The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Since 2000, cellist Yo-Yo Ma has brought together musicians from all over the world with his Silk Road project. Just as the real Silk Road once connected China with central and western Asia, so too does Yo-Yo Ma seek to foster a multicultural exchange of ideas and a dialogue between Asian artists and those whose influences are more western. His project comprises a varying line up of around 60 soloists from over 20 different nations. The Silk Road Ensemble has so far performed over 300 concerts in 34 countries.
Morgan Neville’s documentary outlines Yo-Yo Ma’s own life story: born to Chinese parents in Paris, he was just seven when Leonard Bernstein first presented him as an exceptionally gifted cellist. The film also portrays several individual musicians such as Syrian Kinan Azmeh whose clarinet playing resonates with the agony of war in his native land, and Iranian Kayhan Kalhor who was spied upon in his own country and then forced into exile. Neville’s film conveys the energy required by each ensemble member to allow the universal power and beauty of music to unfold, in performances that are as natural as they are authentic and that truly come from the heart.
by Morgan Neville
with Yo-Yo Ma, Wu Man, Kinan Azmeh, Kayhan Kalhor
USA 2015 95’

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