Mandy Breeze & Doug Kelly – Riddles & Rhymes & Lullaby Times


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Mandy Breeze – Riddles and Rhymes and Lullaby Times

CD review by Tony Smith

TN2533-90 – $20

TN160 Dec 23

In brief sleeve notes to this  album, Mandy Breeze makes a dedication to that ‘special place that lies on the fringes of memory, the feelings that flitter just beyond what we can ever truly describe … where everything’s new and shiny and frozen in time.

‘That’s where the child in all of us abides eternal’.

Out busking, I always produce a nursery rhyme when an infant approaches.

Generally, it is the parents who recognise the tunes and sing them to their offspring.

I hope that old songs like ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ and ‘Little Fishy’ will be remembered.

Mandy Breeze is playing her part to ensure these cradle songs that unite the generations survive.

Mandy Breeze has arranged most of the songs, leads the vocals and plays dulcimer.

She gets tasteful support from Bruce Boyd (mandolin, guitar), Mark Bromley (double bass), John Bushby (pipes, whistles), Caroline Bushby (harp/harmonica), Liora Lalita Claff (vocals, guitar), Doug Kelly (Irish Bouzouki, gittern), Isaac Vincent (violin) and Mieke Witsel (flute, recorder).

‘All Through the Night’ (traditional) has a particularly fine arrangement of pipes and whistles.

In ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ (Fields/St Marie) you can imagine rocking on the ocean using stars for navigation.

Flute enhances this track.

‘My Bonnie’ (trad) has more gentle rocking and the plucked instruments fit well here.

It is interesting how many of these songs have a nautical theme.

You can imagine mothers reassuring babies that their sailor dads will return safely.

On ‘Bunny Song’ (Breeze), whistle is a feature and ‘Liverpool Lullaby’ (Stan Kelly Bootle) has excellent vocal harmony.

‘Hobo’s Lullaby’ (G. Reeves) echoes Pecker Dunne’s ‘Tinker’s Lullaby’.

Some of the tunes and lyrics are upbeat – ‘don’t you worry about tomorrow’.

Guitar, harp and mandolin feature here along with humming.

This is a soothing track as you would expect a lullaby might be.

‘Brahms Lullaby’ or ‘Cradle Song’ also lulls.

The vocal harmony and harp soothe the ear.

While Breeze emphasises the positive aspects of these songs, nursery rhymes can have a darker side.

‘Dream Angus’ (trad) is ethereal with a drone, vocal harmony and recorder.

It has very Scottish rhythms and syncopation.

‘Bobby Shafto’ (trad) brings in bass and has a lively danceable instrumental break.

The happier implications of the story are stressed here with the singer maintaining anticipation that Bobby will return and ‘marry me’.

‘Riddle Song’ (trad) has a minor tone and some very nice arpeggios on guitar as well as harp and vocal harmonies and a splendid fiddle riff.

This is another song where it is better not to think about any deeper sinister meanings in the lyrics.

It is about the heartache that comes from a parent’s deep love and the no crying baby is a sleeping one.

As is usual with Mandy Breeze’s songs, the pronunciation is clear so the messages are very accessible.

The arrangements are sensitive and the musicianship is superb.

This album should inspire all adults either to sing to children or to rediscover the innocence in themselves.


CD – “Riddles & Rhymes & Lullaby Times’ by Mandy Breeze – a beautiful collection of lullaby’s for the young and the young at heart. Played on traditional folk instruments including Pipes, Whistles, Harp, Irish Bazouki, Gittern, Flute, Violin, Dulcimer, Mandolin and more, featuring Mandy’s unique celtic vocal style with seamless harmonies from Liora Lalita Claff

A collection of favourite children’s lullaby’s and nursery songs, some old, some new, and one original.  This collection of crib songs are all performed on folk instruments, modern and traditional.  The CD was made about and for children, its gentle tones helping little ones fall asleep and hopefully instilling the love of some of these very old songs into a brand new generation of humans.

Additional information

Weight .190 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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