Tangele is the meeting point between two powerful cultures: Yiddish song and tango. The show presents the voyage of the Yiddish tango across the continents. Original songs from the Yiddish theatre in Buenos Aires and New York during the 1930s and ‘40s and from European ghettos and concentration camps.
Tangele is a tribute to the art of surviving and reinventing oneself. Conceived by Lloica Czackis from her fascination with the Yiddish culture, the project has received support from various institutions, leading to academic lectures, publications, workshops and concert engagements in international venues and festivals: in London, Brighton, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna, New York, Los Angeles and Boston.
This is the first time this rediscovered repertoire is performed by musicians that come from the tradition of the tango. Lloica Czackis, a singer of classical music and Latin American folk, performs also the repertoire of cabaret of the 1930s and '40s. She is considered to be the connoisseuse of Yiddish tango around the world. Juan Lucas Aisemberg, a viola player in the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, was brought up in the tango tradition and performs internationally. Ivo De Greef is a sought after pianist of tango and contemporary music. Gustavo Beytelmann, the renowned Argentinian composer and pianist, has reinterpreted these songs music and arranged them in the manner of argentinian tango. Joëlle Rouland, French theatre director, has conceived the dramaturgy of the show.
A little history... The tango was born just before the turn of the 20th Century in Buenos Aires as the resulting blend of the cultures of Italian, Spanish, French and Eastern European Jewish immigrants, and Afro-Argentine rhythms. In the 1910s the tango took Western Europe by storm, soon reaching Eastern Europe. Ballrooms and cabarets featured this Latin American import; and composers, Jews amongst them, started to write new tangos. Inevitably, during the Holocaust it became part of the life of ghettos and concentration camps, where tango, now in Yiddish, was once again adopted as a vehicle to express the experience of inmates and their hopes for freedom. Not only did the Nazis allow this music, they forced Lagerkapellen, the camp orchestras, to play the Tango of Death to accompany prisoners as they were marched to the gas chambers. In different and happier circumstances, Jewish musicians living in Buenos Aires and New York – many of whom were émigrés – wrote Yiddish Tangos for the Yiddish Theatre, musicals and Jewish revues. The mixed nature of tango probably explains why it has been continuously embraced and transformed during its extraordinary voyage around the world. Yiddish Tangos are only an episode in this chronicle, an example of the Jews' tendency to adapt to the ethos of their adoptive countries and also, more generally, the mutual acceptance and fruitful interaction between peoples.