Dan Heyman (Heymann), writer of Weeping

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

The birth of the South African band, Bright Blue, during 1983, included Dan Heyman as the keyboard-player, a position he held until the band's dissolution in 1990; He also wrote several songs, the most familiar being "Weeping".

Heyman was raised in Cape Town and, until his early teen years, learned classical piano at school.
However, Heyman never managed to learn sight-reading properly; he was happier trying to figure tunes out by ear.
This meant that Heyman couldn't get far in classical music!

Heyman, after giving up the classical lessons, switched his focus to contemporary music, hooked up with schoolmates for the occasional "jam"; two of them later teamed up with Heyman in Bright Blue.
An old electric organ was the only keyboard Heyman had available, that could be moved around.

after leaving high school, Heyman signed up for Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, where his interest in music continued, and, he would tinkle alone on any piano available on campus.

For his twenty-first birthday, Heyman treated himself to a new instrument, a Wurlitzer electric piano; this was much better than the old organ, for his percussive style.
That summer, Heyman landed a gig playing background-music in restaurants; there he met Tom Fox, a guitarist who invited Heyman to join Soft Landing, an informal jazz band, for a few shows.
Tom Fox later joined Bright Blue as well.

Traditional South African music influences were irresistible;
Surrounded by those sounds, the piano-style of Heyman acquired some of the local character.

It was during his final year at UCT, 1983, that Heyman teamed up with his old high-school-mates, the Cohen brothers (bass-player Ian and drummer Peter) who wanted to form a band with a singer-songwriter called Robin Levetan, and felt Heyman's keyboard style could suit their sound.
And the guitarist they invited to join them was the same Tom Fox from the short-lived jazz band with whom Heyman had played two years before.

After a hectic first year in Bright Blue, Heyman was drafted into the Army of the white-supremacist regime.
Forced to spend two years in uniform, Heyman continued to improvise on any piano he found; That's where he wrote the music of "Weeping".
Heyman meant it to be a sad instrumental piece, expressing his feeling about the situation;
But later, when the authorities declared a State of Emergency to silence the press, Heyman added words to the tune, and "Weeping" was born.

Released from the army in 1986, Heyman moved with the rest of the band (except Robin Levetan) to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city and the hub of the local music industry.
It was there that "Weeping" was taped by the band, and Heyman was thrilled when it spent two weeks at the top of the charts on the government-owned "Radio Five".

After Bright Blue disbanded, Heyman remained in Johannesburg as a free-lance keyboardist, until early 1992, when Heyman moved to New York City, where he still lives and 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.