Yo-Yo Ma's Odyssey: Redefining Home with the Silk Road Ensemble
The documentary film The Music of Strangers, and a companion CD, Sing Me Home—from Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble— both snared 2017 Grammy nominations, and a Grammy win for the CD for Best World Music Album. WRTI's Susan Lewis has the story on the Silk Road Ensemble, a group that seeks connections across cultures.
MUSIC: "Going Home," from Sing Me Home
Susan Lewis: The song "Going Home" uses a melody from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Silk Road’s rendition features an American banjo player, and a Chinese Sheng player, and lyrics in Mandarin and English. It’s part of a CD called Sing Me Home.
Yo-Yo Ma: We wanted to give a sense of what is home for everybody.
SL: Yo-Yo Ma launched the Silk Road Ensemble in 2000 with musicians from different countries—sharing music to build relationships.
YYM: To live in one home on our planet, we actually have to be able to work together.
SL: The CD is a companion to the documentary, The Music of Strangers, which highlights Ma and several Silk Road members, including a Syrian clarinetist, an Iranian who plays the kamancheh (a bowed string instrument), and a Spanish bagpiper.
YYM: Some come from regions experiencing conflict, others have deeply personal stories.
SL: Another member featured in the film is Wu Man, a Chinese pipa player, who has also written music for the group. Silk Road has commissioned more than 80 works from composers from 22 different countries.
MUSIC: "Green" (Vincenet's Tune) by Wu Man
SL: Nourishing their own traditions, the artists create something new—fostering intimate, cross-cultural understanding.
YYM: I think this is one of the beauties of what music can do. It reaches deep into people’s core.
SL: Creating a sense of home in our hearts and souls.
MUSIC: "Heart and Soul"