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Daniel Dolski

“A man who entertains Kaunas”, a newspaper Diena described Daniel Dolski (1891–1931). Many people associate this talented artist with the whole interwar period in Lithuania. How was it possible that a Jew born in Vilnius and having spent only two years in Kaunas, in the beginning not even knowing Lithuanian language, could become a father of Lithuanian estrade music? Fabled singer debuted together with the celebrated Alexander Vertinsky, he was a favourite of St. Petersburg and Moscow audiences. After the Bolshevik overthrow, he moved to Riga, appeared with the orchestra of Oskar Srok, the ‘king of tango’. The singer came to Lithuania around 1929. To the provisional capital the newcomer from St. Petersburg and Berlin brought a splendid example of a musician’s image – was elegant and educated. He started singing in musical programmes in Versalis and Metropolis restaurants soon becoming famous. For his repertoire he often picked works that were popular at the time and having learned Lithuanian surprisingly quickly, assisted by poet Ričardas Mironas, wrote texts for them. Dolski was quick to grasp the nature of Lithuanian new generation. His witty monologues and parodies were apt to the issues of the day. He not only provided popular schlagers with the Lithuanian content, but also extolled the beauty of Lithuanian women. The artist was not endowed with a unique voice, but his diction was impeccable. Sometimes his singing transformed into expressive declamation – a master of compilation. Audience was mesmerized by his manner of narration, mimics, facial deformations and imagination. The artist left sixteen LP’s recorded for Homocord (Berlin) and Columbia (London), which enjoy popularity to this day.

Rūta Skudienė


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