Polish Anti-Nicotine Tango: Nikotyna - Albert Harris, 1930
Nikotyna (Nicotine), Tango (Frank /Solec) Orkiestra taneczna „Odeon, dyryguje Jerzy Gert, ref. Albert Harris, Odeon c. 1930
Among old Polish records, this one is a true jewel: commercial tango „Nicotine financed by „Morwitan, prewar producer of the cigarette paper tubes. Why have been the modest tubes called the unbeatable conquerors of murderly Nikotyna? - who knows... This lovely anti-nicotine text tells the whole drama of an innocent boy, probably non smoker, who had an unfortunate love affair with a killer-girl, Nikotyna
Who did write this extra jewel of the rich prewar „tango-poetry? Some Polish poet, I suppose, who preferred to hide his name under a pseudonym „Solec (so has been called one of the good living area streets iof central Warsaw, where, probably, he or she lived in the 1930s). Excellent Jerzy Gert „Odeon Orchestra one of the best dance bands in prewar Poland (specializing in hottest tangos! Just listen to their recordings, presented in YT!) as well as first-class refrainist, Albert Harris, prove „Morwitan spent a fortune for this ad.
Here is the story: There was once - its how the story begins/ A young lad and a beautiful girl/ Her charm inflamed his blood like wine/ He abandoned his land for her/ Forgetful of clever advices/ He allowed wonderful Nicotine/ To be his fall / When hand in hand they went into life
Ref. Oh, Nicotine! You, fragrant dream/ who soothe sorrow, pain and suffering/ Whose power thru days and nights give us happines & forgetting/ Oh, Nicotine, who can resist you?/ When you posess someone, he is, no doubt, lost/ And in the world theres only one conqueror who can tame you/ Morwitan is his name!
To learn more about a Polish singer Albert Harris, see also
Old Polish Tango: Morfina, 1936
Janusz Popławski & Ork. taneczna Odeon - Morfina - tango (S.Cresta /Izabella), Odeon 1936
MORFINA - Tango, Adam Aston 1936 - Witkacys paintings !
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, a.k.a. Witkacy (February 24, 1885 September 18, 1939) was a Polish playwright, novelist, painter, photographer and philosopher, more:
During the 1930's, Witkiewicz published a text on his experiences with narcotics, including peyote; his paintings are often full of descriptions what mixture and kind of drugs he was applying himself before starting to paint.
Shortly after Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany in September 1939, he escaped with his young lover to Eastern Poland. Following the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939, Witkacy committed suicide.
In his home country Poland, a week ago, an anniversary of 70 years from his tragic death was celebrated.
Tango Morfina is probably of Italian origin (?).
Record, its label is presented at the end of the video - JP's, author's of the video collection.
Sound transferred without any modification or trials of making it polished & beautiful.
Pictures - found and collected on-line with hope of their being in a public domain.
Witkacy's autoportrait is finishing the slide of his paintings.
Commercial foxtrot from Warsaw - Morwitan, 1930
Albert Harris & Orkiestra taneczna „Odeon dir. By Jerzy Gert Morwitan, Foxtrot (Hen-wy/ Ted-rey) Odeon, ca 1930
NOTE: Here is another commercial song sponsored by „Morwitan - major cigarette tubes producer in pre-war Poland. This song hasn't any anti-nicotine bias in its text. It is purely commercial and even - it enhances smoking as utterly innocent and pleasure providing occupation. So, when the side A of this record (which is the anti-nicotine tango Nikotyna) tells a tragic story of a boy, completely possessed by a killer girl Nikotyna, on side B we find a total withdrawal from this idea. „Nothing smokes so well as Morwitan/ it is available in every little store/ it will soothe you to dreams better than hashish or opium/ so go and buy Morwitan! - sings Harris, to end his canto with the exclamation coda, in a very last second of the side: „Nothing, but Morwitan! Seeing this, both authors: of the music as well as the lyricist preferred to hide their names under carefully encrypted pseudonyms. Oh, that brutal early free-market capitalism!
The slideshow presents some of pre-war Polish posters.
See also the Polish anti-nicotine tango Nikotyna :
Old Dutch tango Maruschka in Polish ! - Adam Aston
See the comment to my previous video:
Tango Zaraza - Duet polaco: Wiera Gran - Albert Harris
Regarded as Argentine, Uruguayan tango Zaraza was very popular also in Poland in prewar time with a title 'When guitar is playing the song'.
This is very rare rendition made by two young Polish singers - Wiera Gran and Albert Harris, the only one they made together, short before outbreak of the WW2.
Both experienced and suffered exile and emigration.
Odeon O. 271536
Matr. Wo 2451
Albert Harris - Krakowskie tango.
Albert Harris Krakowskie Ludwinowskie tango
Odeon N 45044a Wo 2455
Nagranie z 1939 roku.
Płyta wytłoczona w 1945 roku z nową numeracją katalogową .
Jak widać też błąd w opisie wykonawcy na etykiecie.
Old Dutch tango Maruschka in Polish ! - Stefan Witas
The news that tango Maruszka (Maruschka), immensely popular in Poland in 1930's takes its origin far away from Poland and actually its home is a country of those beautiful tulip fields, windmills, smart cows, Gouda-cheeses, great Dutch painters and china of Delft...;) ....came to me from my Friend, Daniel-Parlophonman and became for me quite a sensation.
I am happy to reply and repay this gesture offering two Polish interpretations of this beautiful and melodious tango composed by a Dutch musician, Joop de Leur, with Polish lyrics by Andrzej Włast.
The first one was recorded in 1935 by Stefan Witas and Jerzy Gert Orchestra for Warsaw Odeon.
The record here presented is, however, a 1946 pressing -- rare today. Some of Polish Odeon records were made again, in a short series, soon after the War was ended from the pre-war material which survived (mostly in a poor shape !) all devastations and horrors of the war that actually ruined nearly all of the area of Warsaw.
Tango Maruszka (Polish spelling) had as many as six separate Polish recordings made for Syrena-Electro, Odeon and Columbia labels.
Kazimierz Krukowski - Tango Lopka.
Columbia DM 1622 b Wj 274
Nagranie z około 1932 roku.
The demand for new tangos in Poland was increasing immensely after 1928.
The parallel factor, on Vistula river, was a good old fashion and yearning - for exotic atmospheres.
