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Summertime, And The Livin’ Is Easy

Lady Day – Billie Holiday – Dane Shue

Inspired by the African American spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child and the Ukrainian Yiddish lullaby Pipi-pipipee, as supposed by some composers and musicologists, Summertime is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess — Heyward’s inspiration for the lyrics was the southern folk spiritual-lullaby All My Trials.

“Summertime
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high
Oh your daddy’s rich
And your ma is good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry.”

In September 1936, a recording by Billie Holiday was the first to hit the US pop charts, reaching no. 12. And that’s the version chosen by Dutch filmmaker and animator Amos Mulder for the cut-out animation Floortje Brandsteder for school, in 2007. A really nice trip for such a lullaby.

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