Oleanna, as it is described in the old folk song of the same name, is a land where life is easy. It’s an idea of paradise cast in the mold of an earlier, maybe simpler time.
In Oleanna, the streets flow with beer. Cows milk themselves. And when you’re hungry, pigs walk up to you, inquiring politely whether you’d like to eat them for dinner.
It’s a sweet, old fashioned piece of musical satire… And it’s catchy enough to be one of my children’s most requested songs for dancing.
On a lark, I rewrote the song to make it apply to motherhood in our city by the bay.
Same idea, different context.
That’s what I love about folk music.
Someone writes a song. If it’s a good song, maybe it lasts. Over the decades, centuries even, singer after singer discovers it…. Adding a verse here, taking one away there… Folk music is a living tradition.
In this spirit, I offer my updated Oleanna, for Mamas like me, who are feeling more than a little exhausted now and then.
Oh, and one note about the video. You’ll notice that Peregrine has a big scab on her nose. A few days ago, she fell on her face on our concrete steps, poor dear! She’s okay now, though. She’s dancing again, which is the best way to tell, with her.
Lyrics might be hard to make out with the elements, so you can read them below.
Oh, to be in Oleanna!
That’s where I’d rather be,
If you are a mother
Now there’s a place you can be free
In Oleanna, land is free,
Lunch and dinner make themselves,
Children wash the dishes
While on your bed you rest yourself.
You can nurse your babe in peace
While you’re walking down the street
No-one even looks at you
They know that children need to eat
So if you’re in need of rest
To put up your feet, let down your hair
Get yourself to Oleanna
Wait for me, I’ll meet you there
Love and blessings from my family to yours,
If you enjoyed this post, here are a few ways to go deeper:
This song appears on our latest album, Good Morning Treetops! You can download it here. It’s free / pay what you want!
And.. If you’re raising little ones in the SF Bay Area, you can join us in person!
Meadowlark Music Class, my weekly music class for children and caregivers, meets W and F mornings at indoor and outdoor locations around San Francisco.