Creators of Polish tangos managed to serve these trends effectively and in that way in 1930s started to appear such songs in tango rhythm like - I believe translations here are not necessary - Tango brazylijskie: ,
Tango portugalskie: ,
Tango meksykańskie (will appear on my channel), Tango kubańskie, Tango japońskie and - presented herewith - Greckie tango; to mention only these few.
Actually, Greckie tango has not very much in common with a real Greek tradition or
history; it is rather an imagination of the creators how a contemporary love story could happen among ancient marble columns, echoes of goddesses and in the shade of stone-pines.
The tango-song was composed by two prominent Polish pop musicians of that time: Zygmunt Karasiński (who had a special gift for beautiful melodies) and his musical partner: Szymon Kataszek.
Orchester is directed by Jerzy Gert (1908-1968), a young musician at that time, whose artistic - very prolific - carrier would last until the end of his life.
The singer endowed with a delicate , modern voice and impeccable (for a Polish ear !) diction is Albert Harris;
his poignant life history was included to my clip:
The video may seem to be a sort of a double capsule of the past time and sentiments:
for illustrations of this 1936 recording I took photos,
having been made still by a pre-digital camera during
my September 2000 (wonderful !) visit to the
Rodos island; now being re-photographed by
a more modern digital Kodak, on my table,
with a little help from the lamplight during one
of the dark, wintery 2010 evenings.
I am offering this presentation to my YT Friend,
pslogge, with thanks for moments of pleasure
Crazy Polish-Jewish-Arabic Foxtrot ABDUŁ BEY, 1932 !
Created by Polish artists and musicians of Jewish origin:
Fanny Gordon (Fajga Jofe) - music
Ludwik Szmaragd (Ludwik Sonnenschein) - lyrics
Albert Harris (Aaron Heckelman) - vocal
Jerzy Lederman (was using his original name) - conductor
Polish label: Cristal-Electro, 1932
During transfer - NO mastering, NO changing of the natural sound of the 78 rpm record was applied.
Albert Harris - Zawsze będzie czegoś ci brak, 1939
Zawsze będzie czegoś ci brak (You'll Always Miss It) -- (Valse-boston, J.Markowski/ W.Stępień) -- Albert Harris & Orkiestra tan. „Odeon dyr. Jerzy Gert, Odeon 1939
This song was composed by Jan Markowski in 1938 and recorded in January 1939, immediately becoming a great hit and -- soon -- one of Polish evergreens. The nostalgic title in September 1939 became almost a prophecy for the Poles, when their capital and many other cities lay in ruins under the Nazi bombs, the half of the nation was emigrating, or dead, or still fighting on the collapsing fronts of the country invaded from West by the Wehrmacht and from East by the Red Army, and the old prewar Poland was never to come back.
To know more about Jerzy Gert and Albert Harris -- see
Tola Mankiewiczówna sings Autumn Roses , 1932
Jesienne róże (Autumn Roses) (Artur Gold / Andrzej Włast) Tango z rewii „Przebój Warszawy w teatrze „Morskie Oko (Tango from the theatre „Morskie Oko revue: „The Hit Of Warsaw) -- Orkiestra taneczna „Odeon, refren: Tola Mankiewiczówna, Odeon 1932
Tola MANKIEWICZÓWNA (née Teodora Oleksy), born in 1901 near Łomża, Poland, died in 1985, Warsaw. After her studies in Warsaw Conservatory (piano) she moved for 3 years to Milan, Italy to study operatic singing. She continued studies in Poland under the guidance of the famous soprano, Janina Korolewicz-Waydowa. From 1929 to 1931 Mankiewiczówna performed in Warsaw Opera (e.g. Micaela in Bizet's „Carmen, Margarethe in Gounod's „Faust, and at chances she took roles in Warsaw Operetta. After her performance in Oskar Strauss' „The Charm of Waltz Tola Mankiewiczówna received such enthusiastic rewievs, that she decided to quit her operatic career and devoted herself fully to the lighter Muse.
In 1932 she had her debut in the revue theatre „Morskie Oko, immediately becoming the favourite singer of Warsaw. In the same year she started her movie career in a comedy „10 Percent For Me. The huge success encouraged movie producers to continue engaging her in the music comedies e.g. „Co mój mąż robi w nocy?(What My Husband Does At Nights? 1934), „Manewry miłosne (The Love Manoeuvres, 1935) or „Pani minister tańczy(Madame Minister Dances, 1937; see
During WWII Mankiewiczówna worked and sung in the artists' cafe „U Aktorek, taking part in the Polish actors' boycott of the nazi-controlled stages of Warsaw. After the war, without success she tried to regain her position, acting in the provincial theatres and cabarets. The communist regime did not promote the „burgeois genre of her kind, and the Polish audience lost interest in the roles of „grande dames. Better reception she had abroad, during her „nostalgia performances in front of the remains of her prewar fans, in the emmigrant clubs in London, Paris or New York. In last decades of her life she worked in Warsaw as a lower clerk.
To know more about Artur GOLD & Andrzej WŁAST (the composer and the author of text of „Jesienne róże) -- see
Albert Harris - Gdy mnie nie będzie , 1938
Albert Harris & Orkiestra Odeon - Gdy mnie nie będzie (When I Am Gone) tango (W.Krupiński /A.Włast), Odeon 1938
Tango from Poland: Zakochany księżyc
Zakochany księżyc (The Moon In Love) Tango (J.Kagan-Z.Friedwald ) - A.Harris,Odeon Orch 1937
NOTE: Author of music is Jakub Kagan - to read more about his great success in prewar Poland, and his tragic end under the nazis, go to:
Author of text is Zenon FRIEDWALD (born 1906 in Lwów, Poland) - a songwiriter, whose greatest hit was an immortal tango, composerd in 1936 by Jerzy Petersburski: in the tango history, it became one of the most famous tangos, ever: To ostatnia niedziela (The Last Sunday)
When, on 1st of September 1939 German apocalypse started to blow off Poland, Friedwald - who was a worker in the bureau of Polish Ministry Of Military Affairs - was evacuated to Romania and farther, via Grece and Turkey, to Palestine. After 1945, as writer and social activist, he became one of key figures in post-war Polish-Jewish circles in Israel. He died in Tel Aviv, in 1976.
