An Evening With Harry Belafonte & Friends is an album to accompany the live performance of the same shown on PBS television stations in 1997. It is a remarkable album, especially considering Belafonte's longevity. The album contains multiple songs dealing with oppression and freedom, as it is one of Belafonte's major endeavors. There are some beautiful pieces written by guitarist Richard Bona, of Cameroon, such as "Eyala" and "Eyando." Also, Jake Holmes provides numerous compositions that seem surely made solely for the soul of Belafonte. Of course, a Harry Belafonte album wouldn't be complete without Lord Burgess' "Jamaica Farewell" or "Day-O," so they are included as well. The main highlight on the album, though, is "Matilda," which is something of a calypso standard in itself. Belafonte turns the piece into a full-fledged, ten-minute tour de force, pulling out every stop that calypso can afford to make, in all its beauty. The video is a worthwhile piece by itself, but the album is also a worthy pick.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg