Dan Heyman (Heymann) wrote the freedom song, Weeping, in South Africa

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Click here to view the lyrics of "Weeping"
Click here to read about the development of "Weeping"
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Click here to view some details about Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Click here to read something about Josh Groban's career
Click here to read a little about Vusi Mahlasela's story
Click here to view a very compressed history of the anti Apartheid movement in South Africa

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Weeping: Dan Heymann, songwriter Picture: gillstrawberry.co.za

Dan Heyman was present at the birth of the South African band, Bright Blue, and continued playing keyboards and songwriting in the band until its demise in 1990.

Raised in Cape Town, Dan Heyman received lessons in classical piano while at school, until he was a teenager in the mid-seventies.
However, Dan Heyman never learned to read music properly, as figuring pieces out by ear took less effort, and this naturally hampered Dan Heyman's progress in calssical music!
However, after quitting classical music lessons, Dan Heyman listened to plenty of contemporary music, and sometimes jammed with schoolfriends, two of whom later were later fellow-members of Bright Blue with Dan Heyman.
A primitive electric organ, passed down from a cousin, was the only mobile instrument Dan Heyman could get his hands on during that time.

In the years after high school, Dan Heyman attended the University of Cape Town, studying engineering, and continuing to experiment on the piano informally, whenever an opportunity presented itself.
When he turned twenty-one, he bought himself a new instrument with his savings; a Wurlitzer electric piano, with which he was able to earn a little cash providing background-music in restaurants,
and thus he met guitarist Tom Fox, which led to a couple of hasty jazz-band gigs; Later, Tom Fox would also be present at the founding of Bright Blue!

Traditional South African music was an inescapable influence, and the piano-style of Dan Heyman soon grew some local accents.
During 1983, his last year as a student, those old friends from high-school (the brothers Ian and Peter Cohen) invited Dan Heyman to add his sound to a band they were starting,
and there Dan Heyman encountered Robin Levetan, the singer-songwriter fronting the band, as well as getting re-acquainted with Tom Fox, his former partner from the informal jazz band two years before.

But in mid-1984, Dan Heyman had to give up regular musical activity for two years, when he was conscripted into the Army of the authoritarian Apartheid government.
However, Dan Heyman would occasionally find pianos to play in the army, and thus Dan Heyman came up with the music of "Weeping".
It was meant to be a sad instrumental piece, in which Dan Heyman expressed his anti-army sentiments;
But later, the white regime imposed a State of Emergency, thus giving Dan Heyman the idea for the words of "Weeping".

Following his 1986 discharge from the army, Dan Heyman plus the rest of the band (with the exception of Robin Levetan) moved to Johannesburg, where they remained until the band split up in 1990.
It was during that time that they recorded "Weeping", which proceeded to spend two weeks in the top position on the government-controlled station, Radio Five.

After the band broke up, Dan Heyman performed free-lance keyboard-work in Johannesburg, until 1992 when Dan Heyman journeyed to his current home, New York City, where he still writes.

Click here for "Weeping" Homepage

Weeping , written by Dan Heymann (sometimes mis-spelled as Dan Heyman ), is a famous protest song that emerged from the South African anti Apartheid movement during the mid-1980's, and this song of freedom has been recorded by many artists, including noted South African band Bright Blue and, more recently, Josh Groban , in a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Vusi Mahlasela , who has previously released a solo recording of this song of protest . The anti Apartheid lyrics Weeping contains are among the most-recorded freedom song lyrics of any protest song to have come out of South Africa. The Weeping song (rights to which are partially controlled by Muffled Music ) led to a February, 2006, encounter between singer Josh Groban and songwriter Dan Heymann (occasionally mis-spelled as Heyman ) at New York City's Sony Studios, a legendary institution which has given many a song freedom to soar. It was a thrill for Dan to hear his anti Apartheid song being recorded by such a high-caliber team. Having been a musician in contact with various anti-Apartheid movements during the Freedom-Struggle in South Africa, when examining the Weeping lyrics , Dan was thrilled to feel the connection of his lyric to protest song tradition. When the time came to add backing vocals, nobody needed to teach Vusi Mahlasela lyrics to the Weeping song , having already performed it live so many times, and this new rendition of Dan's familiar rhyming- lyric protest song should give the song freedom to reach many new listeners. Many protest songs were inspired by the anti Apartheid movement and Dan is proud that his freedom song has been so well-received, particularly when there are already so many wonderful anti-Apartheid protest song lyrics in existence.