An Evening With Belafonte/Mouskouri is an album by Harry Belafonte and Nana Mouskouri, released by RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-3415) in 1966.
Following the pattern of his album duet with Lena Horne on songs from Porgy and Bess, Harry Belafonte teamed up this time with Greek chanteuse Nana Mouskouri. Belafonte first performed with Mouskouri in Burlington, VT in 1964 during his first college tour. As with Lena Horne, Belafonte sings only two duets with Mouskouri; the remaining tunes may as well have been featured on solo albums, because the two singers didn’t even share instrumentalists — Belafonte used his usual stable of musicians, including guitarist Ernie Calabria, bassist John Cartwright, and percussionist Ralph MacDonald, while Mouskouri was accompanied by bouzouki player George Petsilas. The songs are sung in Greek with Mouskouri’s naturally coming off as more authentic. Most of the tunes were written by the prolific Greek songwriter Manos Hadjidakis, writer of “Never on Sunday.” (by Cary Ginell)
This record was one I see a lot of when I go looking for records. That usually means in must have been a popular record when it came out . So when I finally found it for a dollar, I knew it would not go any lower so I jumped on it.
I knew a lot about Harry Belafonte but virtually nothing about the other singer, Nana Mouskouri. Well, Mouskouri, whose name I am know hating to type out, is one of the most famous international singers of all time.
Born in Chania on the Greek isle of Crete in 1934, Mouskouri has released over 200 albums as well as singles in multiple languages. She has also been parodied by such luminaries as Benny Hill, Ronnie Barker, and SCTV’s Andrea Martin. She retired to Switzerland in 2008. She also gave up her pension after the Greek financial crisis of 2010. Perhaps this led her to return to show business the following year. I believe she is sporadically active here and there.
According to the liner notes, Belafonte saw Mouskouri while working in Athens in 1960 and helped her gain fame across the ocean in the US of A. Mouskouri’s career at the time was taking off in Europe ( Wikipedia credits Quincy Jones in 1962) Anyway, their first performance together was in 1964. The two would tour together thru 1965 and 1966. Wikipedia also states that Belafonte convinced Mouskouri to remove her trademark black rimmed glasses during her performance. When she tried it, she hated it so much that she nearly quit the tour. As a result, Belafonte relented.
This record, released by RCA Victor in 1966, features the pair of singers, singing songs in Mouskouri’s native tongue, Greek. Ten songs, four solos by each singer and two duets. All the songs have song writing credits so I do not know if these were just songs that were popular in Greece at the time. Despite Belafonte being the bigger star at the time, this album is all Mouskouri. Belafonte’s singing is slightly subdued on this effort. This is a little less fair to Belafonte as he is singing in a foreign tongue. I also believe Belafonte was being respectful, allowing Mouskouri more of the spotlight. (by donkey-show.com)
My edition was published for the German record market with a different frontcover.
Original front + back cover from 1965 (Nana Mouskouri without glasses)
Harry Belafonte (vocals on 01., 03., 05., 07., 09. + 10.)
Jay Berliner (guitar)
Percy Brice (percussion)
Ernie Calabria (guitar)
John Cartwright (bass)Ralph MacDonald (percussion)
Nana Mouskouri (vocals on 02., 03., 04., 06., 08. + 10.)
George Petsilas – guitar, bouzouki
01. My Moon (Fengari Moo) (Petsilas) 3.01
02. Dream (Oneero) (Hadjidakis) 2.37
03. If You Are Thirsty (Kean Tha Depsasees) (Hadjidakis/Gatsos) 3.12
04. The Train (To Traino) (Hadjidakis) 3.17
05. In The Small Boat (Mes Tin Varka) (Hadjidakis) 3.20
06. The Town Crier (Telalees) (Hadjidakis) 2.11
07. Walking On The Moon (Pame Mia Volta) (Hadjidakis) 3.36
08. The Baby Snake (Feedakee) (Hadjidakis) 3.16
09. The Wide Sea (Thalassa Platia) (Hadjidakis) 2.30
10. Irene (Erene) (Petsilas) 2.35