Here you will see Sing with Me information for our past 2022-24 sessions, starting with SWM 126.

Sing with Me run from 20 March 2020 until 3 June 2021 regularly, from every day to twice a week, with online concerts with international musicians every fifth day, with up to 90 people turning up (one we even had a whole choir from Greece!) in the first months of the pandemic. By the end of the long 2020 - 2021 stretch we became a lovely group of people from USA, Brazil, Iceland, Canada, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and other corners of the world.  We sung folk songs (lyrical, drinking, dance, celebratory songs...), Art songs (The Russian Romance and Yiddish art songs) plus a bit of classics like Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.

Past Sing with Me sessions 2021, 90 - 125, can be viewed here
Here is a page with our 2020 sessions, 1 - 90.

Sing with Me 143, 1 May 2024. A Yiddish and a Russian song for MAY DAY.

Our Yiddish Song is composed by Mark Markovich Warshawsky (1840-1907), author and composer of many Yiddish song favourites. Born in Odessa, lived and worked in Kiev. He improvised couplets and sang them at various gatherings. Sholem Aleichem encouraged him to publish his songs and wrote the introduction to Warshawski's Yudishe Folkslider mit Notn ("Jewish Folksongs with Music," 1900). We will sing one of the most positive songs, an idealistic and simple Di Zun iz Oyfgegangen, which brings cheer, comfort and hope to us even in the times when the Sun is covered by the darkest clouds.Listen to the lovely version by Mike Burstyn:

The poem for our Russian song was written by Sergei Silych Sinegub (1851-1907) after a visit to one of the St. Petersburg weaving factories. Many factory workers were peasants and went to their farms in the spring, and returned to the city to work in the autumn. Sologub was a member of the “Tchaikovsky” circle and the preparation of “Going to the People” (started in 1874), and conducted propaganda among weaver workers. Arrested in 1873, spent four years in pre-trial detention in St. Petersburg, then went through the “trial of 193” (participants in “Going to the People”) and was sentenced to 9 years of hard labour and lifelong exile in Siberia. His poem was set to music and became popular with several versions of the melody, with rhythms from a waltz to a march.

Listen to a version of Duma Tkacha (Weaver's Reflection) by Georgy Abramov:

Song sheets:Di Zun iz Oyfgegangen Warshavsky Duma Tkacha Weaver'sSong

Sing with Me -142 - 14 February 2024. Yiddish, Russian, and Tatar LOVE SONGs. 

YIDDISH AND RUSSIAN TANGO Harts Mayns / "Сердце". This session's song was written for the 1934 Soviet film musical Jolly Fellows. The first singer of the song was Leonid Utyosov, real name Lazar Iosifovich Vaysbeyn. Utyosov is known for setting up one of the first Soviet Jazz bands, also singing in Yiddish and bringing Yiddish music elements into Soviet pop culture. In 1935, Pyotr Leshchenko, "the King of Russian Tango”, took the song in Argentine tango fashion. Although music by Leshchenko was officially disliked in the Soviet Union, his version became most adored by the people. We will sing the original song as well as a lovely translation into Yiddish by S. Zinger. 

Listen to the original Leonid Utyosov's version:

TATAR SONG Galiabanu. This Tatar folk song has a long history, starting in Durt-Kul village, Orsk Region, pre-1916. A famous playwright Mirkhaidar Faizi heard a beautiful lyrical song that grew into a theatre play. This drama was first presented in Orenburg in 1917. It has been part of the classic repertoire in Tatarstan and Bashkortostan all through the century.
The song is called Galiabanu, and Galia means "great" or "dear". It is central to the theatre play but it has also become popular on its own, still most loved by Tatars. In the play her sweetheart is murdered by a competitor and she is left devastated, but the song is not as dark. Let's sing about Galiabanu and Halil's tender love for each other.

Listen to the classic recording from mid XX century, by Emmalgelem Nurmehhemmet-kyzy Seleimanova:

Watch this fragment from a play Galiabanu in Ufa, Bashkortostan, 2021; actors: Fidan Gafarov and Nuriya Irsaeva.

