Middle Village – In Song Music by Ljova


My greatful thanks to Alan Feinne who pointed me to this incredible find.

I must confess that the first time I watched this, I was kinda “ho-hum” about the song. The more I listened to it, however, the more mesmerized I was by it. Now, I feel like it is my song.

The lyrics were a little difficult for me to follow at first, so I’ve included them here for your convenience. There are some minor variations in Inna’s rendition but with the lyrics printed out, I was able to decipher every word.

If you haven’t watched or listened to it yet, just double click on the black triangle in the white button on the “screen.”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and again my sincere thanks to Alan.

Spencer Wulwick – Mar 13, 2007

I’m very happy to say that I was able to obtain the lyrics from LJova himself.

I thought you might enjoy the e-mail he sent me so, first, here it is (followed by the lyrics). By the way I printed them out and followed them while watching the video.

(I did notice some slight “variations in Inna’s presentation, but I was able to decipher each and every word).



Dear Spencer,

Thank you so much for your kind note!

I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the song, and of course would encourage you to embed it in the pages of the Middle Village Love Connection (wish I knew of it before I got engaged!)  :).


The song is one of my personal favorites, and was singled out by Newsday’s Justin Davidson in his review of our performance!

“Middle Village” is also most-likely going to make an appearance in a major movie – details soon (knock on wood!).

However, you should be warned of a few misconceptions — probably an error on my part.

1) Inna Barmash is the wonderful vocalist (and my fiancee), but is not the author of the song. She was born in Vilnius, Lithuania.

2) I (Ljova) wrote the music, while on a bus in Middle Village, and the lyrics were written in Budapest (Hungary) by the California-bred Sarah Gancher.

Inna and I can be reached at: barmaljova@ljova.com

I’m attaching the lyrics with this email.



Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin
Please visit my website ==> http://Ljova.com
Ljova on MySpace ==> http://myspace.com/Ljova

Music by Ljova
Lyrics by Sarah Gancher
©2006 Ljova Music (ASCAP) /

When the full moon shi-i-i-ines
I know that there’s not much time
if you really care

Sneaking through shaa-aa-dow streets
Breaking heart and two cold feet
Will you meet me there

Are you there now
In the shadows
Should I leave him
If you,
If you really care

Snow is cold here
In the shadows
Will he find out
Do I,
Do I really care

Middle Village sleeps, dre-ee-eaming
loves they sold for wedding rings
When I see you there

Waiting in an oo-ooo-pen
Door-Is this what I came here
for It looks warm in there

You look warm there
In the shadows
Am I sleeping
Am I
Am I really here

Alone with you
In the shadows
Will I kiss you
Do you
Do you really care

It is warm here
In the shadows I..
You feel warm here
Oh I hope you care

Middle Village
Keep on sleeping
Oh I’m dreaming
You will kiss me
And I’ll kiss you again …. Oh

Drunk with kisses, wi-ii-ii-ine
Even in the dark you shine
Oh it’s light out there

Su-un lights new sno-o-o-ow
I should have left long ago
I know I don’t care

Let them whisper
In the shadows
Let him find me
I don’t
I don’t really care

I am warm here
In the sunlight
My love’s shining
And I’m
Oh I’m light as air

Middle Village
The sun’s risen now
Middle Village
Wake up from your dreams

Middle Village
I’m not sleeping
I’m not dreaming
The sun is singing
And I’m shining with love

Spencer Wulwick – Mar 15, 2007

Just in case you might be interested, here’s an e-mail I received from Sarah Gancher.

Hi Spencer,

Inna and Ljova forwarded me your email about Middle Village. I’m so happy that you like the song so much! I’m sorry to say that, although I’m also a New Yorker (Brooklyn), the actual neighborhood of Middle Village was not an inspiration for the lyrics.

My involvement with the song began over thanksgiving dinner in Budapest. Inna told me that she wanted to be able to sing Middle Village, and had tried to write lyrics for the melody several times, but had never hit on words she was really excited about. I worked at the Metropolitan Opera for five years and have always wanted to write lyrics, so I decided to give it a shot.

