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Yo-Yo Ma’s Music for Peace

October 20, 2013
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Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 8.49.19 PMIt doesn’t matter what you believe as far as religion, geo-politics or anything else.  This is just plain good music – incredible actually.  In Pathos, author Erin Straza said she could could hardly breath for the beauty of it.  Yep!  This is absolutely incredible!  I want to jump up and down and shout about it, it is that good.  It is that amazing.

Yo-Yo Ma was my mother’s best friend’s favorite musician.  She loved opera, and enjoyed listen to baritones, and the like, but her heart belonged to Yo-Yo Ma.  This is a good reason!

The story behind it is even better.  Yo-Yo Ma is one of the UN’s Peace Ambassadors.  He is also, arguably, the greatest cellist – ever.  He decided to create the Silk Road Project, bringing together musicians from throughout the world.  The sounds are explosive, they say something never before heard – and I WANT MORE!  He is using Galician bagpipes, Chinese pipe, Japanese shakuhaci, Persian kamanche, Indian tabla, and his cello.

“…In 2004, the Silk Road Project hosted six members of the Iraqi Symphony Orchestra in a workshop in New York. As they rehearsed together, the two groups developed a bond, but it took time. “The Iraqi musicians were understandably on edge,” Cords recalls. “They weren’t sure how the experience was going to unfold. Getting to a place where we felt comfortable together took days.” This encounter was also eye-opening to the Silk Road Project musicians, as they saw the everyday difficulties that Iraqi musicians face. Besides not having the resources to purchase or maintain an instrument, performing in the United States put them at great risk. “Playing in this orchestra was a matter of life and death,” said Cords. “For an Iraqi at that time, carrying a Western violin and playing music from the Western canon was a dangerous prospect.”…”

As I write, and listen to the piece, I keep wanting to shout – what an amazing piece of music!  Then, they cut to Yo Yo Ma, who is completely ‘stoned’ over the music while he is playing it.

“…“The musicians say the project has helped them find similarities between musical cultures. When Das began improvising with Kayhan Kalhor, one of Iran’s best-known players of the kamancheh, a kind of fiddle, he found an unexpected kinship between their instruments. ‘It didn’t matter that he was performing a Persian mode and I an Indian raga,’ Das said. ‘Playing with Kayhan for the first time felt like playing with a long-lost cousin.’ ”…”

Oh wow!

“...The musicians say the project has helped them find similarities between musical cultures. When Das began improvising with Kayhan Kalhor, one of Iran’s best-known players of the kamancheh, a kind of fiddle, he found an unexpected kinship between their instruments. “It didn’t matter that he was performing a Persian mode and I an Indian raga,” Das said. “Playing with Kayhan for the first time felt like playing with a long-lost cousin.” Wu Man, who plays the pipa, a Chinese lute, says that audiences also engage with new musical traditions by finding parallels with their own. “Most audiences in the United States have never seen the pipa or even heard of it,” says Wu Man. “But when I’m traveling in Kentucky or Hawaii, people come to me after concerts and say, “That sounds like a banjo or a ukulele.””…”

Listen to the quality of those violins! I want more of this music.  It is like an Indiana Jones movie for the ears and soul!

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