Song sheets: Harts mayns, Serdtse Kak mnoga devushek, Tatar Galiabanu


Sing with Me -141. Wednesday 17 January 2024 .A Yiddish and a Russian song
Here comes a fun Yiddish song Me Git a Bisl, Me Nemt a Bisl - You give a little, you take a little.
"This music is adapted from the 1937 soundtrack (or 1939) of New York- based feature Der lebediker yosem (The Lively Orphan) ... The uncredited piece was sung in the film by 2nd Avenue theatre actor Jacob Zanger. He used Litvish (Lithuanian Yiddish) “sabesdike losn” dialect pronunciation for his comic/ earnest movie character... His onscreen listener for this number was a young streetwise nephew, played by child stage star Jerold Rosenberg ... The uncle’s words reflect left-wing idealism, a utopian message close to the Marxist credo: From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. ... This ironic spin also highlights the uncle’s personality: He’s a slacker who uses lofty opposition to capitalism as his defence against taking an actual job, so his wife’s pay check supports them both..." - from the liner notes of The Isle of Klezbos & Friends' new album "Yiddish Silver Screen" on Bandcamp. Read more and buy the CD here. Many thanks to Eve Sicular for the materials. Watch the band's video featuring Mikhl Yashinsky here.
It's winter here so the Russian song "Vdol' po ulitse metelitsa met'ot" (Metelitsa / Snowstorm) for the session is about a snowstorm... and love.

Poet Dmitry Glebov (1789 - 1843) came from an old noble family but his poetry, in line with the fashion of his time was strongly influenced by folklore. It's said, that Glebov himself used an original folk poem to write his version of "Snowstorm" (1817). We'll look at that one too!

A few years later it attracted an established composer singer, teacher, conductor Alexander Varlamov (1801 - 1848). This wonderful musician is considered one of the founders of the genre of the Russian art song, the so-called Romance. Interestingly, Varlamov changed Glebov's text almost completely, still crediting him as the lyricist. The known lyrics is as far from the poem as Glebov was from the folk original. With all that copyright confusion and creativity, "Snowstorm" (1848) has become a true "people's song" about passion and love in the midst of winter.

Listen to these very different classic recordings: Sergey Zharov's Cossack-of-Don Choir:

Song sheets for this session: Men Git a Bisl Men Nemt a Bisl - Score, Vdol po ulitse metelitsa, here is the Varlamov version of Metelitsa with simple piano accompaniment: Vdol po ulitse metelitsa Varlamov full score, here is the folk version from Ivan Pratch's publication in 1790: Vdol po ulitse original 1790 И.Прач.1790


Sing with Me 140 - a Yiddish and a Russian song. 6 December 2023

Yiddish song: "Who will sow peace in the baked-in earth? Who will forge plowshares from the hero's sword?......Every sundown, still far from the harvest song, Who, who will set out on the road of peace for home?" . This is a fragment from Josh Waletzky's lyrics to a folk melody which you can see us play here. instrumentally (Dobranoch, see on our line below). Important questions, perfect answers... 

Russian song: This song is probably the most popular Russian song after Kalinka and Dark Eyes in the West but with a different melody. There is a lot of confusion about this song. The poet, otherwise little known S.Stromilov, published this pseudo-folk text in the 1830-40s and it became an instant hit. Often, the very well melody is attributed to A. Varlamov, often called the father of the Russian Art Song ("Romance"). Indeed, he published his setting to this poem in the 1840s. However, the melody everyone knows is not his! Let's explore how his tune is different to the well known To ne Veter Vetku Klonit and fill our hearts with beauty.

Song sheets for this session: Who Ver Waletsky, To ne veter vetku Varlamov melody, To ne veter folk


Sing with Me 139 reunion, October 2023.

A Multi-lingual song, Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian and more...

