Claudia Robin Gunn’s warm, kindie-folk melodies capture the golden essence of childhood, offering a lens onto the child’s world that is as sweetly nostalgic for adult listeners as it is captivating for littlies. Little Wild Lulllabies is her debut children’s album but its assurance suggests an experienced songwriter; indeed, Gunn has industry credentials; two of the featured singles have won APRA awards for Best Children’s Song of the Year and the album was a finalist for Children’s Album of the Year in the 2017 New Zealand Children’s Music Awards.
A full, satisfying listen, the album reflects its years in the crafting. Harmonies rule, and subtle production touches add complexity and substance to Gunn’s girl-next-door freshness. Carried on warm, uplifting melodies, lyrics are a highlight, treading a path between wistfulness and exuberance. Infused with wonder, the songs are held together by an over-arching sense of safety and love. Like the best children’s writers, she remembers that children live outside of conscious time, “Just one more story, then I promise I’ll go to sleep” and “When I’m nine will I be old enough to get to Dreamworld?”
As a mother, Gunn is well versed in the big questions that little people ask, and these songs gently elevate the “little, wild” themes of childhood, giving the child’s voice breathing space and the dignity of a wide, inclusive stage. Like a gentle coaching session for parents, reminding them to slow down and count the puffs on their children’s dandelion clocks, Little Wild Lullabies is an album that works as well for the families of long-awaited newborns as it does for school-age children. Gunn’s world of security and magic is one that you would wish for any child.
Mother to Ella (7) Dylan (10) Claudia Gunn found her feet as a children’s musician in the midnight hours that followed the birth of her son. Writing and performing with her electronica act Substax had to slow down for a while, but Gunn found herself giving voice to the discoveries she made about motherhood, and how that reflected back on her own idyllic 70s childhood, in the form of lullabies and songs that captured their life together. Since music is such a powerful way to calm little brains, increase attention spans and grow hearts and attitudes and families, Claudia aspires to use her talents in support of causes and organisations that improve kids lives in New Zealand and elsewhere. Little Wild Lullabies is just the beginning; a second album, Little Wild Childhood, is in production as well as collaborations with fellow songwriters too.