Loose Lips

Nana's Sunday Jams: Harry Belafonte and Orchestra - Merci Bon Dieu


Nana's Sunday Jams: Harry Belafonte and Orchestra - Merci Bon Dieu

Yes, Yes Sunday Jammers. Welcome back. Yes, to this sunshine hope its managed to find its way to you. Happy Happy Solstice, I feel a sense of renewed energy and purpose might be the super charged dose of vitamin D leading me on a happy high, but I am happy to be led, no trouble from me. In all the languages, dialects, slangs, signs and any others I might have missed – Thanks Yeah.

Today’s track is a homage to the solstice and hopefully signals a shift in energy. Harry Belafonte and Orchestra with ‘Merci Bon Dieu', in English that means ‘Thank you God’. I am not religious and have not picked it in thanks to a deity, more an awareness of being alive, I love the sentiment and its gentle power. It's not just a prayer to a deity for an exchange of something, it is an outpouring of thanks and love for the end of misery and for the bounty the rains brings, it calls on those affected to dance in thanks. Seems appropriate, as we tentatively emerge from our confinements. It track has a gentle and infectious power; sparse yet full. Belafonte is clear, firm and full of silky purpose accompanied on guitar by long-time collaborator Frantz Casseus; a composer in his own right whose exploration into Haitian Folk music is beautiful. Belafonte belts it out while maintaining this gorgeous steady rhythm. For anyone who is interested check out the Carnegie Hall edition with added percussion, a slightly richer sound and an invitation to move your feet.

Belafonte, known as The King of Calypso for making popular the Caribbean musical style and bringing it to international audiences, is also an actor, activist and author. His Calypso hits include Day-O and Jump In The Line, but musically speaking this is one of my favourites, it offers a window into a part of space and time I will never occupy but through gems like this can get the sweetest of glimpses. Again, I cite the power that music has to make you imagine. Two minutes and fifty-one seconds of loveliness, perfect for ambling through the Summer Solstice in whatever way you are spending it.