Toscano, Paul

Gypsy violinist and conductor

Paul Toscano is a gypsy violinist and conductor, known in France and Europe in the second half of the twentieth century.

We know relatively little about the artist, except that at the time, he is in great demand for the animation of Jewish weddings.
At the end of the Second World War, while gypsy music is still very present in Parisian cabarets, Toscano is one of the pillars, alongside other musicians such as Yoska Nemeth or Mirko Layosh. Among the cabarets that Paul Toscano goes to, there is the Dianarzade between 1951 and 1952, and the Rasputin, of which he directs the gypsy orchestra.

The phonographs are still in their beginning, and there are few recorded testimonials of his music. However, we note the recording of some titles under the label Elesdisc, in the late 40s label created by Leon Speiser in his Yiddish bookstore, 34 rue des Rosiers, Paris 4th arrondissement.
Cf. Re-release of the first CD box-set from the "Archives" collection - 6 CD of post-war Yiddish cabarets, edited by the EIJM’s editions

Order the 6 CD box-seton the EIJM’s online shop

By the end of the forties, he won the first prize for "genre music", a category rewarding works on the 78 RPM discs around the 1930s, and being performed by small, typical orchestras.

Moreover, Paul Toscano appears for the first time in the cinema, in 1947, in the film Quai des Orfèvres by Henri-Georges Clouzot. He will also play a role in André Berthomieu’s Scenes de ménage, in 1947, in Claude Berri’s Mazel Tov ou le Mariage, in 1968 and finally in Robert Hossein’s Le Caviar rouge, in 1986.

His career will also be marked by television broadcasts: for the ORTF in 1967, then in 1977 and until the 1980s.

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  • Tzigane toujours - Toscano (Coll. Archives)

  • Chanson du Negev - Toscano et ses Tziganes

  • Doina - Toscano (Coll. Archives)

  • Coutumes - Toscano et ses Tziganes

  • La Petite porte du jardin (Tziganowsky) - Toscano

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