Albert HARRIS (Aaron Hekelman) was born in Warsaw 1911, died in 1974 , USA he was a Polish pianist, composer, singer. In 1930s he was contracted as a refrain singer to Odeon Records, Warsaw. Most often, „Odeon studio orchestra in Warsaw was conducted by Jerzy Gert, who was Odeon's music director and until September 1939.with him most of Harris' recordings were made. After Second World War, Albert Harris emigrated to Sweden, where he composed music for the movies.
The slideshow are the vintage photographs of the Polish city of Wilno, now Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The photoes have been made by the nestor of Polish photo-art., Jan Bułhak (born 1876 in Ostaszyn by Nowogródek, d. 1950 in Giżycko, Poland). His photos of Wilno, Warsaw, Lublin or Cracow, taken in 1910-1930 can only be compared with the immortal works of art by Kertesz or Brassai.
German Tango: Eugen Wolff Orch. - Nachtliche Gitarren, 1945
Nocne gitary (Nachtliche Gitarren) Tango (J.Rixner) - Orkiestra Stanisława Godarskiego (Eugen Wolff m.s. Tanz-Orchester) Melodje 1945 (Polish pressing) Odeon 1940 (German matrix)
NOTE: In Poland, in short period 1945-47, when the Soviet-style Stalinism was not yet fully installed, a privately owned little record factory „Melodje located in a small apartment house in the heart of the Old Town of Poznań, issued many very good recordings of the post-WWII Polish jazz & swing orchestras (e.g. Bracia Łopatowscy, Charles Bovery or Kazimierz Bryzek's bands) as well as the excellent jazz and non-jazz Polish singers (Marta Mirska, Tadeusz Miller, the revellers choir Cztery Asy). Also issued were the sides re-pressed from miraculously saved prewar matrixes of Syrena Rekord or Odeon companies. Among them, sometimes you could find the intruguing and, usually, being on the highest artistical level jazz or just the dance numbers, performed by the mysterious band „Orkiestra Stanisława Godarskiego (Stanisław Godarski's Orchestra).
The problem is: such bandleader or such orchestra did never exist! The name was pure hoax, and the sides holding such label were re-recordings of popular nazi-Germany orchestra tunes (God knows in what kind of technology?!) from the matrixes, or from actual records, that were left in Poland by the nazis during their panick evacuation back to Germany, in January 1945. The usage of the label name „St. Godarski entitled the owners of Melodje Records to avoid payments of royalties as well as it protected them from political accusals of being any kind of a pro-nazi conspiracy...
I was fortunate to have identified this very side, as German Eugen Wolff's dance orchestra, originally recorded by Odeon, Berlin 1940. Another great tango of Josef Rixner - one of best composers in Germany in late 1930s, also the composer of Blauer Himmel - can be listened to if you go
Old Polish tango: Czy pamiętasz tę noc w Zakopanem?
Czy pamiętasz tę noc w Zakopanem? (Do You Remember That Night In Zakopane?) (Muzyka: Zygmunt Karasiński, Text: Aleksander Jellin) - Tadeusz Miller & Orkiestra K. Bryzka, Melodje 1945 (circa)
It's one of still popular old Polish songs: tango composed in 1937 by Zygmunt Karasiński and devoted to Zakopane - the most fashionable winter spa in Poland (see:
Here the song is performed by a very popular post-war singer Tadeusz Miller. His career was short, in 1947 he died in a car crash. The record was produced by Melodje - the private record factory established immediately after WWII in the city of Poznań. Also the life of that enterprise was short: Melodje died in late 1940s, as soon the stalinist regime completed its installation in Poland.
(see also: )
Por una Cabeza - Carlos Gardel
Por una cabeza, is one of the most famous
and popular tango songs by Carlos Gardel (composer)
and Alfredo Le Pera (lyricist), written in 1935.
---- DISCLAIMER! ---- Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107
of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use
for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting,
teaching, scholarship, and research.
Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing.
Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
Albert Harris - Co to może być
Co to może być ?
Borg , Lipski - Szlengel
Nagranie z płyty Poljazz - Zatańczmy fokstrota
Old Polish Tango: To ostatnia niedziela 1935
To ostatnia niedziela (It's The Last Sunday) (Petersburski /Friedwald) - Zygmunt Piotrowski z ork. Syrena-Rekord, Melodja-Electro 1935 (Polish)
NOTE: Melodja-Electro was a dime store version of Syrena-Electro (the record's price was only 1,5 zl) and many artists disagreed to present their names on the cheaper label (Adam Aston, Mieczysław Fogg, Hanka Ordonówna). Many others were nicknamed or mentioned merely as refrain singer (e.g. Tadeusz Faliszewski's label name for Melodja- Electro was Jan Pobóg; Wiera Gran recorded as Mariol).
To ostatnia niedziela belongs to one of the most famous tangoes of prewar Poland (ex-aequo with Oh Donna Clara, which was also composed by Jerzy Petersburski, in 1928) and ofcourse, it was immediately recorded by great stars like Mieczysław Fogg , Adam Aston or Chór Dana. Here, it is performed by Zygmunt Piotrowski, who in years 1930-32 was the member of Chór Wiehlera revellers' group, to join later another very popular Polish revellers - Chór Juranda, as their first tenor. He also recorded for Cristal-Electro in a duet with R. Marrot (Duet Corda see ). He was a modest and little known singer, who most of his life worked as streetcar operator in Warsaw, and who died of tuberculosis during the German occupation of Poland.
The illustration to this sad tango is the set of the melancholic views of towns and villages of Polish Atlantis - the lost forever universe of Polskie Kresy Wschodnie (Polish East Borderlands)...
Polish Kresy (Polskie Kresy) is the term referred to Polish eastern territories that belonged to Poland before 1939 (The Voivodeships of Lwów, Stanisławów, Tarnopol, Volhynia, Wilno, Nowogródek) and after 1939, due to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, on September 17, 1939 the territory was annexed by the Soviet Union, and a significant part of the ethnic Polish population of the eastern Kresy (over 1,5 million Polish citizens) was deported to other areas of the Soviet Union including Siberia and Kazakhstan. During the Teheran Conference in 1943, a new Soviet-Polish border was established on the so-called Curzon-line, in effect sanctioning most of the Soviet territorial acquisitions from September 1939 and ignoring protests from the Polish emigre government in London. Soviet Union incorporated Polish Kresy into the Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, and 50 years later when the Soviet Union broke up, they remained part of those respective republics after they gained independence.
