<< -- 2 -- Malcolm Miller AFFIRMATION OF LIFE
The stage glowed with magical intensity as the slinky Argentinian (rather
than ballroom) Tango rhythms worked their magic. Lloica Czackis projected
her vibrant voice in a selection of poignant -- even subversive -- Yiddish
songs from the ghettos of Vilna, Bialistok, Lodz, Kovno and from Auschwitz
itself. Amassed from a collection by the Vilna Ghetto survivor Shmerke Kaczeginsky
(1908-54), whose 'Friling' (Springtime) was immediately appealing,
the songs ranged in mood from the eerie to the festive. Certainly Tango
is more than just a dance, almost a ritual, which transforms its texts --
usually about love lost, suffering and despair -- into a defiant affirmation
of life, hence their importance to Jews in harrowing ghetto conditions.
Poignant words in 'The boy from the Transport' were all the more
intense with the biting tango music, while there was deliberate irony in
'Dos tango fun Oshvientshim' -- a caustic 'Tango from
Auschwitz'. A lullaby mood in the caressing 'Kinder Yorn'
(Childhood Years) contrasted with the exuberant 'Yiddishe Tango'
adapted from a famous 'Yiddishe Tanz' (Jewish Dance).
From left to right, Juan Lucas Aisemberg, Gustavo Beytelmann and Lloica Czackis in 'Tangele'. Photo © Raúl Cabrejas
The beguiling sounds of Lloica Czackis's soprano were enhanced throughout
by fellow European-based Argentinians, Juan Aisemberg on viola and the pianist
Gustavo Beytelmann, a Tango expert and composer who has worked together
with Piazolla amongst others. Beytelmann's upbeat arrangements, jazzy
and virtuoso, added a convincing tango beat to some of the Yiddish songs
not originally conceived as such. His modern versions were superbly effective
in the more relaxed and romantic second half. This began with slinky 1930s
hits made famous by the Polish-born New York Broadway-Yiddish singer Molly
Picon, 'Oygn' (Eyes) and 'Farges mikh nit' (Forget me
not). The climax was the European première of a set of four luscious
tangos from Buenos Aires, performed to cheers from the capacity audience.
Overall the evening was an enthralling celebration of a repertoire so far
not widely known, combining the expressive resonances of two powerful cultures,
Yiddish song and Tango. Hopefully it may not be long before the group record
a CD and 'Tangele' will resonate -- and be danced -- in tango
clubs across the world.
Lloica Czackis. Photo © Thomas Piper
Copyright © 19 December 2002
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
THE JEWISH MUSIC INSTITUTE, LONDON