Friday, April 18, 2008
King of Calypso
Earlier this week, I was helping out a friend at a gala for a music school where I used to work (I'm a grantwriter/development professional during the working hours) and the featured guest was Harry Belafonte (the connection to Duff Guide=he is of Jamaican descent and was instrumental in popularizing calypso/Caribbean music). In his speech--he had just come from the UN and was off on a peacekeeping mission in Africa the next day--he made such a profound statement about the importance of music (that I'm paraphrasing here): "You can't fight a war while you're making music."
Maybe--whenever we get around to this--in addition to beating some of those swords into plougshares, we could forge some instruments? Just wondering...
Interesting factoid about Mr. Belafonte: his third album, Calypso (released in 1956), was the first recording by a single artist to sell over 1 million copies. Of course, this featured the ever-popular "The Banana Boat Song" aka "Day-O."
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According to the New York Times, 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003--nearly half of those were independent shops. In Manhattan and Brooklyn alone, some 80 (!) record stores have closed in the past five years. For someone who grew up buying LPs and cassettes from real live people in stores (my local spot was Mad Hatters in Yonkers, which specialized in new wave and had tons of British imports), I find this terribly depressing, like helplessly watching some beloved species of animal going extinct no matter what you do. But, Saturday is Record Store Day! The day to fight back and support your local indie music shop. Go on, log off iTunes, turn off the computer, I know there is something out there that you are aching to buy! And be old school--get it on vinyl!