Lullabies from the Axis of Evil
Lullabies from the Axis of Evil (2004) is an album collecting traditional lullabies sung by women from Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, and North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 ("the axis of evil"), as well as Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, and, Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 ("beyond the axis of evil"), plus Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, mixed with Western performers singing translated versions of the songs.

It was conceived by Norwegian music producer Erik Hillestad
Erik Hillestad
Erik Hillestad is a Norwegian record producer and lyricist.He is founder and manager of the company and record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted. He has received several awards for his works, including a 1992 Fritt Ord Honorary Award....

 in reaction to the "axis of evil
Axis of evil
"Axis of evil" is a term initially used by the former United States President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002 and often repeated throughout his presidency, describing governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction...

" term first used by U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 in his 2002 State of the Union address.


Reviewers generally acclaimed the idea of the album, while reviews of the final product were mixed.
  • Washington Post: "The most thought-provoking musical statement made this election year just might be a CD of heartbreakingly beautiful songs for babies."
  • Allmusic: "The idea is excellent - giving a human face to those countries labeled by George W. Bush as "the axis of evil" in his 2002 speech. [...] But it's the music that lets the project down."


  • The producer claimed that several artists had not wanted to participate in the project, because they were afraid of boycott from the music industry and media.
  • According to a statement from the album's U.S. distributor Valley Entertainment
    Valley Entertainment
    Valley Entertainment is a United States music distributor and independent record label based in New York City. The company was founded in 1996 by Barney Cohen, president and CEO. In 2001, they acquired the prestigious back catalogue of space, ambient, and New Age music from Hearts of Space Records...

    , their company was blacklisted in 2007 by the George W. Bush administration
    George W. Bush administration
    The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

     because of its release. A press release (March 2, 2007) from the album's original Norwegian record company Kirkelig Kulturverksted (Norway's largest independent record label) also claimed that their U.S. distributor had been blacklisted by the Bush administration.

Track listing

  1. "Sad Sol (You, My Destiny)" (Iran) - Mahsa Vahdat, Sarah Jane Morris
    Sarah Jane Morris (singer)
    Sarah Jane Morris , is a pop music, jazz, rock and R&B singer and songwriter.In 1982, Morris joined The Republic as lead singer. A London-based Afro-Caribbean-Latin band with leftish tendencies, they received enormous publicity from the music press including cover stories with NME and City Limits...

  2. "Dilelol (Sleep, My Child)" (Iraq) - Amel Kthyer, Halla Balsam, Eva Dahlgren
    Eva Dahlgren
    Eva Dahlgren is a Swedish pop musician, born 9 June 1960 in Umeå, Sweden.Dahlgren was discovered by musician/producer Bruno Glenmark in 1978 after appearing on the TV show "Sveriges magasin" and her debut album Finns det nån som bryr sej om was released the same year...

  3. "Lalolalo (Don't You Worry My Child)" (Afghanistan) - Kulsoom Syed Ghulam, Lila Downs
    Lila Downs
    Lila Downs is a Mexican singer-songwriter. She performs her own compositions as well as tapping into Mexican traditional and popular music...

  4. "Ya Lel Ma Atwalak (This Never Ending Night)" (Palestine) - Rim Banna
    Rim Banna
    Rim Banna is a Israeli Arab singer, composer, and arranger and an activist, who is well-known for her modern interpretations of the Palestinian Arab songs. Banna was born in Nazareth, Israel, where she graduated from Nazareth Baptist School...

    , Kari Bremnes
    Kari Bremnes
    Kari Bremnes is a Norwegian singer and songwriter.She got an M.A. in language, literature , history and theater studies from the University of Oslo, and worked as a journalist for several years before deciding to dedicate herself to music full time.In 1987 she received the Spellemannprisen for the...

  5. "Luna, Luna (Luna, Luna Little Doll)" (Syria) - Mayada Killsly Baghdadi, Mimi
    -People:* Mimi * Constantin Mimi , a Bessarabian politician and winemaker-Places:* Mimi, Nepal* Mimi, New Zealand, a locality in Taranaki, New Zealand* Mimi River -Other uses:* Mimi , a 1935 British film...

  6. "Peace Song" (Iraq) - Halla Balsam, Sevara Nazarkhan
    Sevara Nazarkhan
    Sevara Nazarkhan is an Uzbek singer, songwriter, and musician. She was born 1978 in Andijan city, Uzbek SSR....

  7. "Aruru (Lullaby, Sweet Baby)" (Cuba) - Martha Lorenzo e Nina Hagen
    Nina Hagen
    Nina Hagen is a German singer and actress.-Early years:Hagen was born as Catharina Hagen in the former East Berlin, East Germany, the daughter of Hans Hagen , a scriptwriter, and Eva-Maria Hagen, an actress and singer...

  8. "Stars Are Rising" (North Korea) - Sun Ju Lee, Eddi Reader
    Eddi Reader
    Eddi Reader MBE is a Scottish singer-songwriter, known both for her work with Fairground Attraction and for an enduring solo career. She is the recipient of three BRIT Awards and has topped both the album and singles charts...

  9. "Nami (Angel)" (Syria) - Viva Killisly Chachati, Katia Cardenal
    Katia Cardenal
    Katia Cardenal is a Nicaraguan singer/songwriter, and a part of the nueva trova movement. Katia and her brother Salvador Cardenal form the Duo Guardabarranco, one of the leading proponents of nueva trova, known for classical songs like Guerrero del amor, Guardabosques, Casa Abierta and Colibri...

  10. "Lalalala Gohle Leleh" (Iran) - Masha Vahdat, Marjan Vahdat
  11. "Garibe (Watching Over Me)" - Halla Balsam, Rickie Lee Jones
    Rickie Lee Jones
    Rickie Lee Jones is an American vocalist, musician, songwriter, and producer. Over the course of a three-decade career, Jones has recorded in various musical styles including rock, R&B, blues, pop, soul, and jazz standards.-Childhood:...

  12. "Nami Ya La'aubi (Sleep My Doll)" (Palestine) - Rim Banna
    Rim Banna
    Rim Banna is a Israeli Arab singer, composer, and arranger and an activist, who is well-known for her modern interpretations of the Palestinian Arab songs. Banna was born in Nazareth, Israel, where she graduated from Nazareth Baptist School...

    , Annisette Hansen
  13. "Gohlelale (My Tulip, My Pearl)" (Iran) - Pari Zanganeh, Washington Cathedral Girls Choristers
  14. "Nami (Lament)" (Palestine) - Jawaher Shofani
  15. "Mazar (Some Day, My Boy)" (Afghanistan) - Fanzya Ali, Razya Khan Ali, Elana Fremerman
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