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Harry Belafonte : Swing Dat Hammer


Chœur : The Belafonte Folk Singers

« Chain gang music was born over rock piles. It was created to the swing of sledge hammers, picks and axes. It told of the women left behind, the prison captain, the bloodhounds tracking down escaped convicts, the memory of freedom, the gnawing unrelenting loneliness. The men who sang it were chained together : the convicted murderer, the poor bail-bond risk, the vagrant whose only crime was homelessness, alike in their shackles, various in their dreams. There is no music more hypnotic, more full of passion. Yet, mixed with the raw ingredients and brute force rhythms is a poetic imagery of indescribable delicacy. Belafonte and this material are an explosive combination. Some of his most powerful performances in the past have been work songs and chain-gang songs. In this collection, he realizes a variety of responses, from the massive gang chants to the bare melody of a solitary singer. The sound of driving spikes is here, and rain on the bunkhouse roof. In every case, the Belafonte translation drives to the very core of the content, adding his own intensity to the authentic impact of the music. Technically, there are no splices or electronic subterfuges ; each selection is a complete and revealing performance. Artistically, the album is a powerful exploration of naked emotions and basic rhythms. And there is an added dimension in the awareness that this is a folk music of our time, from real situations, expressing elemental yearnings we all know. » Bob Bollard

Maria Zarębska, HelenaPF, Silvana Taramasco, Laura C have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Laura C
Laura C
Very nice! Great song!
4 years ago.

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