Sabiyha today releases a new video to accompany current Radio 1 and BBC Introducing-supported single, ‘Lullaby’. The rising South-Londoner’s first release of 2021, ‘Lullaby’ is a vivid celebration of her Guyanese heritage, produced by close friend Drew Jodi.
Stream the new video from here.
The video – a tender montage of family home movie footage spanning Sabiyha’s childhood growing up in Croydon – taps into the themes of honouring cultural and familial heritage which thread through ‘Lullaby’. The new track pays tribute in particular to her Nanny, matriarch of the vibrant extended family Sabiyha grew up around and is melodically built up around the tune Nanny would sing to hush Sabiyha – and twelve other small cousins – to sleep when they were in her care. Speaking about the impetus to make such a personal and evocative video for ‘Lullaby’, Sabiyha notes; I wanted people to have a window into the bustle and vibrancy and see that sense of togetherness that we had growing up – this lyric video is a collection of my childhood memories and provides a visual narrative to really encapsulate what it means to be in my family in all its VHS-nostalgia. It features close, immediate relatives and some wider (but still dear to me); beautiful moments with my parents and the playfulness of my twelve cousins and I – which makes up pretty much most of my younger years. The song itself has an audio layer of a party I recorded, my family speaking and laughing throughout – adding visuals to this makes that audio come to life, so you can feel in the room with us too.
Lifting Nanny’s looped chant for its intro, Sabiyha fleshes ‘Lullaby’ out with beats built up around a childhood clapping game played in her Nanny’s house. Its lyrics – very purposefully sung in broken english – summon up memories not only of a burgeoning sense of identity and belonging – ‘she does tell me of she history / she does tell me of bloodlines’ but the uncomplicated promise of ‘Curry rice and roti, fried chicken if we’re good’.
Says Sabiyha of the emotions that played into the song-writing; My Nanny is the reason we’re all so proud of who we are. Coming from an immigrant family, people like us can be shamed into changing our identities in order to fit in to a British society. However, my Nanny taught us the importance of repping our heritage and being proud of our roots.
I wrote it in broken English to represent what I hear, and the beauty that comes with our language. There can be such a culture in England of mocking accents and language and I want to show that we’re proud of ours and it’s nothing to be laughed at. I love being Guyanese and I love exploring my culture. My Nanny had a very hard life and had taught us about her own resilience and how she has overcome real pain and struggle. That has definitely influenced me.