Some of you know this tune as a Yiddish song Geyt a Yold in Kapelush, I knew it as a Russian folk song with many lyrics versions but it's most known to SWM people (I guess) as the Russian Two-Step dance aka Karapet. I've recently performed this song with an international youth orchestra and together with my colleagues we did it in Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian and Ukrainian. It also exists in Ladino, Finnish and so many more languages... One of its names, Karapyet, or “black Pete”, is a common Armenian male name, but we don't know why that name is there! Maybe the dance attempted to be “in the Caucasian style”, it was invented in Russian ballrooms of the 19th century? It was definitely popular in Russian, Ukrainian and Ashkenazic Jewish communities in their homelands and among immigrants abroad who often kept the dance alive when it had been forgotten where it started. Let's sing it in Yiddish, Russian and Ukrainian. Here are a few versions to listen to, enjoy the differences!

1914 - Yuri Morfessi in Russian:

1943 - Two-Step Dance by Dm. Kornienko Ensemble:

Aaron Lebedeff (1873-1960) Tsizogn un Libe hobn:

Naurian Cossack Lezginka:

Here it is in Hebrew: Karapet מי יש לו ריבה כזאת

Song sheets: Karapet Kak tsvetok, Geyt a yold in kapelyush E. Chorny, Karapet Ukrainian 1 vs

Wednesday 21 December  2022. Sing with Me - 138. A Russian song and a Yiddish song.

Russian song "Late in the Evening from the Woods"
Praskovia Zhemchugova (1768-1803) was a leading soprano in the opera company created by Count Pyotr Sheremetev and his son, Nikolai. Praskovia and her peasant family (along with an estimated one million other serfs) were owned by the Sheremetevs, who were one of the richest noble families in Russia at the time. Praskovia was fluent in French and Italian, and an accomplished harpist. In the mid 1780s, a romance developed between her and Nikolai in flagrant violation of societal taboos. In 1798, he emancipated Proskovia, with freedom for her family and in 1801, he married her with the blessing of Emperor Alexander I.
Our Russian song is believed to have been composed by her and tells the story of their love. Will this Cinderella story make her happy?

Hear the women of  Tersk Region, Murmansk: Another version, 1911, N. Dulkevich, Sankt-Peterburg:

Here is a great voice and piano adaptation by Prigozhin, Sankt-Peterburg, 1911:

Yiddish song Jews Forge Songs (The Jewish Blacksmith)

Lyrics by Moishe Broderson (1890-1956). The music is often attributed to Dovid Beygelman (1887–1944) but the tune is known as a Russian Revolutionary song from 1905. The version we will sing is a less known variant from Emil Saculet's “Cintece populare evreiesti” (Bucharest, 1959) less known and has a remark "The syncopation like from a recitative... that is characteristic of this variant, gives this song a more folklore sound, that the other version". Listen to Yidn shmidn by Dan Rous accompanied by Zalmen Mlotek in 1999:

Song sheet: Shmidn Junge Lider

30 November. Sing with Me  137. A Russian song and a Yiddish song.

Galileo Galilei first observed the Moon on November 30, 1609, then produced this famous set of six watercolours of the Moon in its various phases "from life", as he observed it through a telescope. I wanted this session to be about songs about the Moon and discovered that most of them, both in Russian and in Yiddish, are about people's feelings painted through moonlit landscapes!

So how about this one?
"...Moon rises above the blue Danube and the blue waves sing songs. The free river expands its reflections to the majestic mountains. The silvery path of the Moon and the stars shine like a golden bonfire..."This is one of the most famous Romanian tunes in the world, Danube Waves - Dunaiskie Volny - "Дунайские Волны", was composed by Romanian composer of Serbian origin Iosif Ivanovici in 1880. Author of many popular waltzes, Emile Waldteufel made its orchestral arrangement in 1886 and presented it in Paris - and then it exploded! In 1946 Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin wrote the text The Anniversary Song and Saul arranged the music of Ivanovich, the song became very popular in the USA. In Romania there is now a version performed by a popular singer Karina Kiriyak. 

