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John Hindsill Origins: Jamaica Farewell: History? (50) RE: Origins: Jamaica Farewell: History? 24 Jul 03


Why is there so much Belafonte bashing here. He has never claimed to be a purist folk singer, or calypsonian. What he is is a trained actor, and a so-so crooner cum jazz singer. What he did is find the folk idiom (before it was popular, "Mark Twain" @ 1954) and calypso ("Calypso" @ 1956) and present them in a dramatic, entertaining way which others followed. He once said that he did not play instruments so that he would be free to fully express the lyrics [I paraphrase]. In the Civil Rights era he switched to African oriented music, probably not with as much success as earlier.

I think he deserves a place in a folk music hall of fame as a pioneer, along with the Weavers, Burl Ives and other pre-Kingston Trio performers who got us interested in the "real thing".


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