By Denise Dick
Two members of the folk band Harmonia entertained and informed visual- and performing-arts students at Chaney Campus with music performed on Eastern European instruments.
Harmonia will perform June 16 at the Simply Slavic Festival in the city’s downtown.
Founder Walt Mahovlich of Cleveland and Alexander Fedoriouk, a native of Ukraine, brought several traditional Eastern European instruments from a cimbalom and an accordion to a pan flute, bagpipe and dvojnice.
The musicians performed for orchestra students in Ed Madej’s class.
Slavic is a broad term, Mahovlich explained, covering several countries including Croatia, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Slovenia, Ukraine and Macedonia.
Though people in those countries speak different languages and observe different cultures, they share traditions, too.
“We feel a connection,” Mahovlich said.
The cimbalom, which Fedoriouk described as a percussion and string instrument, sounds like a piano, but rather than 88 keys, its sound comes from 125 strings. A musician taps the strings with sticks, using a soft end for piano sound or the hard end for a crisper note.
The player also may pluck the strings to create a sound similar to a violin.
Both men demonstrated the beats common to the traditional music, having the students tap out the rhythm to various time signatures.
Mahovlich performed on the dvojnice, or double flute.
“It means two,” he said. “It allows you to have harmony with yourself.”
Sophomore Ta’Kora Nall, 16, plays flute and saxophone in the orchestra. She said she enjoyed the performance and thinks she may like to play some of the instruments some day.
Most of the instruments were new to her, but she enjoyed the variety of flutes the musicians played.
Seventh-grader Robert Chalfant, 13, plays bass and guitar, and he enjoyed the performance too. He may pick up the accordion one day. Both of his grandfathers played the instrument.
“My one grandfather, he lives in Canfield, and he plays in a group with his brother and sister,” Robert said. The trio consists of two accordions and a flute.