Before September 1939 the population of the Kresy was multi-ethnic, primarily comprising Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians. Poles formed the largest ethnic group in these regions, and were demographically the largest ethnic group in the region's cities. Other national minorities included Lithuanians (in the north), Jews (scattered in cities and towns across the area), Czechs (in Volhynia), and also Russians. Mother language given in 1931 Polish census was following: Lwów Voivodeship: 58% Polish, 34% Ukrainian language , 8% Yiddish; in Vilno Voivodeship: 60% Polish, 23% Belarussian, 8% Yiddish, 3% Russian, 8% Other, including Lithuanian.
Now, the term Kresy remains for the most of Poles an imaginary place of Polish legends and of valorous deeds. The places of mystical Polish defenders of Western Europe - first against Tatar and Turkish invaders, and in the XXth Century - against the Bolshevik plague from Soviet Russia. The elite of Polish aristocracy and landowners had their enormous properties in Kresy, where, in their private kingdoms, the richest, the most magnificent renaissance or baroque palaces, churches, monasteries were built during long ages of the bloom of the Polish culture in that area. Also, the worldwide legend of East-European Jewish shtetl has its roots in the culture of the Polish Kresy. When one reads biographies of the great Jewish men of science, culture or the politics, often their birthplaces appear to be in Lwów, Wilno, Grodno, Stryj, Drohobycz Czortków, Buczacz, Kołomyja or in the hundreds of the Kresy towns and villages. Unfortunately - with some exceptions given to the bigger cities like Wilno or Lwów - a large part of the magnificent cultural heritage of the multi-age Polish presence in that area has not been restaured since the 2nd WW and predominantly, is left to decay.
Albert Harris - Gdy radio w pokoiku gra
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Diese Aufnahme entstand ca. 1937 in Warschau. Der polnische Sänger und Schauspieler Albert Harris wird vom Odeon-Orchester (wahrscheinlich unter Leitung von Jerzy Gert) begleitet.
Polish tango in Soviet Russia - Utomlennoe solntse, 1936
The „Last Sunday -- erroneously called „THAT Last Sunday -- was composed by the Polish composer Jerzy Petersburski in 1936. It is a nostalgic tango with lyrics by Zenon Friedwald describing the final meeting of former lovers who are parting. The Polish title was: To Ostatnia Niedziela (The Last Sunday). The song was extremely popular and was performed by numerous artists (the best known performance by the pre-war Polish singer Mieczysław Fogg). Along the way, it first gained the nick-name of Suicide Tango due to its sad lyric (although, the real „suicie song in the night restaurants of Warsaw -- where the shoot in the brow at 12 at night was not an unusual happening - was in 1930s another sad „Sunday: the „Gloomy Sunday (in Polish: „Smutna niedziela) by a Hungarian composer Rezső Seress.
Soon, it became an international hit; in the US sung by Billie Holiday.
But Polish „Last Sunday also had a terribly sad fate. During World War II In the concentrations camps it was often played while Jewish prisoners were led to the gas chambers and ovens, to be executed.
During World War II its Russian version was prepared by Iosif Alveg and performed by Leonid Utyosov under the title of Weary Sun (Russian: Utomlyennoye Solntse). After World War II, the song remained largely successful and appeared in a number of films, including Yuriy Norshteyn's 1979 Tale of Tales (considered by many international critics to be the greatest animated film ever made), the award-winning Krzysztof Kieślowski's White (1994) and Nikita Mikhalkov's Burnt by the Sun of the same year. The Russian title of the song also became the name-sake for the latter film and -- as the result - for even more educated and worldly Russians, nowadays, it is considered as the „Russian national song!
Recording: Alexandr Cfasman Orkestr, Russian vocal refrain by Pavel Mihailov - Utomlennoe Solnce (J.Petersburski), Noginskij Zawod 1932
Tango Violino Tzigano in Polish - Mieczysław Fogg !
Polish version of the great hit composed by Bixio, recorded in Poland in 1936.
Stefan Bob i Albert Harris - Kto wie.
Stefan Bob i Albert Harris
Odeon N 45060 b Wo 1995
Nagranie z 1937 roku.
Płyta wytłoczona z nową numeracją katalogową w 1945 roku.
Polish prewar hit: Albert Harris - Bukiecik fiołków, 1937
Albert Harris & Orkiestra taneczna Odeon - Bukiecik fiołków (A Small Bunch of Violets) Walc angielski (Artur Gold /Andrzej Włast) Odeon c. 1937 (Poland)
NOTE: Albert Harris (born Aaron Hekelman; used also pseudonyms Albert Liff, Albert Holm) was born in 1911 in Warsaw, Poland. He was educated as pianist, was more popular as singer and composer. The most famous song he composed was Piosenka o mojej Warszawie (The Song About My Warsaw) he wrote as soldier of Polish Emigree Army in Italy in 1944. Recorded by Mieczysław Fogg in 1945, it became an unofficial hymn of the annihi;lated capital city of Poland, for the years of its resurrection from the ruins. Harris never came back to his beloved city, he chose to stay away from Poland, that - due to a shameful Roosevelt-Churchill Polish betrayal in Yalta - was ofgfered to Stalin as part of his communist empire. In 1946--1949 Harris stayed in Sweden, where he wrote music to several Swedish movies, in later years he travelled to the United States, where he died in 1974. The anonymous Odeon dance orchestra is probably directed by Jerzy Gert.
Tadeusz Faliszewski - Ty i moja gitara , 1931
Tadeusz Faliszewski, artysta teatru Morskie Oko (The Artist from Morskie Oko theatre) - Ty i moja gitara (You And My Guitar), Tango z rewii Hallo! Ameryka! (Tango from the revue Hallo, America!) Muz.: Jerzy Petersburski/ Tekst: Andrzej Włast, Syrena-Electro 1931
In his memoirs, Ludwik Sempoliński - one of the most popular comic singers and actors in prewar Warsaw - writes about this premiere, that Andrzej Włast, director of the grandeur revue theatre Morskie Oko - who in 1920/30s remained in constant conflict & competition with another histerically popular Warsaw cabaret Qui Pro Quo - the smaller, yet more intellectual scene - decided - after suggestions of his maitre de danse Antoni Nelle (who just returned from the USA) - to arrange (in spite of the Depression) a great American show in Warsaw, entitled Hello! America. They created a kind of a girls! girls! girls! show, that would never be (technically) possible on the small stage of Qui pro Quo. Włast went as far as to import from New York an American actress Margarethe Donaldson. The stage was whole wrapped in white and black silk weils and courtains, the orchestra was dressed in white tuxedos, the art deco desing made the stage a shop window of the newest worldly trends in decorating. Yet, after 40 performances, the title was closed down. The reason was, among others, Tadeusz Faliszewski, who was employed for this show as master of ceremony, as well as he had to sing a lot of songs (including Jerzy Petersburski's tango Ty i moja gitara). This difficult actor/singer task was beyond possibilities of that not smashingly handsome tenor, completely deprived of vis comica, who was not a professional actor. The show and enormous investment of time and money, failed.
