Tango, From The Ghetto To New York And Buenos Aires
Tangele - The Pulse Of Yiddish Tango was released in 2002 and recorded live on 9th November, 2002 at The Spitz, Old Spitalfields Market, London E1, at the premiere of this wonderful programme researched and compiled by the extraordinary young mezzo-soprano Lloica Czackis. For those that might not be aware or need reminding, the 9th of November is the anniversary of the infamous and for many if not most of us (even when we were not even born yet at the time) unforgettable Kristallnacht, one of those points in history when civilisation went down the proverbial plug hole and the darkness of sheer terror began its rule.
One of the other performances of Tangele - The Pulse of Yiddish Tango, again on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a year later at Islington's Union Chapel, North London, is also reviewed in these pages.
Lloica Czackis and her Tangele Ensemble's Tangele - The Pulse Of Yiddish Tango is my second Tango album review for the day, the first being Trio NoviTango's Retrato de Astor Piazzolla. Yet, though both are of Tango music, and both share sensational violist Juan Lucas Aisemberg, they could not be further apart and more different. Retrato is a classical re-interpretation of the modern Tango Nuevo tangos of Astor Piazzolla, post-war, a world that, despite the cold war, is largely intact, cozy even. Tangele is largely from a world that is either in turmoil or on the verges of extinction, a world of absolute horror that is almost impossible to make any sense of, yet here are songwriters trying to do just that, by trying to carry on, trying to find some sort of normality amidst all the chaos and terror. Worlds if not whole universes apart as these two albums are, both present excellent, no, great music of the highest caliber, and both display standards of excellence of performance that are simply breathtaking.
The Tangele Ensemble consists of outstanding mezzo-soprano Lloica Czackis, a veritable nightingale of a singer, Juan Lucas Aisemberg, viola, a true maestro of his instrument, and the almost legendary Gustavo Beytelmann at the piano and responsible also for the exquisite arrangements. There is an immense empathy among these performers, and an equally immense empathy by them for their material. The performance of Tangele - The Pulse Of Yiddish Tango is nothing short of sensational. The fact that it is live further enhances this wonderful recording.
Being in the nature of sampler album, some of the songs from the full programme had to be omitted. However, the first half consisting of Yiddish "Ghetto Tangos", tangos (mainly) from the ghettos of shoah period Eastern Europe, is largely preserved with only two omissions. Close your eyes and listen, and the sheer magic of Lloica Czackis' performance takes you right back to those dark, terrible times. The very title of Dos tango fun Oshvientshim (The tango from Auschwitz) is chilling to say the least, the fact that any kind of work of art could come out of such an abyss of terror, out of the very symbol of industrialised genocide, seems to defy belief, and yet, this is where this deeply moving song comes from, defiantly expressing humanity in a place where humanity seems impossible. Ms. Czackis' expressive voice captures this defiance perfectly. Indeed, the spirit, the very essence of all these songs, is brought to life with an uncanny perfection by the extraordinary Lloica Czackis and her seemingly effortlessly powerful voice that can equally well be lyrical one moment and powerfully dramatic the next. Powerful and sensitive, Ms. Czackis is never "tempted" into excessive sentimentality or even melancholy, and the maturity of her performance is impressive, especially in one so young still. The sensitive accompaniments and support by Gustavo Beytelmann and Juan Lucas Aisemberg are of equal brilliance.
The three songs from the pre-WW2 New York Yiddish Theatre are all there, and only two of the Argentine wartime Yiddish Tangos were cut. However, this only leaves two representatives of this fascinating aspect of Yiddish Tango, closest to Spanish language tango.
Lloica Czackis & Tangele's Tangele - The Pulse Of Yiddish Tango is a superb and outstanding representation of the Yiddish Tango, exquisitely performed. Whether classical, Yiddish song, or tango, this album is an absolute must-have for any collection.
© 2004 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.
1. Dos transport yingl (The boy from the transport) (Words: Kasriel Broydo - Vilna ghetto, 1942) - 2:45
2. Friling (Springtime) (Shmerke Kaczerginsky [1908-54]/Abraham Brudno [?-1944] -
Vilna ghetto, 1943) - 4:20
3. Es iz geven a zumertog (It was a summer day) (Rikle Glezer / Herman Yabokloff -
Vilna ghetto, 1941) - 2:53
4. Tsi darf es azoy zayn? (Why must it be this way?) ( Words: Kasriel Broydo [1907-45] -
Vilna ghetto) - 2:21
5. Dos tango fun Oshvientshim (The tango from Auschwitz) (Anonymous - Auschwitz
Concentration Camp) - 3:25
6. Dos lid fun Bialystoker geto (The song of the Bialystok ghetto) (Author unknown - Bialystok
ghetto, 1942) - 5:44
7. Kinder yorn (Childhood years)( Dovid Beigelmann [1887-1944] - Lodz ghetto) - 2:49
8. Yiddish tango (Jewish tango) (Words: Ruven Tsarfat, Music: borrowed from a pre-war hit -
Kovno ghetto) - 2:43
9. Ikh hob dikh tsufil lib (I love you too much) (Chaim Tauber [1901-72]/Alexander Olshanetsky
[1892-1946] - New York, 1934) - 3:05
10. Oygn (Eyes) (Molly Picon [1898-1992]/Abraham Ellstein [1907-63] - New York, 1934) - 4:17
11. Ferges mikh nit (Forget me not) (Jacob Jacobs [1892-1972]/Abraham Ellstein [1907-63] -
New York, 1937) - 4:32
12. Vu iz dayn shmeykhl? (Where is your smile?) (Abraham Szewach [1903-69]/Jeremia Ciganeri -
Buenos Aires, 1943) - 4:41
13. Ikh vel laydn in der shtil (Silently I will suffer) (Szewach/Ciganeri - Buenos Aires, 1943) - 4:33