(3-CD + 88 page booklet) Bear Family’s essential 44-CD set ‘Black Europe’ follows the lives of more than 100 musicians, dancers and entertainers across Europe and tells their amazing stories through audio documents, recording protocols, passport applications and numerous other unseen treasures from years of research. This 3-disc set features four of these artists, and each one provides a glimpse into another century. Pete Hampton & Laura Bowman are featured with recordings from 1903 - 1910, taken from 78 rpm records and wax cylinders. They had Europe-wide hits – and Pete Hampton was the first African-American who recorded the harmonica!
The Savoy Quartet was known as “one of the best ragtime bands in town” and their tracks from 1916-1920 show them covering Gershwin, Irving Berlin and other witty songs like Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday On Saturday Night? And He May Be Old But He’s Got Young Ideas. Josiah Ransome Kuti was the grandfather of Fela Kuti (the iconic AfroBeat pioneer) and he was recorded in London, singing religious songs in Yoruba, accompanied by piano or his own percussion. Also featured here are his take on a ‘patriotic song’ and Abeokuta National Anthem, a tune which is still sung today as a folk song.
Josephine Baker came to Paris in 1926 as a dancer, but she soon made recordings, and her roots and artistry shine through strongly on these tracks. A year later she rivaled movie stars Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford as the most photographed woman in the world, and she was thought to be the highest-paid entertainer in Europe.