Tango Judío


Well-Known Member
Since it is reasonable assured that tango does not stem from the music played in brothels still the question is virulent who or what did add sadness to the rather joyful or playful black ancestors of tango as habanera and candombe. Two years ago I posted a thread on the pizza-connection, the italian influence on the guardia nueva. But my current interest lies on an earlier period. The reason? My last teacher was a traditional orientated jew from BsAs. So (everyone who knows me knows) we had pretty much material for endless discussions on traditional vs. reform judasism, the shoa, the political implications up to fundamental philosophical questions. I got an insight to the jewish self-conception and the sensitivities in the jewish community of BsAs. And there is also a connection to the history of my hometown: the majority of east european jews got on borad in Hamburg and carried their expectations as well as their memories (and of course their instruments, think you remember that the bando is of east european origin) across gangways and boarding bridges like this historic one in Hamburg. And of course, I also began to hear klezmer again.

Recently I found a newly released album by Andrés Linetzky. Almost everyone around surely will remember his romantic piece Sentimientos from 2003.

Now he has release a klezmer album, and a real kitchen-build, too:

Linetzky Family "Diaspora in Buenos Aires" Winter&Winter Ltd, 2012

It took me a while to get accustomed to the feeling, sound and atmosphere of this album.

You can hear some seconds of either track at http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/poprock/detail/-/art/Linetzky-Family-Diaspora-in-Buenos-Aires/hnum/2686002

The term Tango Judío is taken from Julio Nudler´s book "Tango judío - Del ghetto a la milonga". Editorial Sudamericana, 1998

The source of information on the jewish influence on tango is Jose Judkovsky´s book "El tango, a history with jews" Jewish institute of research, 1998

An subtitled coverage can be found on YT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZZAi1Y_0Do


Well-Known Member
I believe a lot of Germans of my age will know a special poem from 1948 by the jewish writer Paul Celan the Death Fugue. This poem is an institution, a memoral and reminds us with his symbolistic and hard to understand words of the millions of murdered jewish people. Recently (sorry for being late) I found out that there is a connection towards tango. A romanian translation of the Death Fugue was first titled Tangoul Mortii (= Tango of Death). The editor wrote in his preface that in the concentration camps of Lublin as well as in Janowska jewish musicians always were forced to play the melody of the so called Tango of Death while other prisoners had to dig their own graves. The Death Fugue and the said Tango of Death do not belong together, and yet they do, atmospherically.
The melody of the Tango of Death was taken from Eduardo Bianco´s master piece Plegaria. Bianco was a pioneer of the guardia-nueva style of tango and one of the musicans that made tango popular in Paris. He also had concerts at that time in the German Realm and other parts or Europe.

-Edurardo Bianco con ?? (1927 ?) polish pirate print from the 30s
-Eduardo Bianco con coro (?)
-Eduardo Bianco con Lydia Bianco (1952 ?)
-Eduardo Bianco con coro (1939)

Concerning todotango there are also several other tangos of death


Well-Known Member
White Slavery

You know I live in Hamburg (Germany) and here I also learned to dance tango. And honestly I really was shocked when I first went to BsAs and saw that commercialized Micky-Mouse-Tango-Circus for the first time. Since then my slogan is "St. Pauli, city of Hamburg, lies closer to the Río de la Plata than San Telmo, city of BsAs."

What added all that sadness to tango? On my search for traces I came across this memo:
Hamburg, autum 1888: Four young jewish women and a couple from Warsaw came under suspicion of procuring and trafficking and were arrested by the police. The couple from Warsaw showed the boarding cards for their passage from Hamburg to Buenos Aires and payed a deposit. They could reach the steamer Petropolis in time.

We haven´t got photos of Ester or any of the other jewish girls from Warsaw, but of Paula Waismann. She was married to a white slaver in Warsaw. Her destination was a mexican brothel.

Currently there is an exibition at the New Synagogue Berlin "The Yellow Ticket - Traffic in Girls 1860-1930" http://web.archive.org/web/20121031054018/http://www.cjudaicum.de/en/laufende-ausstellungen

Further readings
"Zwi Migdal" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwi_Migdal
"Jews and white slavery" http://snippits-and-slappits.blogspot.de/2012/01/jews-and-white-slavery.html
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Steve Pastor

Staff member
I really was shocked when I first went to BsAs and saw that commercialized Micky-Mouse-Tango-Circus for the first time.
Be sure to check with JanTango if you go again. If you follow her advice, you will experience "non-commercialized" tango.

And, I thought the street dancers were really pretty good, and they mostly stayed within a tango vocabulary when you take a historic perspective. It was just, tango for entertainment, not "social" tango.

End of hijack.

And, keep up the research and posting! Trying to understand Argentine Tango is a lot easier if we know more about the culture where it developed. That is, unless you think it's just music and a dance.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Ran into a friend I haven't seen for a while at a non tango venue I had never been to before. We also dance AT together. I don't think I was TOO suprised, but I was glad to hear her speak about how we Americans have a different approach to tango because our culture, life experiences, and history is very different that that of Argentina.

(Small world, too, because when I left there, I ran into another friend who belongs to the group that owns the facility where that dance was held. According to him, they may lose the building because of money problems!)


Active Member
I heard today about a documentary, "Tango, un historia con los judios" (Tango, a story with the jews, made in 2009) that is scheduled for free presentation with English subtitles, on December 6 at the Carlos Gardel Museum in Buenos Aires. I noted it on my agenda.


Well-Known Member
Want to share a slow lyrical tango, a tango that really deserves the attribute lyrical in the true sense of the word. Think it´s rather to hang out than actually made for dancing, but nevertheless I like dancing to it.

The song is Tango sonámbulo and was recorded by the argentine band La Surca, a band known for it´s unusual world and fusion sounds.

The singer and leader of La Surca Fernando Rabih adapted the poem Romance Sonámbulo of the spanish poet Federico García Lorca. García Lorca also was an expert in jewish culture, as proven by his cryptic masterpiece Cementerio judío.

You can find García Lorcas entry documents for Argentina at an exibition in the recently renovated "Hotel de Inmigrantes"

the former place of the argentine immigration authorities and once concidered to be the most modern transit building for immigrants. At beginning of the spanish civil war García Lorcas was shot by falangistas.

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Well-Known Member
September, 7th, 19h (@ Pasteur 633, 1028 Buenos Aires)

En esta oportunidad, presentaremos con el auspicio de la AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina), la segunda parte de la charla sobre la contribución de los inmigrantes judíos al Tango, donde se abordará el aporte empresarial al género.
cont judia tango.jpg
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