The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #61495 Message #990130
Posted By: John Hindsill
24-Jul-03 - 10:13 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Jamaica Farewell: History?
Subject: RE: Origins: Jamaica Farewell: History?
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".