Puttin' on Blackface for the Shanghailanders at the Canidrome Ballroom (1930)

While Teddy Weatherford was extremely skilled in the art of modern jazz piano, he was often called upon to put on blackface (metaphorically) and perform pieces that Shanghailanders and other colonial elites associated with African American culture. Here is one instance, where Teddy and other "negro" artists in the Canidrome ballroom band put together a quartet to sing spirituals (notice how many times the word "negro" comes up in this piece). These sorts of performances were also popular when Teddy moved to India in his later years. Note also the presence of Russian artists among the various performances at the Canidrome.

Canidrome Patrons Enjoy Quartet Of Negro Spirituals

(The China Press Jun 15, 1930)

Last night Bo-Diddly and the Canidrome negro quartet, which includes Teddy Weatherford, presented for the first time in Shanghai the most famous negro spiritual of all time—“Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. The number was enthusiastically received and repeatedly encored. In this number patrons hear four rich, mellow negro voices that blend so wonderfully, singing a spiritual as only American negroes can sing it. The number will be repeated every night this week.

Another number which proved successful was “The Great Ventriloquist,” featuring Bo-Diddly and Al Baldwin. Other artists of the new program include Ruth Van Valey, American dancer of note; Dimitry Dimoff, famous balalaika player; Mile. Sadofskaya, operatic baritone, and Mile. Sizikova and her partner, Mr. Souvorin, classical and whirlwind dangers.

Every Sunday and Monday night, the management announces, M. Henri Jacques, the French head chef of the ballroom, will serve a special dinner at $4, which is the charge for the regular dinner. Canidrome cuisine, since the arrival of M. Jacques, is becoming the most popular in Shanghai.