Folks, I'm Telling You

SSATB, piano

Langston Hughes' short, sassy poem, "Advice", contains an irresistible combination of hard truth and deep love. Elizabeth Alexander's dynamic setting of this poem is packed with edgy jazz harmonies, straight-ahead rhythms, and soulful, blues-inflected lines.


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VocalEssence; Philip Brunelle, conductor. Saint Paul, MN
Denison University Chamber Singers; Wei Cheng, conductor. Granville, OH
Earlham College Madrigal Singers; Dan Graves, conductor. East Coast Tour
University of Michigan University Choir; Paul Rardin, conductor. Ann Arbor, MI
Harmonium Choral Society; Ann Matlack, conductor. Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Waterloo, CT


"I just read through Folks. What a kick-ass piece of music that is!! I can't wait for us to do it. I think you're brilliant." - Jason Shelton, Music Director, First Unitarian Universalist Church (Nashville, TN)

"I LOVE THIS PIECE. There isn't anything anyone can do to convince me to change my mind about performing it. Thanks for this music. You know how to make some incredible stuff come off a page...WOW!" - Bradley Oleson, Dept of Music Education, University of Miami (Miami, FL)

Text Author or Source: 
Langston Hughes

Poem by Langston Hughes

Folks, I'm telling you,
birthing is hard
and dying is mean -
so get yourself
a little loving
in between.

© 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.
Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.