Some people like to think of Klezmer music as Jewish soul music with a
little bit of gypsy mixed in. Sandy has added a lot of fun and exciting new
twists to his own musical interpretation of it. Replacing the traditional
klezmer clarinet with his own soulful harmonica, is only the beginning.
Throw in the 5 string banjo, mandolin, cello, and a whole host of other
instruments played by some of the Midwests finest pickers, and you have
what is probably one of the most unique and eclectic Klezmer recordings
anywhere. You definitely dont have to be Jewish to thoroughly enjoy this
one (but it couldnt hurt).
Harmonica virtuoso Sandy Weltmans talents are diverse to say the least.
While at home in the jazz realm, he is equally skilled in blues, Celtic,
Klezmer, Latin and more. Sandy learned much of his harmonica styling
while under the tutelage of harmonica wizard Howard Flecktone Levy and
he gained international recognition in the World Harmonica Competitions.
Sandy has also won numerous awards and is equally skilled on the banjo,
the ukelele and a wide variety of percussion instruments. Sandy has
performed on dozens of albums nationally and has released four albums of
his own: Banjo Magic (1987), Escape Velocity with his band The
SanDROIDS (1996), New World Harmonica Jazz with The Carolbeth Trio
(1998) and The Klezmer Nuthouse (2002). He is also a member of Farshid
Etniko a world music group that has been called the Persian Grateful Dead.
Sandy has performed with: Howard Levy, Richard Hayman, Brewer &
Shipley, Bela Fleck, Bluegrass Alliance and others. Sandy has opened for:
Norman & Nancy Blake, Beau Soleil, Peter Ostrushko, Cassandra Wilson,
Trio Globo, Hot Rize, Leon Redbone, Victor Wooten, John Hartford and
About the Klezmer Nuthouse Project
SANDY WELTMAN has again stretched his musical boundaries with this
foray into Klezmer music. Klezmer music can be described as Jewish
Gypsy Jazz and originated in Eastern Europe. Long an integral part of
Jewish community celebrations, Klezmer (derived from the Hebrew
instruments of song) gained elements of Romanian, Russian and Gypsy
cultures to add to the uniqueness of its sound. He spent over 3 years
researching and recording this project, as he filtered the music through his
own unique consciousness. The use of the banjo and harmonica as lead
instruments results in a beautifully unique tapestry of music.
The Klezmer Nuthouse ranges from the traditional Mazel, where Sandy is
joined by the cello and violin, to the original Dancing Sheik To Sheik, with
Sandy playing ALL the instruments - including Middle Eastern percussion,
to the Bulgar Breakdown with help from bluegrass band The Lonesome
Pines. Also joining Sandy on the CD are some of St. Louis (and the
Midwests) premier musicians including: Carolbeth True (piano), Dave Black (guitar),Farshid Soltanshahi (guitar), Ali Soltanshahi (hand percussion), Beth Tuttle (vocals), Janis Rieman (cello), Michelle Difabio (violin)
Bill Murphy ( keyboard), Tom Murphy(mandolin), Mike Tiefenbrun (bass), and many others.
“Sandy Weltman, eccentric master of the banjo & harmonica, reinvents the
music of his ancient tribe.” -Roy Kasten
“Good as Sandy Weltman is, he stands out mostly because his instruments
are distinctive! ....The Klezmer Nuthouse should be good listening for klez
addicts and of interest to any acoustic music connoisseur”. -Columbia
“There have been lots of original approaches to Klezmer in recent decades,
and this is another worthy addition to the growing list of progressive
recordings in that genre”. -Dirty Linen -
“Weltman deserves Praise as a soloist; his harmonica playing leaps out into inventive melodic territory while expressing the emotions inherent in the song”. - St. Louis Post Dispatch
“Sandy Weltman is the most versatile harmonica player in St. Louis - bar
none”. - The Bluesletter
“Weltman stretches the limits of the instrument by following his mentor
Howard Levy as a pioneer of the basic 10-hole diatonic harmonica”.
The Riverfront Times