Did the Comedian Harmonists and the dazzling Josephine Baker ever actually share the stage or recording studio?
While they never toured together, the Comedian Harmonists and Josephine Baker did share the same bill on several occasions. Both were major draws in Europe, and their performances often graced the same prestigious venues. In 1933, their orbits intersected in the dazzling realm of the Ziegfeld Follies. While Baker was the headliner, the Harmonists graced the stage as a featured act. Though no recordings of their live performances together exist, imagine the electrifying atmosphere with Baker’s powerful vocals and the Harmonists’ smooth harmonies filling the Ziegfeld Theatre!
In the Studio:
This is where things get interesting. While there are no documented recordings of the original Comedian Harmonists and Josephine Baker performing together, there is one historical gem: a 1935 recording of two songs featuring Baker and the group’s exiled members, who reformed under the name “Comedy Harmonists” after fleeing Nazi Germany. These recordings, “Sous le Ciel d’Afrique” and “Espabilate,” showcase a delightful blend of Baker’s vibrant vocals and the Harmonists’ signature tight harmonies.
Despite the limited collaboration, the connection between the Comedian Harmonists and Josephine Baker remains fascinating! Two diverse artists, both facing different forms of discrimination, found common ground through their shared passion for music and performance. We can only imagine the musical possibilities if more recordings or performances had taken place.
The Musical about The Comedian Harmonists
Harmony, a new musical about The Comedian Harmonists, is now on Broadway.
The complete Broadway cast includes Chip Zien as Rabbi, Sierra Boggess as Mary, Julie Benko as Ruth, Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, and Steven Telsey as the Comedian Harmonists, Allison Semmes as Josephine Baker, Andrew O’Shanick as Standartenfϋhrer, Zak Edwards, Dan Hoy, Bruce Landry, Rhonni Rose Mantilla, Daniel Z. Miller, Benjamin H. Moore, Matthew Mucha, Constantine Pappas, Kayleen Seidl, Kyla Stone, Bronwyn Tarboton, Kate Wesler, Stuart Zagnit, and Lee Zarrett.
To learn more about Harmony: A New Musical, click here.