In Russia it was so popular that for a long time it was considered an old Russian waltz. Iosif Ivanovici came to Moscow and St. Petersburg in 1886 and was amazed how popular it was. It became a Russian song in the late 1940s when poet Samuil Bolotin wrote lyrics to it. At around the same time, in the USA in 1947, a Ukrainian born Yiddish actor and lyricist Chaim Tauber wrote Yiddish lyrics to it and it became Der Chasene Waltz ( Wedding Waltz ) - a popular piece to be performed at Jewish weddings.

Song sheets for today: Der Khasene Waltz, Der Chasene Waltz voice piano score - if you are curious to see the original, Dunaiskie Volny - Score in Russian.

Here is Chaim Tauber /Abe Ellstein version from 1947:

Here is a Russian version by a guitar enthusiast Oleg Shabatovsky:



Monday 19 September - Sing with Me 136, a Yiddish song and a Russian song

We dedicate this session not to kings and queens but to low-lifes. (The session happened on the evening of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral).

In this session's Yiddish song the character tells his girlfriend about his family, where the brother plays cards for a living, the mother steals fish in the market, the father drives prostitutes to clients and the sister is one of these he drives... This song has been around for over 100 years and was heard in Simferopol (Krim) in the beginning of the 1990s, apart from the West. There is also a klezmer version of this tune called Yikhes / Lineage.

Here is one of the classics: Aaron Lebedoff accompanied by the Louis Friedsell Orchestra, 1922, New York: Emerson Phonograph Co.

Have a listen to this instrumental version by the Belf Romanian Orchestra:


For our Russian song we will sing a song from the 1880s in which a prisoner sings about his sad destiny.  The origin of the song is sometimes associated with the play by Maxim Gorky "At the Bottom" (1902, the premiere took place in 1902 at the Moscow Art Theater), where three incomplete verses of the song are performed. However, N. D. Teleshov in his "Literary Memories" (Moscow, 1931) points out that Gorky's friend, poet Skitalets, sang the song "The Sun Rises and Sets" long before the play was first performed. Ivan Bunin, a famous Russian poet, mentioned that in its time the song "was sung by the whole of Russia".

Here is the famous version by the fantastic Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin

Here is a choral version by the Varshavsky Choir, 1906

Here is the first ever recording of this song, 1900 by Sirena Grand Records, soloist N.K. Bobrov

Song sheets: Solntse Vskhodit i Zakhodit - Score, Vos Bistu Ketsele Baroygez


Monday 29 August. Sing with Me 135. A Yiddish and a Tatar song.

For Yiddish song, we'll sing a poignant folk song Oyfn Ganikl / On the Balcony, also known as A Lid Fun A Feygele (as sung by Isa Kremer, for example). It was published in 1912 by the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Music; also by the Worker’s Circle Education Department in Mir Trogn a Gezang: The New Book of Yiddish Songs (1987). "I go out onto the balcony and look upon the city. A little bird flies over and delivers a message to me..." 

Here is Ruth Rubin singing it a cappella (1962):

Listen to this lovely recording by Irma Jausem, a Soviet mezzo-soprano who collected and performed songs from 50 different ethnic groups in USSR and recorded this Yiddish song amongst this huge collection.


For the first time in SWM I am going to bring us Tatar song. I grew up in Tatarstan hearing and studying this music and keep fond memories of singing them in my music college with Tatar college-mates. Our today's song Сарман буйларыннан, it's a lyrical song about a place called Sarman near the town where I used to live, about leaving one's hometown, love and separation. The song is beautiful and I'd love is to focus a little on the ornamentation in Tatar folklore. Have a listen:

Songs sheets for this session: Oyfn Ganikl, Tatar song Sarman Bujlarynda

Monday 18 July 2022  - Sing with Me 134, Yiddish and Ukrainian song.

