Archive for June 2nd, 2011


Singer, Dancer (Gemini) – what gave Vera Georgievna the strength to endure years of hard labor in the Soviet gulag were the memories of her beloved Pyotr; her fellow inmates would nod courteously at her claims of having been the wife of the renown Pyotr Leshchenko….the day came when she was finally released and she resigned herself to the grey life that was assigned to her not realizing that her Pyotr was in fact still alive, languishing in a  Romanian prison believing that Vera was herself dead…lying on the prison hospital bed suffering from the effects of incarceration, just before closing his eyes for the last time, he said “friends, I am happy for I will return to Vera and the fatherland, I am going away but I leave you my heart”…he was fifty-six years old; Vera would survive him for another thirty-two years…Pyotr Leshchenko was the king of Russian tango; his rendition of “Serdtse”, the best known non-Spanish tango in history, sold millions of copies all over the world…he was born of a citizen of the Russian empire in Isaevo in Kherson Guberniya, now part of Ukraine into a poor, illiterate, peasant family…


As a child he sang in the church choir and learned to play the guitar and the balalaika…after the World War I, he worked in restaurants serving and washing dishes and playing small roles in theater…after taking ballet lessons in Paris he started performing with his fist wife Zinaida Zakit…their act was a mixture of ballet, folklore and European tango which was so popular that they toured far and wide with their act including Egypt, Turkey, Germany and Briton…it was in Riga, Latvia when his wife was pregnant and he was performing alone that he improvised tango singing and was surprised at how much the crowd liked it; that launched him into a career as a highly popular tango singer selling millions of records…he was greatly influenced by the legendary Polish tango composer Jerzy Petersburski who would die in a nazi concentration camp…Pyotr opened the famous Leshchenko Cabaret in Bucharest where he sang and danced tango…he longed to return to his beloved Russia but he and his wife were finally arrested accused of being counter-revolutionary sympathizers