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Freedom Africa—On wings of word and song—Uhuru!
Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let us appreciate the words and work of two enormously important men—Randy Weston[1] and Langston Hughes[2].

Randy Weston is very tall, standing 6’7”. His stature, however, is sleight compared with his jazz, his life and his unparalleled love of Africa and her people. Randy’s father told him, “You are an African born in America. Therefore, you have to study the history of Africa.” Well, Randy did that and more. He lived in Africa and called himself an American-African.

Langston Hughes was not as tall, but there is no matching his legacy of inspiration and eternal words. Langston also visited Africa, even before Randy was born!

The two legends combined their talents in the song African Lady[3], the second movement of Randy Weston’s opus Uhuru Afrika.

Sunrise at dawn,
Night is gone –
I hear your song.
African lady.
The dark fades away,
Now its day,
A new morning breaks.
The birds in the sky all sing
For Africa awakes.
Bright light floods the land
And tomorrow's in your hand,
African lady.

Goddess of sun
And of sea,
My lovely one,
African lady,
Your eyes softly bright
Like the light
Of stars above.
Smile and the whole world sings
A happy song of love.
Dark Queen! In my dreams
You're my Queen!
My Queen of Dreams,
African lady!

The lyrics are by Langston Hughes, the music by Randy Weston—and in Randy’s words this is, “dedicated to our mothers, our sisters, those African women who were always in the background, who always supported us, you see.” (February 24, 2012 interview with Amy Goodman)

Randy Weston did not like the image of Africans as put forth by Hollywood and “Tarzan” movies. In response, he put the Freedom Poem by Langston Hughes into the African Language. And he created Uhuru Afrika.

Randy Weston is inspired by many leaders. He followed the great Paul Robeson’s belief that, “Artists are responsible to fight for freedom.”

Randy knows so much. He knows that rhythm comes from Africa and that music comes from the Universe.

Go to “Africa where the great Congo flows.”

Find him. Listen, read and live. That, friends, is where Bentari lives!

Read Randy Weston’s Autobiography African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston[4]. Find Langston Hughes’ poetry everywhere!


[1] Please visit Randy Weston’s official website: http://www.randyweston.info/

[2] In this blog posted Feb. 26, 2012, see: http://bentari.com/Blog/Entry.aspx?pid=276&bid=51&beid=901

[3] Listen to African Lady and Randy Weston’s interview with Amy Goodman: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2012/2/24/jazz_legend_randy_weston_the_complete_democracy_now_interview

[4] See: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?productid=18836