woensdag 26 april 2023

Harry Belafonte

De Amerikaanse zanger Harry Belafonte is op 96-jarige leeftijd overleden. Hij was zanger en acteur, maar ook mensenrechtenactivist: Harold George Belafonte was een goede vriend van Martin Luther King en steunde de predikant in zijn strijd tegen de rassenscheiding in de VS.
Belafonte heeft een link met Bob Dylan, vanzelfsprekend. Beiden waren ze betrokken bij die mensenrechten-strijd. Beiden namen deel aan USA for Africa, de Amerikaanse gelegenheidsformatie om geld in te zamelen voor hongerend Afrika. Beiden waren deel van Live Aid, dat grootse concert voor datzelfde hongerend Afrika.
En ze kwamen elkaar ook als muzikanten vaker tegen. Zoals in een artikel in Mojo uitgebreid wordt beschreven. Zoals over Dylan's mondharmonica bij Harry's Midnight Special:

"I appreciate you illuminating some of that. I am always troubled by the lingering suggestion that Martin and Malcolm were adversaries. Can we talk a bit more about your musical history… Bob Dylan made his official recording debut in 1962 on the title song of your album Midnight Special, playing harmonica. How did that come about?

It was supposed to be Sonny Terry, but he got grounded by a thunderstorm in Memphis and couldn’t make the date. My guitarist Millard Thomas said, “Well, there’s this kid I see all the time down in the village, and he does that whole Sonny thing… he sleeps and dreams it.” So I said, “We don’t have a choice, I guess. Go find him.”
And this skinny kid appeared, and he had a paper sack with him full of harmonicas in different keys. I played the song for him and he pulled one out of the bag, dipped it in water, and played through a single take, and it was great. I loved it. I asked him if he wanted to try another take and he said, “No.” I asked him if he wanted to hear it back and he said, “No.” He just headed for the door, and threw the harmonica into the trashcan on his way out.
I remember thinking, Does he have that much disdain for what I’m doing? But I found out later that he bought his harps at the Woolworth drugstore. They were cheap ones, and once he’d gotten them wet and really played through them as hard as he did, they were finished. It wasn’t until decades later, when he wrote his book [Chronicles], that I read what he really felt about me, and I tell you, I got very, very choked up. I had admired him all along, and no matter what he did or said, I was just a stone, stone fan."

Harry Belafonte. Hij is niet meer.

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