On the Yiddish Song of the Week blog, Forverts associate editor Itzik Gottesman writes about “A Sikele, a Kleyne,” as sung by his mother, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman:
“A sikele, a kleyne ” is based on a popular poem by Avrom Reisen called “In suke.‟ I know of at least three recordings: Louis Danto’s “Masters of the Jewish Art Song”; “Yiddish Classics” (a.k.a. “Heymishe Yidishe Klangen” volume one, 1991); and the version on the recent CD “Tsuker Zis” by Lorin Sklamberg and Frank London. The Danto version is with a different melody by Joel Engel. The other two are similar to the one sung by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman (BSG) which she learned in her hometown of Chernovitz, Romania. Only Danto‘s version uses Reisin‘s original poem. The words differ in the other versions, verses were added, and the song was widely folklorized. In Shmuel Lehman‘s “Ganovim lider” (“Thieve‘s Songs”) he includes an underworld song sung to the same melody.