Ljova told me that the melody was inspired by a Romanian gypsy singer, and since we were all in Eastern Europe together, I imagined Middle Village as a tiny peasant village in winter, somewhere in Romania or Ukraine. The music is tentative, there are many phrases that repeat,that break off while leaving something unsaid–so the singer must be unsure, maybe frightened. Then there’s a beautiful resolution in the middle of the song, a crescendo after which the melody gains confidence (“and I’ll kiss you again…drunk with kisses”). So it’s a story about a person who finds what they are looking for.

I knew the singer would be Inna, so I thought about other songs I love to hear her sing–old klezmer songs, from a time before people went home together on the first date, from a time when the community and marriage were taken very seriously. They are innocent songs, with a sturdy morality but also sense that to find love, people need to risk, to travel outside their normal boundaries. The music suggested certain images to me (who knows why): snow, moon, night, warmth, shadows. So slowly I began to imagine a woman sneaking though the shadowed streets of her small village at night, on her way to meet a man she knows she shouldn’t see. And the lyrics proceeded from there.

I hope that helps! I love that you have been imagining the actual neighborhood of Middle Village while listening to the song. One of the most beautiful aspects of writing lyrics is that the audience can create their own images, their own mental map of the world of the song. Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm about Inna and Ljova’s work.

Sarah Gancher

Spencer Wulwick – Mar 15, 2007

Now that I know at least one person is interested (lol), here’s another e-mail I received, this time from Inna. (I’ve already ordered the CD’s she suggested and requested overnight delivery. I can’t wait to get them).


Thank you so much for your kind words and opening us up to the Middle Village world… You know I’ll have some fun stories to tell next time I perform this song in concert…

Now to answer your questions – I believe Ljova was riding through Middle Village for a very unglamorous purpose of playing a wedding in Long Island (he can correct me). But I think something in the poetry of the streets and rhythm of the bus sparkled this memory in his mind, and sprung forth this lovely tune. At the time, I was about to go to Oxford for a course in media law (I’m a law student in my spare time), and I remember walking long hours around Oxford and London listening to this tune on my iPod, trying to come up with lyrics. But I guess England’s rhythm didn’t resonate with the song, and it wasn’t until we got to Eastern Europe and met Sarah, when the song finally found its lyrical home.

Now as for recordings, there are a few for your listening pleasure!

First, Ljova’s solo recording (on which an instrumental version of the song appears) – BUY at http://www.cdbaby.com/ljova

Second, Inna’s recording with the gypsy band Romashka – BUY at http://www.cdbaby.com/romashka

And a few mp3s you can listen to while you’re waiting for the CDs to arrive (these haven’t been released yet on any CD):

A remix of Inna’s singing “Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child” by a Hungarian DJ: http://ccmixter.org/media/files/minimal_art/9058

“Around the Fire” – music by Ljova, lyrics by his grandfather (a renowned translator of German poetry to Russian), Ljova playing all the parts, and Inna singing: http://www.realmusic.ru/play/file/hifi/34636/217537/barmaljova-nakostre_217537.mp3


— Inna

Harold Kohn – Mar 15, 2007

Dear Spencer,

I , too, thank Alan Feinne for this find. The music is beautiful. I’ve always been a fan of Klezmer and eastern music. The performance was great.

Please don’t forget to put the lyrics on the website.

Harry and Jane Kohn

P.S. Jane, who is not from Middle Village, (but then again, her father was from Budapest) loved it, too.

Michael Kuvet – Mar 21, 2007

Great tune and well done.

Good things.

Michael “Michnick” Kuvet

Spencer Wulwick – Jun 2, 2007

It was such a nice surprise to receive an e-mail from Inna.

“Hi Spencer,

We just performed “Middle Village” at BAM Cafe (at the Brooklyn Academy of Music), and I had the pleasure of telling the story of our virtual meeting, and sharing what you’ve told me about Middle Village, Queens.

Warm regards from NY,

….. and later, in response to my query about whether “Middle Village” (the song) will be in a movie, she wrote:

“The movie will be released in the Fall – it’s called “Youth without Youth” (directed by Francis Ford Coppola)…. keep your fingers crossed for Ljova!”


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