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Publisher's Summary

Audible presents the multigenerational epic Some Sing, Some Cry. Created by Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza, this audiobook takes listeners on a journey through Reconstruction, two world wars, the Harlem renaissance, and Vietnam to modern day America.

Some Sing, Some Cry begins at the threshold of one family’s freedom. We meet Betty Mayfield, newly emancipated from Sweet Tamarind, a lush and haunted rice plantation off the Carolina coast. Betty and her feisty teenage granddaughter Eudora are leaving for the mainland, bringing with them the ghosts, scars, and songs they have carried for so long as they meet unknown challenges ahead. From there, we meet seven generations of Mayfield men and women, and hear the songs that provide the score to their lives. Acclaimed narrator Robin Miles goes beyond the prose to transform song lyrics sprinkled throughout the book into beautiful music, making this a uniquely rich literary and audio experience.

Playwright, poet, and novelist Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be a star-studded major motion picture this fall, directed by Tyler Perry.

Ifa Bayeza is an Edgar Award-winning playwright, producer, and conceptual theater artist.

Yale Drama School-trained Robin Miles has appeared on stage and TV and narrated over 100 audiobooks.

Free with this audiobook: an exclusive interview with the authors.

©2010 Ntozake Shange, Ifa Bayeza (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“If there are shoulders modern African-American women's literature stands upon they belong to Ntozake Shange who revolutionized theater and literature with her iconic work for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf in the 1970's. Any of us writing today are inheritors of her genius. Some Sing, Some Cry will show her to be as potent and irrepressible a force as she was thirty years ago.” (Sapphire, author of Push)

“In this epic saga, the sister-sister author combination of Bayeza and Shange offers a richly detailed and boldly colored account of one family’s experience in slavery and its legacies for the generations that followed. Some Sing, Some Cry is both moving and arresting.” (Annette Gordon-Reed, author of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family)

“This is a complex poetic treatise on race, culture, love, and family, the use of regional vernacular, dialect, and pure song, resulting in a provocative fictional history.” (Publishers Weekly)

"Vibrant... Some Sing, Some Cry is Shange and Bayeza at their poetic best." (Essence)

"Keeps the reader turning page after page…. This story of lifesaving music and heartbroken maternity is engaging from start to finish. The Mayfield women are hilarious and sexy, gorgeous and strong." (New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Some Sing, Some Cry

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara
  • 03-10-2010

Southern Soul

This book was beautifully narated by a voice that can take you to another time, a time in the deep south in the depth of slavery, and forward to an era a jazz and soul music. The can feel the love for music of the authors as they take you on a journey of stuggles and triumphs with a family that evokes a strenth of love and pride. Robin Miles, brings the voices of these characters to life. The voice characterizations brings forth a mental visionary story you will enjoy, with a delivery that will make you too, sing and cry.
I loved this book! Excellant listen!

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Megan
  • 06-10-2010

Beautiful story

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. The authors beautifully weave together the story of seven generations of women from slavery to modern day. The book is full of music, history, love, loss and accomplishment.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • French Toast Queen
  • 18-10-2010


This book was so good that as soon as I finished it, I thought it would be perfect to start again from the beginning. The narration is the best I've heard. The characters are deep, soulful, heartbreaking, funny and purely joyful. I could "see" the story unfold in my minds-eye as I listened because of the beautiful writing. It is a very complex story but the narrator is so skilled at differentiating the voices that it's easy to follow along. I can't recommend this book enough. My 84 year old Dad who has never listened to an audiobook is going to love this!