Polish tango: Tęskno mi , FALISZEWSKI 1934
Tęskno mi (I Am Longing) Tango z teatru Wielka Rewia (Tango from a Grand-Revue Theatre, Warsaw) (Muz. A.Lewandowski/ Tekst: A.Włast) - Jan Pobóg (Tadeusz Faliszewski), Orch. dir. by Iwo Wesby, Melodja-Electro 1934 (Poland)
NOTE: In the Ist half of 1930s Melodja-Electro existed as a popular, yet ephemeric label, an offspring of Syrena Electro. The records were cheaper (cost 1 zloty, while Syrena cost about 2,o zloty) although their quality was not worse than Syrena's. Considered a cheap label it was ignored by many front-line artists, who never recorded there (Mieczysław Fogg, Adam Aston, Hanka Ordonówna) or recorded under pseudonyms, like Tadeusz Faliszewski (Jan Pobóg) or Wiera Gran (Mariol).
In the slideshow are the vintage photographs of the city of Bydgoszcz, where I was born. Many of these beautiful Jugendstil apartment houses still exist but the atmosphere of a tidy, well organised and prosperous middle class town in Pomerania, completely evaporated with the outbreak of 2nd World War. In September 1939, as soon as German troops invaded Poland, the town was a scene for the first homicide in the modern history of Europe. During first days of a German occupation, 10 % of the 150,ooo population of the town - its whole elite (teachers, doctors, lawyers etc.) - were murdered in mass executions in the Old Town Square and in so-called today Death Valley in a suburbian village Fordon. It was the first stage of German-Soviet plan -- in reference to Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of August, 1939 and the Gestapo-NKVD mettings in occupied Poland, in the months to follow - of decapitation of the Polish society by depriving it of its elites and turning Poles into a slave-nation.
It is my second uploading of this tune (previous was in September 2008 and it was uncomplete - first 20 seconds of recording were missing ). So now, there is a complete version of that haunting tango accompanied by a nicer selection of the vintage photoes of my beloved town.
Csárdás from Poland: Janusz Popławski sings Tokaj, ca 1930
Tokaj (Hungarian foxtrot) - Janusz Popławski, vocal & Orkiestra taneczna Odeon, dyr. Jerzy Gert, Odeon ca 1930
Tango - reklama: Morwitan, to nasz znak !, Adam Aston, 1937
One of the very many Polish songs of 1930's which were designed and served as an advertisement of the goods for sale.
The present one, Morwitan, to nasz znak !, (Morwitan - it's our trade-mark !) was meant for the tissue-paper and tubes, produced by Herbewo firm, used for home production of tobacco cigarettes.
The singer is Adam Aston; here, for the advertising action, named - J.Kierski.
Ady Rosners Orchestra, Voc. Albert Harris - Piosenka o mojej Warszawie
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Ein wunderschöner Walzer, der die Stimmung seiner Zeit wiederspiegelt! Albert Harris schrieb das Lied im Gedenken an das alte Warschau, wie man es aus der Vorkriegszeit kannte. Die Aufnahme nahm das Staatliche Jazz-Orchester der ZSRR unter Leitung von Ady Rosner 1945 auf. Den vollständigen Text singt der Komponist persönlich. Somit kann diese Aufnahme wohl als die Originalaufnahme dieses Liedes gesehen werden, welches später von vielen anderen populären polnischen Sängern wie Mieczyslaw Fogg interpretiert wurde ...
Polish Tango: Musiałem cię zostawić, Bob & Harris 1937
Musiałem cię zostawić... (I Had To Leave You) Tango dedicated to Polish emmigrants in America (J.Kagan, W.Tychowski - Izabella) - Orchestra dir by. Jerzy Gert, Vocal duett: Bob & Harris, Odeon 1937
NOTE: This tango was written by two fine composers: Jakub Kagan, author of many excellent tangos (go to ) and Witold Tychowski, who led a famous Hawaiian guitar orchestra in Warsaw. The song's subtitle (not present on the label) was „Tango dedicated to American Polonia (the Latin name of Poland: Polonia, is an old habitual term for Polish emigrant diaspore in the world). The lyrics, written by the author who hides under a pseudonym „Izabella, is a rather banal expression of love and longing for Poland - that „I had lo leave but „I will come back ,as it 's stated in the end. A mastrely Jerzy Gert's bandleading makes this recording one more lovely finding in the Polish tangoes collection.
La Cumparsita from Poland - Janusz Popławski, ca 1937
La Cumparsita - tango (Rodriguez) - Orkiestra taneczna Odeon, Refren śpiewa Janusz Popławski, Odeon ca 1937
Albert Harris - Marilou.
Odeon 271268b Wo 1942
Nagranie z 1936 roku.
The New York Twelve - Youre Driving Me Crazy, 1930
The New York Twelve (dir. by Harry Reser)- You're Driving Me Crazy (W.Donaldson) Hit Of The Week, 1930
Albert Harris - Lambeth Walk.
Odeon O 271532a Wo 2442
Nagranie z 1938 roku.
Polish Tango: Hanka Ordonówna - Kogo nasza miłość obchodzi, 1932
Hanka Ordonówna with piano accopmaniament - Kogo nasza miłość obchodzi? (Whe Cares About Our Love)(Music & Text: Marian Hemar)Tango from theatre Banda, Syrena Electro 1932
This is another beautiful (and less known) Hanka Ordonówna's tango, written (music and lyrics) by Marian Hemar - a fine poet and one of the best lyricists in pre-war Warsaw.
