Americana Highways brings you this lyric video premiere of Cindy Lee Berryhill’s timely song “Woke Up From a Dream.”
“Woke Up From a Dream” is Cindy Lee Berryhill on vocals, ukulele, and Martin 0017 guitar; David Schwartz on upright bass; Danny Frankel on drums and percussion; Renata Bratt on cello; and Deane Cote on mandolin. It was mixed and mastered by Lee Ray. This song recounts the true story of Berryhill’s own dream and its highlighting realizations of the realities of privilege and prejudice. The bright ukulele and tambourine will disarm you and invite you into the tale.
In this dream, I was a retail clerk at Macy’s hoping for a promotion. I mentioned my intention to my friends and coworkers looking for some support. Much to my surprise they told me they didn’t think a promotion was likely to happen.
Because of the color of my skin.
But I was white with light hair like them, what was the problem?
They led me to a mirror and I saw that I was now a black girl.
I burst into tears, knowing my chances at jobs and promotions had just drastically diminished.
And then I woke up.
A few years ago, as I was recording my 7th album The Adventurist (Omnivore 2017), I took a popular DNA test that informs you of your likely ancestry and some medical proclivities. A surprise was revealed when I received the results. I was part sub-Saharan African. Not that 6% sub-Saharan African next to my 94% European ancestry meant very much on the pie chart, but what it did do was expose a hidden history of my grandmother Fay and where she’d come from. If I was 6%, then my father was approximately 12% and my grandma was roughly 24%.
Through the U.S. census I found out that Grandma Fay Grant (Berryhill by marriage) and her brother, mother and father had all identified as black on the 1900 census. Some time before 1910 the family of four left their home and large extended black family in Charleston, S.C., and moved to Los Angeles, Calif. Then on the 1910 census the family now identified as white. This passing as white, and my grandma’s to-the-death-secret, are her story.
My story is one of being a white girl who writes songs in a white man’s world.
And so I introduce you to my new digital single.
“Woke Up From A Dream”
Indeed, I did wake up to find that the black girl in the mirror was me, or at least some several generations back, 6% me.
With some time and a little money I hope to research more of my grandmother’s story. And get a little closer to why a family would leave all they knew and change their identity in a new land.
Order from Omnivore Records here: http://omnivorerecordings.com/?post_type=product&p=23409&preview=true