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The Long Walk Home Mixtape

Long Walk Home Cover

...they bring the Ibos over in a slave ship & when they get here, they ain't like it & so they all start singing & they march right down in the river to march back to Africa

                                Floyd White - Federal Writers Project (1930s)


During the summer of 2019, artist, curator and director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson participated in Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy, a region-wide series of cultural events celebrating poet Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries Kislak Center. Inspired by Whitman’s fondness for walking and the powerful songs of Civil Rights Movement protesters, Jackson presented ”New Songs of the Open Road” - a special project consisting of a series of four singing walks, "caroling" through the streets of Philadelphia.


To Learn More About New Songs of the Open Road - CLICK HERE

Whitman Mixtape Studio Views 2

Whitman Mixtape Studio Views 1


These walks and the exhilarating songs were written and arranged by vocalist/songwriter Toby VEnT Martin, choirmaster and composer Waverly Alston and vocalist/songwriter James Solomon. The  10-part Walt Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series featuring poetic and musical collaborations between local vocalists, musicians and poets is available as a FREE download. As part of the studio sessions for this project, vocalist and vocussionist, Bethlehem Roberson led a newly-formed ensemble on what proved to be a magical music experience.


To Learn More About the Walt Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series - CLICK HERE


Whitman Mixtape Studio Views 3

Whitman Mixtape Studio Views 4


Seeking to connect with Whitman’s affection for walking, Jackson again turned to Black History for a metaphor. He suggested that Bethlehem and company strategize around the theme of a long walk home, with the subtext that this particular walk happened at Ibo Landing: the historic site where it is believed that an entire shipload of Africans sold into slavery, turned toward the ocean and walked into the waters taking their own lives instead of becoming slaves in America. Bethlehem, who uses her voice as well as her hands and feet as instruments was joined by violinist Jack Drummond, bassist and pianist Richard Hill, as well as drummer and percussionist Malik Henry. This quartet dug into a deep reservoir of spirituality and virtuosity that was potent, moving and inspiring. We share that experience with you in this mixtape... THE LONG WALK HOME.


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To download, click the download button below. When the page with audio appears, let it download to your browser. Then go to File/Save Page As... Be sure to save file as mp3.


Long Walk Home Cover - SmallTHE LONG WALK HOME 



Released May 2020


Music performed by Bethlehem, Jack Drummond, Malik Henry and Richard Hill.


Duration: 41 minutes

File Size: 59 MB




A Long Walk Home Suite
Composed by Bethlehem, Jack Drummond, Malik Henry and Richard Hill
Bethlehem - vocals and tarima (platform drum), Jack Drummond - violin, Bass: Richard Hill - bass and piano, Malik Henry - percussion.

Recorded by Eric Bogacz on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at Spice House Sound, Philadelphia
Mixed by Eric Bogacz and Homer Jackson
Executive Producer: Homer Jackson


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bethlehemBethlehem Roberson was raised in an active, church-going Philadelphia family, where she became steeped in the traditions of gospel music. Later, she took on the Hebrew faith, merging her gospel background with the traditions of Judaism. A singer all her life, Bethlehem participated in open mic events and spoken word presentations. She has performed at Relish, LaRose Jazz Cafe, The Rotunda, Clef Club, Irvine Auditorium, Temple Performing Arts Center and other venues. Bethlehem draws influences from male vocalists like Sam Cooke, David Ruffin, Marvin Gaye and Prince. As a writer, her studies of the Torah and other sacred Hebrew texts teach her that words have sacred power and must used wisely and carefully.




Website | Booking Contact | Facebook



Jack DrummondJack Drummond is a violinist, composer, bandleader for experiments and a member of the string ensemble Stroke. In his day job life, he is an educational leader, administrator, advisor, community organizer, and adjunct professor. He is the Directing Manager of his company "Collage Of Talent, LLC." a company geared towards supporting aspiring and experienced artists. He has a triple B.S. degree in Psychology, Education, and Music and an M.Ed. degree in Education from Lincoln University. He is currently completing a doctoral degree in Education Leadership & Policy at Temple University. He currently serves as adjunct faculty in the Psychology department at Lincoln University.






Instagram | Booking Contact | Facebook




Whitman Mixtape - Malik Henry Malik Henry is a drummer and producer who honed his craft playing in his church alongside musicians like Stan Davis Jr, Henri McMillan, Jermaine Bryson and Louis Taylor. Henry further developed as a musician by joining Central High School’s Jazz band, where he was selected for the All City Jazz Band under the direction of Terrell Stafford. Since then, Henry has worked with Odean Pope, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Alfie Pollitt and Adam Faulk. Currently, Malik Henry works as a producer and sound engineer through his company: ERA. Some of the artists he works with include Zeek Burse, Amari Rebel, Maya Simone and Eli Capella. Malik Henry has shared the stage with these artists at venues like World Cafe Live, Green Soul, The Fillmore, Temple Performing Arts Center and The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.






Website | Instagram | Facebook




Whitman Mixtape - Richard Hill Richard Hill is an inventive acoustic and electric bassist. Deeply immersed in the Philadelphia music scene since high school, Hill is also a provocative improviser and genre-defying composer with strong roots in the church. He was the winner of the 2014 Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts awards for bass and has performed with Bobby Zankel, Sumi Tonooka, Alfie Pollitt, Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Frank Foster, Jymie Merritt’s Forerunners, Jackie Mclean, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Mickey Roker, the United States Army Band and others. He has also recorded with Javon Jackson, Jill Scott, Touch of Jazz Studios and the Korean Broadcasting Network.





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To Bethlehem Robeson, Jack Drummond, Richard Hill and Malik Henry for their rich display of vision and talent and to all of the Walt Whitman Sampler Mixtape Series poets, vocalists and musicians, as well as to those individuals whose schedules would not allow their participation in the recording process. You were with us in spirit.


To Judith Tannenbaum, Lynne Farrington and Devinne Melecki of the Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy team, who have maintained a steadfast commitment to the vision and the work of both the singing-walking series and this mixtape project.


To our other collaborators at The Free Library of Philadelphia, Cliveden of the National Trust, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the Fairmount Park Conservancy.


To Alex Santilli and Eric Bogacz of Spice House Sound, as well as Brendan McGeehan of Retro City Studios and Tom Volpicelli at the Mastering House.


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About Ibo Landing

Ibo LandingIbo Landing is a historic site on St. Simons Island, Georgia. It was the setting of a mass suicide in 1803 by captive Ibo people (also known as Ebo, Igbo) from West Africa, who had taken control of their slave ship and refused to submit to captivity. The event has symbolic importance in African American folklore and literary history.



For More Information: Ibo Landing



About Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman 1Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Recognized internationally as the first major exponent of free verse, he has been called America's "poet of democracy.”




For More Information: Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy


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Major support for Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy artistic commissions has been provided to University of Pennsylvania Libraries by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


The Waterman II Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, following a recommendation of David Haas, has provided additional support for New Songs of the Open Road.


Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.



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If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood.
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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.