Over the past 17 years, an extraordinary group of artists from around the world has come together to celebrate the universal power of music. Named for the ancient trade route linking Asia, Africa and Europe, the Silk Road Ensemble was conceived by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and consists of a diverse, rotating lineup of instrumentalists, vocalists, composers and storytellers. The collective exemplifies music’s ability to blur geographical boundaries, blend disparate cultures and inspire hope.
Directed by Morgan Neville (the Oscar®-winning “20 Feet from Stardom”), THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE follows members of the international ensemble as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. A vivid portrait of a bold musical experiment and a global search for the ties that bind, the Grammy-nominated film debuts MONDAY, MARCH 6 (8:00-9:35 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO.
The documentary will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.
Blending performance footage, interviews, behind-the-scenes film and archival clips, THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE focuses on a few of the ensemble’s mainstays, and their moving personal stories of passion, talent and sacrifice.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma founded Silkroad in 1998. Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been at the center of the organization’s work, recording six albums and performing for nearly two million people in 33 countries. THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS explores Ma’s storied life and career, and profiles some of the collective’s members, including: Kinan Azmeh, a Syrian clarinet player and composer; Wu Man, a pipa player and composer from China; Kayhan Kalhor, an Iranian kamancheh player and composer; and Cristina Pato, a bagpiper, pianist and composer from Spain.
A family of people from vastly different backgrounds who explore and celebrate their commonality, the Silk Road Ensemble has evolved into an organization of musicians and artists exploring themes of cultural connectivity, history and tradition. “In the process, they model for us a way to understanding the Other,” says director Morgan Neville. “If there’s anything we should be doing today, it’s that, because so many forces in our world want us to be scared of the Other.”
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