La Baker appeared as the special guest for the German Schlager Festival, an annual music competition held at the Casino van Baden-Baden, Germany.
- Entrée de Joséphine (J’ai deux amours)
- “What Kind of Fool Am I?”
- “On the Street Where You Live”
- “I Could Have Danced All Night”
This is a typical performance of La Baker from the last 25 years of her life, when she was at the height of her vocal & artistic powers.
Baker’s style as a performer was very much in the old tradition of the Grand music hall. Her stage persona, carried with class & feminine grace, were all topped off with her glamorous gowns & elaborate head-dresses à la Folies Bergère.
I have always found it rather sad that when most people in the USA think of Joséphine Baker, they are filled with visions of her singing in broken french or dancing topless in a banana skirt (or, even worse, of Lynn Whitfield in the HBO pseudo-biopic “The Josephine Baker Story” which didn’t even use Baker’s real vocals).
All to often “Joséphine Baker the artist” gets lost in the mix of “Joséphine Baker the philanthropist”, or even “Joséphine Baker in the banana skirt”. Of course, I am not denouncing her activism or her early “banana dancing” in any way, but people must take note – she was an incredible performer, & by the early 1950s her voice had evolved a great deal from the twittery interpretations of such recordings as “J’ai deux amours”.
A clip like this gives one a glimpse of just how superb Madame was in her later years