Belafonte, Banana and Bread

by groove on January 28, 2013

Harry Belafonte

I collect for many reasons; nostalgia, artistic importance, cultural significance and album artwork are most dominant. I also have subsets of albums within the collection that are for mere novelty of the piece (those will be reserved for future posts). Harry Belafonte’s “Calypso” fits perfectly into my collection for those primary criteria I have used to decide whether an album will make a permanent home or whether it will just hang around for awhile.  This album, and others in Harry Belafonte’s discography, has a permanent spot on the shelf and is often played on those lazy days of relaxing and chilling out.

Harry Belafonte

The album cover boasts ‘One of biggest-selling albums of all time…..”, (from Wiki) Calypso is the first LP album to sell over one million copies. The singles Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” had surpassed 1 million copies previously. The album is number four on Billboard’s “Top 100 Album” list for having spent 31 weeks at number 1, 58 weeks in the top ten, and 99 weeks on the U.S. charts. Allmusic gave the album 5 stars out of 5 and called it, “a record of inestimable influence”.

I have noticed that the album is everywhere; record shops, thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, antique stores and in collector’s crates. I have personally purchased 3 copies through the years in great condition, the most recent just slightly more pristine than the previous. Only for this reason do I have 2 of those copies for sale. I will always have a clean copy of the album in the collection because there are always those days when you want to yell “Day-O….Day-ay-ay-O….”

Here is some background info on the song: “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is a traditional Jamaican mento folk song, the best-known version of which was sung by Harry Belafonte and an alternate version interspersed with another Jamaican folksong, Hill and Gully Rider, by Dame Shirley Bassey. Despite the song’s mento influences, “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” is widely known as an example of calypso music. It is a work song, from the point of view of dock workers working the night shift loading bananas onto ships. Daylight has come, the shift is over and they want their work to be counted up so that they can go home.

Banana Bread

Lately, I’ve been on a banana bread craze. It could be the cold weather and sunless days leaving me craving sweet comforting carbs or the fact that I’ve had the perfect blackening bananas for the job.

While I was researching other banana bread recipes for ideas I came across a few that included eggs. Since I only create ‘plant-based’ recipes eggs were out of the question. Thankfully, bananas act as a natural egg replacer.

I always try my best to use organic ingredients. Everything from the flour to the dairy-free chocolate chips is organic and contains no animal ingredients.

I’m working on a gluten-free version of this recipe as well. I created a recipe yesterday using coconut flour and buckwheat flour. Because the consistency was way different than using whole-wheat flour I instead made them into cookies. They turned out not too bad. The boys seem to like them. I love the fact that when I’m trying something new and it doesn’t work out the way I hoped I can turn it into something else. Sometimes even coming up with something better.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my Calypso Banana Chocolate Bread.

Calypso Banana Chocolate Bread

Dedicated to Harry Belafonte’s classic album. I hope as you try this recipe you sing and dance a little ‘Day-O’.


Dry Ingredients

1 ½ cup all purpose whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Wet ingredients

½ cup almond milk

1 cup mashed bananas

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup canola oil

1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir to mix well.

In a separate bowl add milk, bananas, sugar, vanilla and canola oil. Whisk together.

Add chocolate chips to flour mixture then add wet to dry and mix just to combine.

Bake for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.


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