duoJalal fuses music and poetry

Kathryn Lockwood and Yousif Sheronick entertained over 50 attendees last Tuesday.

Kathryn Lockwood and Yousif Sheronick entertained over 50 attendees last Tuesday.

Meghan O'Sullivan

Photo courtesy of Lafayette College

Last Tuesday the William Arts Center reverberated with the unique and exotic sounds of an instrumental string and percussion duo. The audience comprised of over 50 students, members of faculty and citizens from Easton willing to brave the cold weather.

duoJalal features Kathryn Lockwood on viola and Yousif Sheronick on percussion. As a married couple, Lockwood and Sheronick’s chemistry was apparent onstage. Sheronick’s instruments ranged from cymbals and maracas to clay drums and Tibetan bowls. Their namesake and inspiration is derived from from thirteenth century Persian theologian and poet Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi, whose writings are world-renowned.

Prior to the performance of each song, the Associate of College Communications Stevie O. Daniels read the Rumi poem that inspired the piece, while accompanied by a single spotlight against a dark stage. Lockwood embodied her music by serenely swaying at times and in the next instant violently rocking as she played. Each song movement was full of emotions, ranging from the jaunty cheerfulness of an upbeat percussion rhythm to the uneasiness of half-formed, sharp notes on the viola.

Lockwood and Sheronick performed a new song commissioned by Lafayette in honor of former Lafayette trustee Alan Pesky and his wife Wendy. Evan Ziporyn composed this song, “Honey from Alast”, with inspiration from Rumi’s poetry. Ziporyn introduced the concert with a brief introduction of his new work. Ziporyn possesses a diverse musical background, collaborating with artists from South Africa to China. He was inspired by the way in which Rumi’s work has bridged borders between different cultures and generations, including Indian rhythmic dancing, Jazz improvisation, African cycles, Balkan meters, and Indonesian timbres. When composing “Honey from Alast” Ziporyn wanted to “find a common language” and to take all of the different aspects of world music and “weld these things into a singular language,” he said.

Alan and Wendy Pesky started the Artist-in-Residence program in 1986. Over the past twenty-eight years residents have included a variety of classical, jazz and world musicians. Sheronick participating in the Residency three years ago, has returned several times with different percussion groups. This concert was the third part of the Sound Alternatives Series.