This dramatic love story finds its bitter conclusion in the refrain's canto: Who cares about our love? Just you and I/ Who will be hurt by our love? Just you and I/ Whose eyes will be blinded with tears from our love? Just yours and mine/ Who will be killed by our love? Just you and I.
The slideshow are early and late photos of Hanka Ordonówna - la plus grande vedette in the history of the Polish song.
Old Tango from Poland: Stanisław Gruszczyński - Come To Me! 1932
Stanisław Gruszczyński (vocal) Przyjdź (Come!) (Jerzy Petersburski / Andrzej Włast) Tango from the revue „Tęcza nad Warszawą (Rainbow Over Warsaw) in the theatre „Morskie Oko, Syrena Electro 1932
Stanisław GRUSZCZYŃSKI (b. 1891 in Ludwinów by Wilno, died 1959 in Milanówek by Warsaw) - one of greatest Polish singers (tenor) in the history.
During his schoolyears in Wilno, in the age of 14, he was engaged in the Polish anti-Tzarist conspiracy, for which he was expelled from school with no right to continue. Having a natural strong tenor, he decided to go to Warsaw where - in the years 1910-15, working as a waiter in Hotel Angielski, he had a chance to get into artistical circles and to receive first propositions for little roles in the theatres. At last, one of Hotel Angielski regular customers got interested in his vocal talents and helped him in the engagement into Warsaw Operetta.
After the very first performance, his success was enormous. Overnight, he could choose among offers. He choose Radames in Warsaw Grand Theatre performance of „Aida, in 1916. This role he guaranteed him forever the nickname of the „Polish Caruso as well as the solid rank among the greatest Polish tenors of the I-st half of XX century. During 1920 that nice village boy from nearby Wilno used to take all possible roles on the prime stages of Europe: La Scala, Madrid, Barcelona, Hamburg, Paris, Lisbon. Because of the lack of a solid music education he sung in Polish, usually causing the little sensations among conoisseurs and journalists. Nevertheless, they all agreed in one point: Europe has not had for a long time, such performer of Wagnerian roles!
He was given enormous voice and phenomenal music memory. He could learn his part overnight. Therefore, he was exploited beyond measure. Lack of education, as well as his spontaneous, uncritical character, made him take at once any proposition and sing anywhere, without guaranteed conditions. Thus he sung in best operas as well as in the smoky cafes; he also performed in the movies. He recorded dozens of sides for best gramophone companies in Europe, which earned him a fortune. This was the beginning - and the end of his hi-speed life as a European celebrity. In the beginning of 1930s, having bought for himself a race horse team and a villa in the snobistic settlement area of Milanówek by Warsaw, he had to consider the first alarming signs of his voices decline. The critics started to complain about his failures on the stage. And suddenly, in 1932 his still great name appears on the posters advertising new revues in Warsaw cabaret Morskie Oko - where he was mercifully employed for the revue premiere. Soon he became alcoholic.
During 2nd World War he worked as a doorman and a physical worker. After war, his long-time-ago fans arranged the modest jubilee for him in the Warsaw Opera, as well as they found for him the low-paid yet stabile employment in the Music Library. In 1958, he retired, to die soon on a hart attack, in poverty and oblivion.
Albert Harris - Panno Zosiu ja funduje.
Panno Zosiu ja funduje
Odeon N 45061 b Wo 1956
Nagranie z 1936 roku.
Płyta wytłoczona w 1945 roku z nową numeracją katalogową.
Warsaw in 1945: Piosenka o mojej Warszawie - W. Sypniewski
Piosenka o mojej Warszawie (A Song About Warsaw Of Mine) (Muz. i słowa A. Harris) -- W. Sypniewski & Orkiestra pod dyr. M. Giżelskiego. Melodie ca 1945 (Poland)
NOTE: It is probably the earliest and the least kown recording of that song, made after May 1945. The tender, poetical text was written during the Second World war by one of most popular prewar singers in Warsaw, Albert Harris. He was a member of an artistic team that accompanied with its music the struggles of Polish Emigree Army in the West, led by generel Władysław Anders. In Italy, during the bloody fights for Monte Cassino monastery, where thousands of Polish soldiers gave their lives, Harris wrote one of the most charming and nostalgic melodies in history of a song in Poland. The nostalgy for Warsaw, as it remains in memories, is confronted with a terrible truth of its devastation today. Yet, the song ends with exclamation of hope, that Warsaw will grow up again and resurrect it's beauty through the sacrifice of blood, given by Polish soldiers, all over Europe.
In my slideshow I tried to give picture to that ambiguity of feelings: to Harris' hope mixed with a despair. And -- to both visions he had in his heart while writing: Warsaw in it's glamour, and in it's decline.
I have no idea who the singer was, neither I know the least detail about orchestra and its leader. Considering very low label number, this must be one of the earliest sides produced by Melodje -- the first Polish record manufacture established after 1945. It's studio was not organised in Warsaw but in a relatively less destroyed city of Poznań. Melodje Records -- that deserve well of its merits in recreating the music life in Poland and its archivisation in a totally destroyed country -- was closed by the communists in 1949 after only a few years of activity, as soon as the Stalinst regime was fully installed in Poland.
Przedwojenna Polska - Tango, Faliszewski 1930
This tango Głos z daleka (which translates into English as Voice From Afar) is kind of weird. The music is haunting, while the text is just repulsive. A very bad poetry, almost graphomanic - about some voice, which calls the singer thru the windy, snowy, wintery night, and - guess, what a voice is it? A voice of love, as all of us probably guessed. (Before love - also appears, God knows why, the voice od a suffering). Yet, alltogetger, this text and this music make an unforgetable tango - very popular in pre-war Poland. It's smooth, rhythmical and keen in seducing us - like all tangos do - in their old, kitschy and irresistable way of seducing.