Our Yiddish song will be something very new to me  - a Yiddish version of an Israeli song ‘Sakhki Sakhki’ (שחקי ,שחקי) based on a poem written by Tchernikovsky - he wrote it in Odessa in 1892. It was brought to me by a Brighton & Hove Yiddish culture activist (and choir member!) Roger Noble - thanks Roger! Apparently it was once considered for the national anthem of Israel because it was more inclusive than Hatikva... It's an important song with profound lyrics. For example, here is a powerful Hebrew version that was used as the backdrop to a political demonstration. I am sure some of you know the Hebrew version - tell us and sing it for us. Here are some lovely Hebrew versions - enjoy! (My personal favourite is Tova Firon, 1957!) Guess what!? The melody is very possibly of Russian origins - it's said to be a River Don song.

Our Ukrainian song today is also a well known song about love, care, passion, separation, living... Listen:

and a slightly different, older, version here: 

Sheet music for today: Oy U Vishnevogo Sadu, Ikh Gloyb - שחקי שחקי in Yiddish


28 February. SWM 133  - Yiddish songs and a Ukrainian song in Yiddish and Russian

This SWM was be a sing-along, with songs you already know. Please join us in "The Future", A Catalan Freedom song "The Yoke" in Yiddish, "Who will last? And what will last?" - lyrics by A. Sutskever, music by Zh. Lopatnik, a #Ukrainian folk song "There in the Woods" in Yiddish, translated by E. Chorny with his dedication to Band Shtrudl ex-Varnitshkes from Lemberg and an originally Chassidic song adapted by Adrienne Cooper and modified by A. Mlotek "Vayl ikh hob Koyekh" / 'Because I have Power" in Yiddish and Russian.

Song sheets: Der yokh , Di tsukunft , Dort in Veldl , Ver vet blaybn , Volt ikh - Yesli by 2 languages


21 February. Sing with Me 132. Russian songs

Not just one but two songs will be in focus in this session. Like in the Yiddish sessions, we will first sing a wordless melody - this time a Russian one. "Vocalise" is a song by Sergei Rachmaninoff, composed and published in 1915 as the last of his 14 Songs or 14 Romances, Op. 34. Written for high voice (soprano or tenor) with piano accompaniment, it has no words. It's a beautiful composition. We will just sing the very beginning of the song but please listen to the whole piece here sung by Renée Fleming:

We dedicated Sing with Me 86 (19.11.2020!) to Olga Vasilievna Kovaleva (1881 - 1962) and today we'll sing one more of her songs. She was born in the village of Lyubovka, Atkarsky district, Saratov province. Her repertoire included over two hundred folk songs, some recorded in Lyubovka, some from books, some "revised" folklore and some of her own. 

Hear another singer, Tatyana Blagosklonova with a version from 1960:

Here is Olga Kovaleva herself:

Song sheets: Rachmaninoff_Vocalise_in_G beginning, Oy tsviti kudr'avaya r'abina


Sing with Me 131 - Yiddish Song - 14 February

Today we sing a lovely little children's song about spring, Di Grezelekh Blien! Hurray to positivity. We will also revive a nign from a year ago, SWM 99 (15 February 2021), Nigun Shamil, which "reflects the Chassidic concept of the soul's descent into our physical world in order to purify the soul and bring the divine light into the day to day life."

Sheet music for today:Di grezelekh blien, nigun Shamil Chabad 302-600


7 February Sing with Me 130 - Yiddish Song

Moyshe Kulbak (1896, Smargon - 1937, Minsk) is one of my absolute favourite Yiddish poets. In 20 years of writing poetry first in Hebrew, then in Yiddish, he became one of the most expressive Yiddish voices ever. His very first published poem, Shterndl, (Little Star, 1916) immediately became a folk song. From his idyllic and lyrical early poems to later elements of Jewish mysticism, folklore motifs and grotesque expressionism, Kulbak's poems are full of music. He was also a charismatic teacher. According to one of his students, looking at a model skeleton left for anatomy classes, he exclaimed: "What is a human? A bunch of fragile bones. And yet, a human dreams, sings, creates... Yes, they are mortal, but there are the sounds of music and there is wonder at knowledge, and eternal questions: who are you and what are you?.."

