Your Montana Public Radio
Tue February 4, 2014
Langston Hughes - I Too Sing America
2/10/2014 - Langston Hughes, an enduring icon of the Harlem Renaissance, is best known for his written work, which wedded his fierce dedication to social justice with his belief in the transformative power of the word. But he was a music lover too and some of the works he was most proud of were collaborations with composers and musicians. Hosted Terrance McKnight, WQXR host and former Morehouse professor of music, I Too, Sing America will dive into the songs, cantatas, musicals, and librettos that flowed from Hughes' pen. As he did with his poetry, Hughes used music to denounce war, combat segregation, and restore human dignity in the face of Jim Crow. His musical adventures included writing lyrics for stage pieces such as Black Nativity and Tambourine to Glory, works that helped give birth to the genre of Gospel Play, as well as songs for radio plays and political campaigns and the libretto for Kurt Weill's Street Songs. The documentary includes recordings of select pieces of Hughes' musical works, some of which were never performed again in their entirety after thier original production. It will also feature archival interview tape of William Grant Still discussing Troubled Island.