Arabian Nights and a Babysitter

I stepped into the room and was immediately mesmerized by the seductive sway of Middle Eastern rhythms, exotic percussion instruments capable of imitating the sound of birds wings flying away, and warm earthy tones of goblet drums.

It was then that I decided to produce Arabian Nights.

This was at a presentation by duoJalal at the New York Chamber Music Conference last January.  duoJalal’s name is inspired by the poet Jalal Rumi, whose writings teach people of all religions and backgrounds to live in peace and harmony.  This duo is a husband and wife team of truly international nature.  Yousif Sheronick is a percussionist of Lebanese descent and Kathryn Lockwood is a violist is from Australia.  They are coming to perform in San Antonio, with their 18 month old little girl.  Among their booking requirements are a trustworthy babysitter, car seat and hotel with a baby crib.

At the same conference I discovered another treasure, a duo of a totally different nature, two beautiful classical divas, Chicago cellist Wendy Warner and Russian pianist, Irina Nuzova.  I decided to invite both of these duos to perform at the same concert.  Naturally, violin completes the happy marriage of viola, cello, piano and percussion, so I have asked my brother Mark Cheiket to join this fabulous group of musicians for this one of a kind concert.

Arabian Nights is a collection of very colorful Middle Eastern and South Asian stories. I want to keep the flavor of this book by presenting short pieces of different styles and origins.  I began looking for a musical piece where all of these instruments could unite in Eastern rhythms, only to find that one doesn’t exist!  So, with my usual indefatigable determination, I decided we must create one.

I found fantastic San Antonio composer Jack Stamps, who was truly excited and inspired by the idea of writing a piece influenced by Arabian Nights.  He listened to the musicians individually and tailored a piece to complement the styles of each player, weaving a vivid, rhythmic tapestry of song.

And at the end a fun surprise:


Can’t wait to share this concert with you!


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