NEW YORK—It isn’t every day that you learn about another form of a musical style you’ve been playing for twenty years. But Evan Orman, one third of the musical trio Ensemble Extasis, had just that experience earlier this year.

“I knew there were Finnish tangos,” Orman said. “I knew there were Japanese tangos. I had no idea there were Ukrainian tangos, until recently, until we had to arrange some for this concert.”

Yes, you read that right. Ukrainian tangos.

Last Saturday night, Feb. 4, Orman and his partners, Claude Sim and Michael Tilley, played a concert of Argentine and Ukrainian tangos at the Ukrainian Institute of America’s uptown headquarters. The concert is the latest entry in the Institute’s “Music at the Institute” series, directed by Solomiya Ivakhiv.

Not Your Usual Tango

Produced by Kyle Walker and Stephanie Sugars

Well over a hundred people turned out to hear Ensemble Extasis—many more than had been expected. An hour before the concert began, only the north room of the second floor was prepared for guests. Forty-five minutes later Institute staff were pulling out extra tables and chairs, filling the second floor landing. By show time, it was hard to move through the sea of spectators, some conversing in Ukrainian, others in English.

The instantly recognizable flavor of tango seemed strangely at home in the Ukrainian Institute’s 79th Street mansion. Now decorated throughout with modern art, the mansion was the pre-Depression home of Henry Sinclair, the founder of Sinclair Oil. (That’s according to the New York City history blog Daytonian in Manhattan.)

The next concert for “Music at the Institute” will take place on February 25 at 7:30 PM at 2 East 79th Street.

Featured photo: Claude Sim, Michael Tilley and Evan Orman at the Ukrainian Institute. Photo by Stephanie Sugars / New York Transatlantic

Posted by Kyle Walker

Kyle is a physicist-turned-scribbler educated in Tulsa, Vienna and New York. Raised in the desert wilds of New Mexico, Kyle is not a cowboy—though he has been on a horse two or three times. Kyle’s writing has appeared in the Bigheart Times, This Land Magazine, and Inverse.com. Kyle is the founding editor of the New York Transatlantic

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