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The Kennedy Center

YIDDISH TANGO FROM WARSAW
9/24/2019

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"There may be only mere fragments of shellac left now of the enthralling tango music which captivated Poland nearly 90 years ago. But touch the needle of time to history, and you can still hear whispers of the magnificent tunes that soundtracked a truly golden age in Polish culture – and theirs is a story that will never be fully silenced." - J. BRETAN, CULTURE.PL 

As the tango craze swept through Eastern Europe, pre-war Warsaw bore witness to the birth of the dance form’s most eclectic permutation—Yiddish Tango. A testament to the growing tide of internationalism, Yiddish Tango melds the traditions of Slavic, Jewish, and Argentine culture. The roots of Yiddish Tango, however, lie in the creative exchange that took place in the theaters, cabarets, and cinemas of Poland. Musicians, songwriters, and composers steeped in both the classical and klezmer traditions found liberty in the expression of popular Polish music. Olga Avigail’s repertoire strikes a fine balance between music for dancing and for contemplation. New arrangements of Yiddish tango with traditional Argentinian bandoneon organically merge modern sound and the unique style of pre-war tango which veered away from the original Argentinian form and adopted a softer and more lyrical sound, clearly influenced by klezmer. “Most of the artists, who invented a world-class, high-quality tango music in Poland, perished in the Holocaust. I have a mission to keep their legacy alive” – said Mieleszczuk.

Presented in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
 

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