winner Songs from the Garden of Eden. She’s also written several musicals, including À l’ombre de l’olivier, Romances de Paris, and Silence on tourne.

Jean-Christophe Hoarau is a guitarist by training, who toured for 10 years with the Jeunesses Musicales de France. As an arranger and composer, he is an 11-time recipient of the prestigious Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros award, as well as a Disque d'or. He has produced several musical picture books for children, including Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees and Songs from the Garden of Eden.

Magali Attiogbé obtained her DMA Illustration degree at the prestigious École Estienne in Paris, France, and has since illustrated several children’s books and work for clients such as Flammarion, Gallimard Jeunesse, Larousse, and Fondation Cartier. She was born in Atakpamé, Togo, and currently lives in France.



Hardcover illustrated picture book (8” x 8”, 80 pages) with CD (43 minutes / 25 songs) and unique digital download code.

ISBN 978-2-925108-70-2
$22.95 CAD / $16.95 USD


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