Jamaican Farewell

March 1, 1925 Happy Birthday Harry Belafonte!

I remember when the kids’ school Manhattan Country School had their big anniversary event and I was playing piano and mc’ing. The kids sang and I think Odetta sang and Sam Ellis and I had to do a slide show on the fly, so he had the clicker and sat on the floor under the piano as I played along and some of the slides were Pete Seeger, so that was cool and I played This Land is Your Land, and then they showed slides of Martin Luther King so i went into We Shall Overcome. Sam and I rocked it.

Then the school had a special award for Harry Belafonte,who I knew and I had just been in his son’s studio the day before.  But it turned out that Harry couldn’t make it last minute. Now I pride myself in my hosting and mc-ing skills and being in the moment and making up stuff.  So brilliant me, I jump up and accept the award for Harry and I was going to break into one his hit songs so the audience could join in but when I got to the mic I couldn’t remember a single song of Harry’s, so I stood there with that awkward blank face for, I don’t know, it felt like an hour, and then I just mumbled, “Harry Belafonte.”

I could’ve sung Day-O or Jamaican Farewell, but nope, nada.

Anyway, here to redeem myself, maybe, Happy Birthday HB and here’s Jamaican Farewell!

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