South London songstress Sabiyha celebrates her Guyanese heritage on her stunning new track, ‘Lullaby’. The single—released on 28 January—is an ode to her grandmother, ‘Nanny’, and the chants she’d sing the rising artist and her 12 cousins. It opens with Nanny’s distinct voice, singing what used to settle the children in their infancy, layered over the bubbling chatter of large family gatherings. This snaps into the punchy beat, inspired by clapping games they used to play.
Her confident yet silky vocals narrate the journey of her family, blending broken English into the personality of the song, tapping into her identity throughout the track and weaving notable moments of her childhood together with intricacy. Sabiyha’s voice glides with the rhythm of the clapping effortlessly.
The artist exudes a deep sense of pride and draws attention to the conventions of her culture. From the food “Curry rice and roti, fried chicken if we’re good” to her sense of belonging “she does tell me of she history / she does tell me of bloodlines”, Sabiyha asserts her voice as one with multiple traditions. The Croydon-based singer has always been encouraged to love where she comes from: “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.”
The song concludes with a conversation with the matriarch, adding depth to the record and providing the backdrop to the opening sequence.
Words by Kira Mae Richards
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