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jo
  • 29-09-2010

I Sang, I Cried

Absolutely beautiful. The collaboration of the two sisters and the narrator is a success! This book has left me with the dilemma of what could I possibly read next? Seven generations through love, music, and social changes took me on a ride of emotion and sent me to the computer for research. BRAVO!!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AL
  • 27-10-2010

One of the best books offered by Audible

When you have an richly written and narrated epic journey that weaves characters through years of social and political change of an America that makes it's wobbly steps into a more enlightened age, you experience the book rather then just listen. I applaud the authors and thank the publisher for engaging the narrator, Robin Mills because she was amazing. Her accents were fantastic and added so much to the story but it is her singing range that turned this work of art into a MASTERPIECE.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • G. Guerin
  • 09-10-2010

Stirred My Soul

The words filled me up and took me away. Beautiful well written story. I really enjoyed the book and the narration, but the singing was a bit too much for me. Don't worry it's just me, I'm sure others will enjoy it. Since this is my first review, take that has an indication of how much I liked the book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 22-11-2010

Some Sing, Some Cry

I enjoyed the rich and historic journey this book took me on! It was beautifully written and I appreciated the point of view that was highlighted. I have never enjoyed a reader so much! I found myself singing along with her as if I knew the songs! She nailed every dialect and every music style with expert ease! Thanks for the extraordinarily emotional read! I also enjoyed the authors interview at the end.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • 12-11-2010

Beautiful Story

This was a great book narrated beautifully by Robin Miles. I loved every moment of this wonderfully written book. The interview of the authors at the end of the book was fabulous, we are told about the writing of the book as well as some interesting facts about the authors lives. This just made it even more wonderful and special. Thanks Audible for another great listen- well worth the credit ✭✭✭

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Avid reader and shopper
  • 11-11-2010

Unbelievably Good!

Truthfully, I'd grown weary of slavery/post slavery books. I am an African American woman, so of course had read a great deal of them. Thus, I hesitated about downloading this one. I'm so very glad I did. I listened to this book about 2 months ago, and it is still with me. The focus, suprisingly, was not on all the pain and humiliation of slavery, but on the love, hate and music of one family. I learned so much about the possible origins of some of the hidden truths in our lives, and as a consequence have learned to embrace these hidden truths. More than anything, as a lover of music of all types, I was astounded by the absolutely wonderful singing talents of Ms. Miles, everything from old colored hymns to classical music, to hip hop. And the JAZZ! Wow! Don't misunderstand, this is not a musical, it is a truely awesome story with some songs in it that underscore the different time periods of the book. I have a friend that insists she cannot listen to audiobooks because she falls asleep. I'm going to attempt to download this onto cd's or if necessary buy the audio version for her. I know she will love it as much as I have. Most people saw "For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enough" by this author, and may have been moved to read this book because of that wonderful story. For me it was just the opposit, I went to see "For Colored Girls..." because of this book!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie
  • 03-03-2014

Spiritual Journey, Voices Rising

I thoroughly enjoyed Some Sing, Some Cry, but agree with another reviewer that it was a bit too long, AND that the first half was by far the best. The human stories, of Ma Bett, her daughters and grandchildren were my favorite, and the love and wisdom that she passed down to her family blessed my soul. The history of the jazz movement, with the very personal stories were incredible. Though important for the people and our country, the political actions, did not interest me nearly as much. I love stories of the south, and this one is very good. It doesn't come close to The Help or The Kitchen House, however. But perhaps one shouldn't compare them, as they are different in that this one spans a much longer time period, and follows several generations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Evie
  • 05-06-2012

Some Sing Some Cry

This is amazing. Colour and class in the post slavery American South. Well developed plot and characters. Well worth listening to!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • zomodo
  • 03-06-2011

Good book,

This book was quite clever in the way in authors incorpoated the family's musical talent within the story line. I also liked the way the events of the family crossed over the time lines from slavery to the modern day.

The narration was good, as was the singing!, I watched the film of 'For Coloured Girls', the author's other book and it was very good, poetic almost, this is much the same. Very beautifully worded and poetic but still just an ordinary book, not overly arty (which i was at first concerned about).

There were a couple of surprising moments when the narrator made two errors which somehow made it to the final edit but that was funny more than annoying.

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