Polish Blues: Tadeusz Faliszewski - To wiosna gra, 1930
Hallo, all YT guys!! Spring is here! Der Lenz ist da! To wiosna gra!!! Here's a Fanny Gordon's blues (? well, it's rather a slow-fox for me) from happy Warsaw of 1930 - with my best Spring greetings to all of you
NOTE: Tadeusz Faliszewski & Orkiestra Henryka Golda (Henryk Gold's Orchestra ?) - To wiosna gra (It's Spring Who's Acting) (Music: Fanny Gordon, text: Krystjan) Blues z rewii: Czy pani lubi bez? (Blues from the revue: Do You Like Lilacs, Madame?), Syrena-Electro 1930
Go to another Fanny Gordon's compositions and to her biogram:
Polish Tango: Faliszewski Twe usta kłamią, 1933
Tadeusz Faliszewski - Twe usta kłamią (Your Lips Are Lying) (Kataszek /Włast) Tango z teatru Rex, Syrena-Electro 1933
NOTE: Szymon KATASZEK (né Boruch Szymon Kataszek) composer, pianist, bandleader, one of pioneers of Polish jazz. Born in Warsaw 1898; executed by the nazis in Warsaw, 1943.
He received his musical education in the Music Institute in Warsaw (the class of piano) and in St. Cecilia Academy in Rome. Having returned to Poland before completing his studies, he got his first job as an organist in St.Trinity Church in Warsaw, working also in the nightclubs as a pianist. He also played for some time in the Military Band of the Garrison of Warsaw. In 1920 he enlisted as a soldier to the Polish Army to fight in the Polish-Bolshevic War. In 1921 he went to Gdańsk and Berlin, to play in dance orchestras. From the end of 1922, back in Warsaw, he and his friend Zygmunt Karasiński - who also had some experience having played with the German dance bands - established a jazz quintett, that appeared on the stage of a newly opened & fashionable restaurant „Oaza. Their performances became a sensation. In 1924 the Krasiński & Kataszek Band recorded its first sides for „Syrena and until 1928 they toured many times around Poland, performing at the most elegant hotels, restaurants and holiday spas. In his memoirs, the fiddler Aleksander Halicki - one of musicians who played in Krasiński & Kataszek Band, wrote, they were the first professional Polish dance orchestra that applied the instrumental improvisation.
Kataszek's activity was not merely bandleading: he also composed dozens of first Polish foxtrotts, black-bottoms, shimmies, charlestons. His hits (called in pre-war Poland „schlagers) were presented on the stages of little theatres of Warsaw: „Qui Pro Quo, „Perskie Oko, „Rex, and sung by the whole of Poland: „A ile mi dasz? (How Much Shall I Get From You?), „To Zula (W futerko się otula) (Its Zula, Who Wraps Herself In The Fur - dedicated to the charleston-dance pionieer and a „Qui Pro Quo singer, Zula Pogorzelska), „Abram, ja ci zagram! (Ill Play It For You, Abram!) or a tango „Czemuś o mnie zapomniał? (Wy Have You Forgotten Me?) rewarded the Grand Prix of 1932 Tango Competition, organized by the theatre „Morskie Oko together with Syrena-Electro Co. In 1933 he and Krasiński wrote music for the film comedy „Każdemu wolno kochać with two schlagers: the rumba „Chcesz to mnie bierz (Take Me, If You Feel Like It) and the homonymous tango „Każdemu wolno kochać (Everybody Has A Right To Love). A nice anecdote is linked with this song: when in 1935 Polish Parliament confirmed the new constitution for the Polish Republic with full rights granted to the homouals, from the age of 15 (it was one of few such tolerant law regulations in the world) tango „Każdemu wolno kochać became an unofficial anthem of the gay circles in Poland and in form of a comment to the new constistution - performed by the male vocal/dance duett - it was sung in the cabarets.
Taking profit from his enormous popularity, Kataszek also maintained a social activity. He was a chairman of the Society For Workless Musicians, that forced a rule obliging all artistic unions in Poland of writing 20% off their radio performance incomes for the benefit of the jobless musicians. In 1938 he arranged the enormous Festival Of Dance with 10 best dance orchestras of Poland, performing for the public in Karowa Street in Warsaw. The whole income was conveyed to the National Fund Of The Aircraft Building.
Alas, a year later, no aircratf was able to rescue Poland from the murderous attack on her, from the both sides: nazi Germany from the west, and 2 weeks later, the Soviet Union from the East. As most of the artists, Kataszek left Warsaw for Lwow, and he got under the Soviet occupation. In the very beginning he was allowed to perform for the Soviet dignitaries in the night restaurant „Imperial. But when in June 1941 the Soviet-German war blew out, he, instead of fleeing farther eastwards, returned to Warsaw. Many Polish patriotic Jews, who hated communists the same much, as Poles, did so, unaware of horrors carried on in the nazi-occupied Poland. That's how he got to the Warsaw Ghetto. In first few months he managed to carry on with bandleading: he led the Ghetto Jewish Police Orchestra, but when the first deportations to Treblinka and Bełżec started, he managed to slide out to the „aryan side and he went to Lwow. There - as the unverified sources say - he returned to his „Imperial, where he led the band again. But, recognised by one of the guests, who was the SS officer from Warsaw - he was arrested and sent to the prison of Pawiak in the Warsaw Ghetto. And there - its a version confirmed by the historians - he was shot with a group of prisoners, on 22 May, 1943.
Tango Lubię - Faliszewski & Piotrowski, 1937
Lubię (Spoglądać w oczy marzące twe) (I Like/ To Look Deep Into Your Dreamy Eyes) Tango (Kagan, Tychowski /Fox) - Tad. Faliszewski & Z. Piotrowski z akomp. Ork. W. Tychowskiego, Syrena-Electro, 1937 (repressed by Melodje, ca 1946)
NOTE: The slideshow contains photographs of some of best or most popular cinema and theatre actresses in pre-war Poland
Ada, to nie wypada - Jerzy Gert Orch. & Albert Harris, 1936
Albert HARRIS (né Aaron Hekelman; b. 1911 in Warsaw, d. 1974 in USA) - pianist, composer and a popular singer in pre-war Warsaw.
Jerzy GERT (né Józef Gärtner; b. 1908 in Tarnow, d. 1968 in Krakow) -- conductor and composer. In 1924-1932 he studied in Wien to become director of the Lwow Philharmonia (1931 -1941), as well as the music manager of the Polish branch of „Odeon records. After WWII he founded the Orchester and Choir of Polish Radio in Krakow. In 1957-62 he was the artistical director of Krakow Philharmonia.
