Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, July 25, 2019


For me, Harry Belafonte is an underappreciated artist only in the sense that be cannot be over appreciated.  Belafonte, now 92, has had a significant impact as both a performer and as a civil rights and humanitarian activist.

Belafonte was born in Harlem from Scottish and Jamaican parents.  He was working as a janitor's assistant when he discovered the American Negro Theater.  He and a fellow impoverished friend named Sidney Poitier would "split" a ticket -- one would watch one act and then the other would watch an act, each describing to the other the act they had missed.  Soon he began acted for the American Negro Theater while taking acting classes  with fellow students Poitier, Tony Randall, Walter Matthau, Bea Arthur, and Marlon Brando.  To pay for his acting classes, Belafonte began singing at nightclubs, performing pop standards and (eventually) folk songs.  He began recording in 1953 with "Matilda."  Belafonte soon became the "King of Calypso," although his repetoire was far more expansive than that.


"Banana Boat Song" ("Day O")

"Jamaica Farewell"

"Man Smart (Woman Smarter)," with Julie Andrews

"There's a Hole in the Bucket," with Odetta

"Try To Remember"

"Both Sides Now"

"Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu Paloma"

"John Henry"

"Island in the Sun"

"Jump in the Line," with Rita Hayworth

"Scarlet Ribbons"

"Oh Freedom"

"Hava Nageela"

"Mama Look a Boo-Boo"

"Erini," with Nana Mouskouri

"Give Us Our Land," with Miriam Makeba

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," with The Smothers Borthers

"I Know where I'm Going"

"Done Laid Around"

"Mary's Boy Child"

"Turn the World Around"

...and so many more