Image: Times.co.uk

The Musical Doula

How a Spotify playlist played a part in the ACTUAL BIRTH of a little legend and the new tunes for baby two

Until last year I didn’t even know what a Doula was, let alone that I’d soon be one.

And for all the LAST YEAR MEs out there…

Doulas are trained, non-medical professionals who provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to women before, during and after childbirth, to facilitate the best possible birth experience. (theconversation.com)

Go on Doulas!

And my Doula Discovery began with Kate and James. A young Aussie couple who live on a tranquil property in Alstonville, a quiet country town outside Byron Bay.

They were well on their way to having a baby. Ready to pop in a few months in fact and Kate was lovingly sharing her Doula:

With eyes sparkling, “she’s my spiritual midwife who would guide James and I through our pregnancy.”

She was buzzing about her Doula and I thought she sounded like an Angel.

So how did I get mixed up in all this divinity?

Well, the operative word is mixed.

I mixed a Spotify playlist in 2018. A playlist called, ‘Finding the Frothers’

To take a step back:

‘Froth’, or to be ‘frothing’, comes from a lineage of West Coast Aussie surf lingo and it means to be amped for something, with a dash of stoke.

And as well as the ocean, froth for me comes best served through connection with other humans.

And it’s irrelevant the passion or topic. You can be a frother on cars, kites or wormfarms (I know one such a worman). You just have to froth and share that froth with others!

“Rising Tide, All Ships Vibe”

However, for this particular jam, let’s stick to la musiq.

I coach people to unlock, rekindle or accentuate their Flowstate (fun AF) and in particular, I love tapping into someones musical anthology as a trigger for performance.

And with this in mind for myself, I specifically assembled my playlist to assist transcendence into a Flowing FrothState ;)

And to tie these paragraphs into a bow and arrow up a segway:
‘Finding the Frothers’ is a hat tip to renegade Psychonaut Timothy Leary’s, dying wish for us to ‘Find the Others’.

And some of The frOthers I’ve found are my dear friends Brett and Mari Robinson.

The Robbos returned home from Europe last year.
Brett’s Aussie,
Mari Swedish
and with them they had a newborn Swaussie Frother
Ollie.

And it wasn’t until I was on a bushwalk (Staya) with the Robbo gang earlier this year that they casually mentioned I was a Doula. You see leading up to Ollie’s birth they’d listened to the Finding the Frothers playlist on the reg’.

Turns out that there is a recommendation for expecting parents to listen to the same songs throughout a pregnancy, so that when they’re in labour there is comfort in familiar sounds.

I’d also like to think that some of the bangers I had procured for the list fall into the fist pumping through the floor that maybe assisted those final pushes. But I didn’t enquire.

And when they told me this, I was so honoured, one might say ‘faaarothing’ that I’d been such an integral part in all of their journeys.

To caveat this/before I take all the glory, because I knew I should’ve been a DJ n’ that.

With the DNA of Mari and Brett, Ollie was going to be a guaranteed Frother. They’re both performance coach, ex-athletes and beautiful humans inside and out.

Brett, Mari and Ollie (frothers)

But I’d like to think that this playlist and the amazing musicians on it had something to do with Ollie’s next-level legendariness*
*it’s a word.

Ollie’s probably the fastest little kid I know and always learning and exploring. He even busts out leg stretches and yoga when we go for picnics. Leading the pack of adults to ensure we’re tapping into our elasticity and froth for the day.

And now with their plane about to leave for Sweden ‘again’ and their second on the way, I asked myself, how could we create an equally epic playlist for another epic Swaussie bubba?

Birthing the Frothers — that’s how!

Drum roll! I’ve created a new playlist.

And this time I’m reaching out to the original artists to recommend what song they can offer as a gift to the new baby.

Luckily I know three of the artists. Billy Otto, Tay Oskee and Mathieu Hocine (Kid Francescoli) so I’ve got their jams already.
Thanks Fellas!

And perhaps, if you read this and know any of the artists, you could swing them a note, as it’ll no doubt be as good as the first.

FYI The other artists are: CamelPhat, Elderbrook, Odesza, Hot Chip, Kungs, Parcels, The Avener, Hayden James, PNAU, Everything Everything, Odette, Portugal the man, ZHU, Tame Impala, Crooked Colours, Kleintierschaukel, Dizzee Rascal, Christopher Port, Polo and Pan, Matt Corby, De Hofnar, Sparrows and Jesper Ryom.

As they come in, I’m going to add to the story below and on my instagram.

To approach them I’ve written a cheeky note and will do my best to add a track straight from their heart and into a baby on the way.

Spotify Doulas

I thought about ‘Spoulas’ but that sounds like some fancy Italian fishing gear.

There’s been a few attempts on Spotify to create birthing playlists, but it doesn’t seem to stick in terms of listens. And I think I know why…

PDP: the Playlist Detonation Point

Unlike most timeless playlists, Doula playlists are fraught with danger!

As the experience through labour could make the songs unappealing once the little Frother is born.

And from my data set of one, I’m making this rigorous scientific assumption because Mari doesn’t listen to the original playlist anymore.

But let’s play the sentimentality card and say it makes it more special that these songs are for the family and when the new bub drops in to say G’day it’s time for some new tunes;
It’s time for a new chapter.
Its time,
for some new family bangers.

However, it’d be worth keeping the playlist and hijacking the sound at the kids 18th birthday just to sit back and watch what happens… Hmmmm.

A real Musical Doula!

While I realise I’m not a real Doula… Don’t worry, I’ve come to terms with this. I’d still love for it to be something we could do for each other in the not-to-distant-future

Would you create a Musical Doula Playlist for your friends or family who are expecting?
I’d love to know.

How rad to think that your musical choices could shape a baby as it enters this wild existence.

Especially now.
Welcome to the Jungle anyone?

And what’s more, through my in depth research of 12minutes into the term ‘Musical Doula’, it turns our Erykah Badu is an
ACTUAL
MUSICAL
DOULA!

For as well as being named the Queen of Modern Soul Music, she delivered a friend’s baby, possibly more!

I’d never listened to Erykah before now and while I wrote this I listened to her music to inspire the words.

Another cheeky example of musical resonance that can infuse more meaning into our creative expressions of froth.

Might drop her a line and see if she’d be keen on recommending a song too :D

Erykah Badu

So Musical Doula Twola is in motion: ‘Birthing the Frothers’ (Open for other ideas for a better name for the playlist BTW)

Like I said above, if you stumble across this and know any of the musos on the list, I’d love for them to hear about it and send me their song. @bennywallington on instagram or benny@101tokens.com

Here’s the original playlist for anyone keen to jam out into some guaranteed Froth.

It’s been added to since but if you want the originals you can sort by date added. Isn’t Spotify just the best - It’s like a full time Musical Doula for us all.

Much love,
Benny

I’ll keep dropping them into THE PLAYLIST. I’ll also UPDATE HERE IN THIS ARTICLE and on Insta when they come in:

Here are the first three tracks:

Tay Oskee ‘The Wire’

Billy Otto ‘Let Me Loose’

Kid Francescoli ‘Blow Up’

Experiments in Vice Optimisation, Regenerative Business Building, Flow States and other random radness.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store