Zarah Leander (15 March 1907 – 23 June 1981) was a Swedish singer and actress whose greatest success was in Germany between 1936 and 1943, when she was contracted to work for the state-owned Universum Film AG (UFA). Although no exact record sales numbers exist, she was probably among Europe’s best-selling recording artists in the years prior to 1945.
The career of Berlin singer Zarah Leander has always been shrouded in mystery because of the circumstances that allowed her to continue performing through World War II. But her music, which is definitely stuck in 1930s and 1940s Germany, has a unique quality about it. Her dark voice, which lies somewhere between a croon and a moan, carries Merci, Mon Ami quite well. The dark orchestration rumbling underneath these songs is wonderfully understated, with a distinctly European sound. This give the songs the strength they need to keep up with Leander’s voice.
Video: Zarah Leander – Merci Mon Ami (1940)