Episode 2 – Syria Lamonte, the world’s first female recording star

Just weeks after arriving in London, Fred makes the world’s first disc recording of a female singer outside of America. The lady’s name is Syria Lamonte and, according to Fred, she’s a barmaid in Rule’s restaurant, next to his studio on Maiden Lane. Lamonte – real name Sarah Cohen – is an Australian who arrived in London from Sydney in 1896. Her recordings, which include songs such as Comin’ Through The Rye, accompanied by a tinkling piano, are groundbreaking. But was Lamonte really the struggling waitress that Fred claims? Hall and Holley discover that Lamonte’s history is not quite as Fred described.

Syria Lamonte, Melbourne Punch 19 October 1899


Syria Lamonte


Newspaper clipping about Syria from July 1896


Recording of Comin’ Through The Rye


The Tivoli Music Hall


The Oxford Music Hall


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