Today's song has depth, pain and poignancy and exposes the dualistic nature of Kulbak's journey through life. Song sheet for this session: Tsvey


Sing with Me 129 - 24 January - Yiddish song.

I will teach this session from Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia, 1000 km East of Moscow, apologies for the video as I used my laptop webcam. Also I will use my parent's piano. Today we sing a stunning Yiddish lullaby with a bit of Ukrainian Jewish history told through this song. I never heard it sung and I have never come across this tune. My father will give us a little interview sharing stories about Petlura and Ukrainian pogroms that his mother told him. This is to give some context to the lullaby we will be singing. Let's explore. Sheet music for today: Oyf-tsu-shtifn-hostu-dokh

Sing With Me 128 - Monday 17 January. Yiddish song

I found a children's song that says "We have lived nearly a year with a broken roof", singing about the rain coming through the ceiling and the family dealing  - but mostly not dealing with it. To me it's an allegory of our world, but the roof has been broken for much longer. 

The authour of the lyrics is a Hebrew and Yiddish folk poet, children’s writer and folklorist Zalmen Rozental (1892 - 1959) from Telenesht, Bessarabia. He researched folklore, collected some 300 Yiddish folksongs and wrote his own. Some of them now exist as anonymous folksongs, like Bay dem Shtetl Shteyt a Shtibl, which a lot of us know, or today's song.

The composer is Leib Glantz (1898 - 1964), a Ukrainian-born cantor, composer, musicologist, writer, educator and zionist leader. Emigrated to the West in 1926 and recorded cantorial repertoire (beautifully!). Interestingly, he created a serious debate in the Convention of the Cantors Assembly in 1952, where he presented his new analysis of the ancient Jewish prayer modes. Glantz theorised that many centuries ago the Jewish people transformed certain Greek scales and modes in the process creating original Jewish combinations.
Now, back to our song: watch a famous Yiddish song composer Leibu Levin talk about and sing a version of our song here (in Yiddish).  He didn't know the authors!

Song sheet: S'iz tsebrokhn undzer dekhl

10 January, Yiddish song, session 127.

Today we sing about love again. Hayim Nahman Bialik  (1873 – 1934) is mostly known as a pioneer of modern Hebrew poetry. He was born in Ukraine, lived in LithHis poem Yesh Li Gan (I Have A Garden) has become a popular Israeli song: hear this sung by Ofra Haza, also this version with an old Egyptian melody. The Yiddish translation of this poem has been set to music a few times too. With this folk tune and in Yiddish, this is a completely different song. Song sheet for today: In mayn gortn

Listen to this a cappella version by Yana Ovrutskaya (Kazan, 2001):


3 January - Sing with Me 126. Yiddish song

Today's song is quite a symbol for Sing with Me. We finished SWM sessions on 3 December 2020 (!) SWM 90 with a Russian song with almost the same melody (watch session video here). I used to play it lots in my youth accompanying parties and celebrations and had no idea that the song was old. Its history goes back to the beginning of the 1900s. One of the earliest publications of the Russian version of it appears in a song book in 1909 marked as a Russian folk song. The tune is also known from the signature song in Sholom Secunda’s. His 1927 musical production billed back in 1927 as a “Groyse Yiddish operetta” had a song with a completely different text in Yiddish. Secunda was born in 1894 in Aleksandria, Kherson Governorate part of the Russian Empire and was 13 when the family emigrated to the USA.

The authour of this melody is therefore remains unknown. We are going to sing it with yet another Yiddish text - singing about travelling, playing and singing. Song sheet for today: Mir geyen un vandern - Score

Listen to Mara Rozenthal singing one of the Russian versions of this tune, "Bells of Moscow: Tango" in 1942:

Here is the known Yiddish song sung by Simon Spiro ...

Here is our version, unknown with a completely different text:



Related Images: