Sandra Layman | Little Blackbird: Klezmer, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, And Hungarian Violin Music

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World: Klezmer World: World Traditions Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Little Blackbird: Klezmer, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, And Hungarian Violin Music

by Sandra Layman

74 minutes of poignant, rousing, seductive traditional klezmer, Romanian gypsy, Greek, Turkish, and Hungarian solo fiddling, in exciting performances with cimbalom and tsimbl/sandouri (hammered dulcimers), guitar, bouzouki, piano, clarinet, and more.
Genre: World: Klezmer
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Aryitiko kalamatiano (Dance from Argos)
2:42 album only
2. Taxim (slow klezmer tune and dance)
3:07 album only
3. Mierlita cand e bolnava (Little Blackbird)
2:24 album only
4. Hora lui Buica (Buica's hora)
2:02 album only
5. Khsidishe nigunim (Hasidic melodies) - part A
2:19 album only
6. Khsidishe nigunim - part B
1:07 album only
7. Khsidishe nigunim - part C
1:31 album only
8. Khsidishe nigunim - part D
1:40 album only
9. Munte, munte, brad frumos (Mountain, Mountain, Beautiful Fir)
1:07 album only
10. Garsona (The Waitress)
2:49 album only
11. Aptaliko zeibekiko (Aptal dance)
2:50 album only
12. Cine-a pus carciuma-n drum (Whoever Put the Tavern on the Road)
1:54 album only
13. Striga Iancu de la munte (Iancu calls from the Mountain)
4:03 album only
14. Hora (Romanian hora in C major)
1:42 album only
15. National Hora: zhok
2:02 album only
16. National Hora: freylekhs
2:03 album only
17. Shver un shviger tants (Father-in-law and Mother-in-law Dance)
3:10 album only
18. Sarga kutya (Yellow Dog)
2:46 album only
19. Csak egy a kislany van a vilagon
1:43 album only
20. Nagy a feje, busuljon a lo
1:49 album only
21. Dhiplokhordho tsifteteli (double-string chifte-telli)
2:26 album only
22. Kyriakos Halkias's karsilamas
1:31 album only
23. Iskender bogazi (karsilama)
1:54 album only
24. Melemeniko zeibekiko (Perghamos)
3:25 album only
25. Doina de pe Mures
1:50 album only
26. Lustike khsidim (Happy Hasidim)
1:51 album only
27. Terkisher (klezmer dance)
1:58 album only
28. A dreydele far ale (A Dreydl for All)
1:20 album only
29. Doyne fun Rumenye (Romanian-Jewish doina)
2:54 album only
30. Mazltov
1:55 album only
31. Kolomeyke
0:39 album only
32. Hora ca din caval (Hora imitating the shepherd's flute)
1:44 album only
33. Geamparalele din Barlad (Dance in 7 from Barlad)
2:15 album only
34. Mama, care ne-ai facut (Mother Who Gave us Life)
1:29 album only
35. Jocul miresei pa critari din Satchinez (Bride's Dance)
1:42 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
LITTLE BLACKBIRD features 74 minutes of exciting traditional fiddling by Sandra Layman. The 35 tracks range from Balkan dances in jagged rhythms, to poignant Jewish and Romanian doinas, to rarely-heard klezmer and Asia-Minor Greek dances, to Romanian and Hungarian Gypsy medleys, and more.


"Fans of Klezmer, Greek, Romanian and Eastern European music in general will find Sandra Layman's LITTLE BLACKBIRD unique...If it's a representative, accessible Eastern European folk violin compilation you seek, make it LITTLE BLACKBIRD."
-, November 2004

"...beautiful music played by a wonderful musician."
- Stacy Phillips, Fiddler Magazine, Summer 2002 issue

"It is exhilarating to discover an artist and music that unexpectedly captivate you... extraordinary... Layman's playing and her music are riveting and moving."
- Allen Price, Victory Music Review, June 2002 issue

"This may be the best violin playing of the year... Layman ranges all across former ottoman territory with Greek, Balkan, klezmer, Turkish music, all performed with dexterity and verve and beauty.
- Ari Davidow, "The Top Recordings of 2001"

"a stunning, amazing, virtuosic weave of astounding music... I will run out of superlatives long before your ears will tire of the music."
- Ari Davidow, Dec. 25, 2001
(Archived at:

"very exciting live material. An interesting balance of klezmer and other Mediterranean and Balkan musics... a splendid recording by a fine musician."
5 stars (=highest rating)
- George Robinson, The Jewish Week (New York City), March 1, 2002

"Challenging rhythms, slippery chord changes and furiously accurate fiddle playing... wonderful performers... This all-instrumental collection is a winner."
- Gigi Yellen-Kohn, The Jewish Transcript (Seattle), January 11, 2002

"skillful and intricate performances... Where Layman's playing really excels is in communicating an infectious enthusiasm for the music... an all-around great album... Little Blackbird is worth returning to again and again."
- Eric Eller, Green Man Review, April 5, 2002

"Layman's a fiddler who seems part cricket: Her fingers can create a plaintive, sonorous nocturnal wail or leap about the strings like they were blades of sunbrowned grass."
- John Graham, Willamette Week, Portland, Oregon, May 29-June 4, 2002, issue

