Archive for September 17th, 2011

1935, September 17 – TANGO TATIANA IS RECORDED !

“Tango Tatiana” was one of the most beautiful tangos recorded by the team of composer Oscar Strok and singer Piotr Leszczenko…both Oscar and Piotr would be called “The King of Tango” in their own right…Oscar Strok was born in Dinaburg Latvia, the youngest of eight children born into a jewish musical family…he excelled in his piano studies at the St Petersburg Conservatory and began working in theater productions and cinema…he would compose over 300 tangos and composed music for jewish poets who wrote in Yiddish…while his most creative period was during his stay in Riga, Latvia, he also lived in Paris and Berlin…during World War II he was a member of the “Frontline Concert Brigades” which was a particular soviet vehichle which took entertainers from many disciplines to the frontlines to entertain the troops and lift morale…after the war, western popular music was banned including his tangos which were being played by orchestras all over the world…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…she would spend many years in the Soviet gulag believing her famous husband to be dead while he was languishing in Romanian prison where he finally died not realizing that his beloved Vera was still alive