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Affirmation of life

MALCOLM MILLER investigates the Yiddish tango


Saturday Night Fever hit 'The Spitz' -- a cabaret-style venue in Spitalfields Market in the heart of the East End of London -- on 9 November 2002, as the apparently contrasting worlds of Tango-mania and Yiddish culture collided with sparkling results. With crowds turned away at the door, there was an enthusiastic reception for 'Tangele', an entertaining performance of the little-known repertoire of Yiddish Tangos, devised by opera soprano and tango singer Lloica Czackis. Her programme, presented by Spiro Ark in association with the Jewish Music Institute, was drawn from three different yet interrelated worlds where flourished Yiddish culture, stemming from the East-European Jewry that dates back to medieval times.

Lloica Czackis in 'Tangele'. Photo © Raúl Cabrejas
Lloica Czackis in 'Tangele'. Photo © Raúl Cabrejas

In chronological sequence, the songs derived from 1930s Broadway Yiddish Theatre, Holocaust ghettos (an apt choice in commemoration of 'Krystallnacht', the 'Night of the Broken Glass', 9 November 1938), and 1940s Buenos Aires, at that time a major centre of Yiddish theatre and life second only to New York.

'Tangele' at The Spitz. Photo © Raúl Cabrejas
'Tangele' at The Spitz. Photo © Raúl Cabrejas


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Copyright © 19 December 2002 Malcolm Miller, London, UK


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