"a hauntingly sweet live-concert anthology of klezmer, Anatolian, Hungarian, and Romanian virtuoso showpieces."
- Lev Liberman, January 2002

"The album is gorgeous; Sandra Layman is an artist of the highest rank. What sweet tones, what mastery of style and nuance! This disc is destined to be a classic."
- Lev Liberman (co-founder of The Klezmorim), Dec. 24, 2001 (via e-mail)

"A brilliant violinist from Seattle, Sandra has a particular gift for Greek, Romanian, and Yiddish klezmer music. Her ornamentation sings, and her tone, insinuating and lush, seduces you."
- Stu Brotman

"Extraordinarily nuanced and subtle"
- Jody Stecher

"Absolutely wonderful... really inspiring"
- Joshua Horowitz



Appearing with Sandra Layman on LITTLE BLACKBIRD are:

* HANK BRADLEY: guitar, bouzouki, and violin
* ALEXANDER EPPLER: cimbalom (large hammered dulcimer played typically by Romanian and Hungarian Rom [Gypsy] musicians)
* LISA ROSE, tsimbl/sandouri [santouri] (hammered dulcimer, klezmer and Greek respectively)
* JOEL RUBIN, clarinet
* SUE THOMPSON, guitar
* THE MAZEL TOV KLEZMER BAND (Seattle's first klezmer band, 1980-82: Sandra Layman, violin; Meg Glaser, clarinet; Carey Bluhm, trumpet; David Adlhoch, piano; Rabbi Jim Mirel, bass)


Sandra's specialties include klezmer (Yiddish instrumental) music, southern Romanian "muzica lautareasca" (Gypsy music), and Greek music, as well as classical violin and viola.

She was awarded Fulbright and IREX fellowships for music study and research in Romania.

Recent collaborations include klezmer music with clarinetist-vocalist Yankl Falk (also of Di Naye Kapelye) and Lev Liberman (co-founder of The Klezmorim), and with accordionist Laurie Andres, and a variety of Balkan and klezmer music and original compositions with Cafe Dunav (Cathie Whitesides, Hank Bradley, Lori Goldston, and Kyle Hanson) and others. She has played Romanian Gypsy music and related violin-cimbalom repertoire in the Layman-Eppler Duo (with Alexander Eppler).

Sandra Layman teaches violin and viola privately (in Seattle, Washington) and is available for workshops and festivals.

There's more information about Sandra and LITTLE BLACKBIRD at: .



to write a review


Excellent, as original as possible
This is an excellent CD for the traditional east folklore lovers, and how it survived, evolved and arrived to us. The artist kept as much as possible the original versions and that is much appreciated since today many are trying to impress through their improvisations and most of them fails to give the joy the purpose of such old songs are made for. This is indeed a very enjoyable CD and if you have the occasion to listen the artist live don't miss the opportunity.

Scott P.

Essential for every fiddler's collection
Every fiddler should have Little Blackbird. If you are in a rut with Bluegrass, Texas-style, Cape Breton, or Celtic fiddling, here's your chance to explore a broad sweep of "exotic" East and South European fddling traditions. This one CD answers the "what else is out there" question that's been nagging you.


wonderful! perfect listening alternative to the usual classical violin
Wonderful! This is a perfect listening alternative to the usual classical violin, which my daughter loves but doesn't relate to as well.

Wiktor Wieseltier

romanian music - little bird
I like very much romanian music (balkan, jewish too)


Beautifully haunting
This is a wonderful album for anyone who loves Eastern European music. Sandra is an amazing fiddler who has assembled a stellar array of other musicians to play along with her on these tracks. Not an album I will easily tire of! It's also a great value, since it's essentially a double album for regular price.

Lorchid Loughran

captivating. It's exactly what I've been looking for in this genre

Ari Davidow

amazing violin, outstanding album
Way back in the early days of the klezmer revival, Layman played brilliant violin with the first klezmer band in the area: the Mazel Tov Klezmer Band, and a wild, wonderful variety of Romanian, Balkan, Greek, Turkish and related music before heading off with some grants to study in Romania, where she stayed for many years. Now, she has gone through a wealth of incredible live recordings from that period, 1982-1985 and put together a stunning, amazing, virtuosic weave of astounding music, now available as "Little Blackbird". I will run out of superlatives long before your ears will tire of the music. Trust me. Klezmer collectors will find the collaborations with Joel Rubin and Lisa Rose, or the amazing early work of Alex Eppler, of special interest, but mostly this album is for music listeners--those of us who love exquisitely-played klezmer not only because it sounds great, but because we love the whole panoply of Eastern/Central European sounds represented on this album.

Paul Langman

Exceptional violin playing evoking feelings of other worlds
Captivating music played exquisitely. Transports one to other times and places. Full of energy of all kinds. A rainbow of emotions. Makes one want to be there with the audience. One of my treasured CDs.

Glenn L

Very Beautiful Music
This is music really in my blood so its hard to objective (my grandparents emmingrated from Satchinez, Romania in the 1929--see tracks 34 and 35)

Just a wonderful representation of a rich tradition.

Please make more music, Sandra Layman