Harry Belafonte Unveils 'When Colors Come Together': Listen

Pamela Belafonte
Harry Belafonte

The song is the title track from the singer’s career anthology, arriving Feb. 24.

In advance of Harry Belafonte’s 90th birthday on March 1, Billboard exclusively premieres the title track from the singer/social activist’s forthcoming anthology, The Legacy of Harry Belafonte: When Colors Come Together.

“When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun)” is the new version of a song co-written by Belafonte and Irving Burgie. The original served as the title song from the controversial 1957 film Island in the Sun. Starring Belafonte, James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Joan Collins and Dorothy Dandridge, the drama revolved around the themes of racial tension and interracial romance. Re-recorded by a multi-cultural children’s choir for the anthology, the song’s enduring message takes on a whole new urgency given the country’s current social unrest.

Listen to “When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun)”:

 

The singer's son, David Belafonte, is the executive producer of the anthology. It’s due Feb. 24 from Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment. In the exclusive clip below, David further explains the concept behind the new recording:

 

Harry Belafonte himself curated the 19-track overview of his career. He became the first artist of any race or gender to sell more than a million copies with his 1956 breakthrough album Calypso. Among the tracks featured on When Colors Come Together are: “Matilda,” “Abraham, Martin and John,” “Jump in the Line” and his signature song, “Banana Boat (Day-O).” Also included is Pete Seeger’s “Those Three on My Mind,” written in dedication to slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Singing live for the first time in 12 years, Belafonte performed the song at the inaugural Many Rivers to Cross Festival last October.

Reflecting on his song choices over the course of his career, Belafonte says, “I often looked for songs that were easy to sing and melodies that were easy to hum because I felt those songs endured longer with audiences who heard them. Sure enough, that idea had value because a lot of times people remember the songs, sing the lyrics, refer to them. I found that the more diverse my songs were and the more I sang the songs closely related to the cultures from which these songs came, the more that culture, that community, that place in the world gravitated towards what it was that I did.”

Track listing for The Legacy of Harry Belafonte: When Colors Come Together:

1) When Colors Come Together (Our Island in the Sun) (newly recorded for this album)

2) Jump in the Line (1961 - Jump Up Calypso)

3) Banana Boat (Day-O) (1956 - Calypso)

4) All My Trials (1959 - Love is a Gentle Thing)

5) Empty Chairs (1973 - Play Me)

6) Matilda (1956 - Belafonte)

7) Angelina (1961 - Jump Up Calypso)

8) Turn The World Around (1977 - Turn The World Around)

9) Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair) (1956 - Belafonte)

10) Abraham, Martin and John (1970 - Belafonte By Request)

11) On Top of Old Smokey (1962 - The Midnight Special)

12) Jamaica Farewell (1956 - Calypso

13) Brown Skin Girl (1956 - Calypso)

14) Island in the Sun (From Island in the Sun) (1957 - Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean)

15) Those Three Are on My Mind (1967 - Belafonte On Campus)

16) Try to Remember (1966 - In My Quiet Room)

17) Mary’s Boy Child (1956 - An Evening with Belafonte)

18) Look Over Yonder/Be My Woman, Gal (Live) (1972 - Harry Belafonte...Live!)

19) Pastures of Plenty (Live) (1972 - Harry Belafonte...Live!)