Freedom's Plow, Complete

by Peter Saint-Andre


I think that I'm finished composing my musical setting of the long poem Freedom's Plow by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. I've been playing and singing the music for a month or so now and I don't hear a lot that I would like to change, so I'm calling it done. As befits a poem with over 200 lines, the total performance time of my arrangement is around 26 minutes, so it is an extremely long song! To put that in perspective, it is over twice as long as the longest Bob Dylan song I know ("Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands", which is a little under 11 minutes) and it is even a few minutes longer than the longest Yes song ("The Gates of Delirium", which is almost 22 minutes). In actuality, my setting of Freedom's Plow is more like a suite of six or seven songs than one uninterrupted song. It may even be too long to perform live (not that I would likely have the opportunity), but I like it a lot, so I hope to share it with people somehow. Don't your breath, though -- I've been promising to record some of my music for over ten years now and it hasn't happened yet...

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