Recording: Albert Harris, Orkiestra taneczna „Odeon pod dyr. Jerzego Gerta - Ada, to nie wypada! (Ada! It Misbecomes You!) (from the comedy movie „Ada, to nie wypada!) (Muz. Zygmunt Wiehler /Tekst: Jerzy Jurandot) Odeon 1936
Przedwojenny Lwów: Chór Dana - Tango Łyczakowskie, 1930
This tango - whose name Łyczakowskie comes from the name of the Lwow's colourful suburb Łyczaków - is one of the whole series of pre-war songs about the city of Lwow.
Ever since the loss of Lwow to USSR after the year 1945 - due to post-war Western allies' obedience to Stalins' pressure on depriving Poland of this most heroic of the Polish cities, who always firmly guarded Poland's eastern border - the memory of Lwow has remained forever the non-healing wound for each of Polish hearts.
Chór Dana acc. by accordeon - Tango Łyczakowskie(L.Haber/Z.P.Haar) Odeon c. 1930
Faliszewski - Kochaj mnie, a będę twoją, 1930
Tadeusz Faliszewski - Kochaj mnie, a będę twoją (Henryk Wars /Andrzej Włast) Tango z rewii Uśmiech Warszawy teatru Morskie Oko (Tango from revue The Smile Of Warsaw from the theatre Morskie Oko) , Syrena-Electro 1930
NOTE: After a genial duo: Artur Gold & Włast (see my previous uploading) now here is another legendary Polish couple of tango-makers: composer Henryk Wars and Andrzej Włast (author, who probably wrote one song a day). To read more about Henryk Wars go to and Andrzej Włast's tragic fate is described at
This is one of the best tangos composed by Henryk Wars. It is dark and truly erotic, and therefore it was originally sung in Morskie Oko theatre by Stanisława Nowicka - in prewar Poland the dark tangoes singer, specializing in the apache songs and Marlene Dietrich's repertoire. The text says about a street girl who - brought in by the sailors - meets a group of stokers in a stokehole of a liner. With much talent the dusky and erotic atmosphere of that hot, sweaty place is described by Andrzej Włast. Unfortunately, in my collection of the pictures I did not find any showing the prewar stokeholes or streetgirls paying there a visit to a group of sailors and stokers... - a situation - even in the crazy Twenties not frequent enough, as it seems, to justify the production of posters displaying it ...
Nevertheless, in Warsaw in 1930 the song immediately became a hit and is sung by the popular Polish artists even today (see in You Tube the Violetta Villas & Kazik's version
I also recommend the rare and really outstanding, privately recorded and post mortem published in YT, Stanisław Staszewski's solo by the guitar
A disrupted way - Albert Harris, 1939
Albert Harris (1911 Warsaw - 1976 USA)
Singer and lyricist. Exquisite interpreter of popular songs in late 30s. He brought into a Polish school of singing of thirties an air of modernness. His way of emission and a delicate style did not have anything in common with a traditional operetta or a vaudeville; it was rather a good example of world-wide tendencies in a new style of singing in those times. After some recording trials in minor studios, he was engaged in 1936 on exclusive terms by Warsaw Odeon where under the musical direction of Jerzy Gert, was recording his beautifully interpreted songs until the outbreak of the WW 2nd . Since early forties he had been active as an artist on the USSR side (recordings in Lvov 1940 !) where, in 1944, wrote a hit of his life - A Song about My Warsaw, the number which was moving Polish listeners at that time to tears. After the war, he sang again in Poland, although did not make any more recordings. Shortly afterwards escaped to the West (Sweden, Venezuela).
Recording of the song known in France as VOUS, QUI PASSEZ SANS ME VOIR and in Germany as DU, DU GEHST AN MIR VORBEI made at Warsaw Odeon studio within the last days of freedom -- Summer 1939.
Odeon N 45026 (re-edition 1945)
Matr. Wo 2553
Adam Aston - Tango Bakszysz, 1937
Adam Aston (J.Kierski) & Ork. Syrena-Rekord - Bakszysz (The Baksheesh) Tango (Ted-Rey-Solec) Syrena-Electro 1937 (Polish)
NOTE: This tango is an advertising song written for the Herbewo company in Krakow, which in the 1930s produced the plug-wraps and non-nicotine cigarettes Morwitan (made from the mulberry leaves). Huge promotional campaign assisting the relrease of this product resulted in series of the fabulous advertising songs, sung by best entertainers (Mieczysław Fogg, Adam Aston, Albert Harris and others) and recorded by Syrena-Electro and Odeon. See Morwitan Fox Trot and outstanding Tango Nikotyna both sung by Albert Harris. The catchy tunes and appealing humorous lyrics prove, they must have been written by the best authors, most of them however hiding under the nicks. (In 1930s in Poland the overt participation in purely commercial ventures, was for the most of top artists still something a bit embarrassing).
Text of this fun song speaks of the old times, when a Tatar khan carries for his sultan the booty from his raids to “Lekhistan” (- once in Oriental countries, so was called Poland). Yet, among stolen goods, jewels and beautiful captive girls, the most precious gift is one hundred plug-wrapped Morwitans. If you want bliss, smoke Morwitan – urges Adam Aston, hidden under a pseudonym J.Kierski. The sultan listened to him and was delighted. And ofcourse, ever since he smoked nothing other than Morwitan.
This song ends this year’s Mediterranean holidays for me. Last several days I spent in a beautiful and underrated by tourists state of Lebanon. It is a country of wonderful views and peaceful, friendly people: a half and half Muslims and Christians (Maronites). Their harmonious coexistence can be a model for other, less fortunate countries. The presence of the figures of Jesus and Our Lady on every second streetcorner is something common and entitrely normal for the Lebanese people, regardless of their religion. So are the rosaries, dangling by the back-mirrors inside the public cabs. In the small and big towns - Beirut, Byblos, Tyre - next to great mosques stand no less imposaing Catholic temples (the Maronites belong to the Roman Catholic Church) and such mingle does not bother anyone, as the alleged insult to the feelings of other religions. Just next to Labanon burns Syria, under the American-European bombing attack - which to my deepest regret, awfully violates the UN Charter – while little Lebanon so far abides in peace and prays for peace. If peace in Lebanon would be destroyed, it won’t be accordingly to Lebanese people’s will, but if and only if it’s caused by intrusion from outside. I wish the brave country to persevere in their faith and hope for peace. May it be fulfilled!
This song is my post-holiday gift for them. Unfortunately, I do not have in my collection any Lebanese song, so let this Polish tango Orientale be a substitute for it.