Source: Musical Toronto By David Podgorski
Who doesn’t love the Silk Road Ensemble? Founded in 2000 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the group took the idea of the ancient trade route, spanning the distance from Italy to Java and used from roughly 100 BCE to the mid-fifteenth century, as its inspiration for the ideas and cultural exchanges in the globalized world at the end of the twentieth century. Ma found and nurtured the best players and composers he could find, regardless of where they came from or what instrument they played — whether they were a Canadian violist or a balafon player from Mali, anyone who could play well and had a unique musical voice was welcome to join.
Back then, it seemed like a vague, feel-good take on multiculturalism. Seventeen years later, now that America has a list of countries whose citizens are banned from entering the country and cultural exchange has become cultural appropriation, a group devoted to uniting Asian, European, Middle-Eastern, and American musicians has become far more of an overt political statement than Ma could have hoped for in 2000. I’m sure the group is aware of this, too — their concert last night at the Aga Khan Museum was part of the Museum’s multimedia exhibit Syrian Symphony: New Compositions in Sight and Sound, which features the work of exiled Syrian artists as well as recordings by the ensemble.
Read more – Dated: June 30, 2017
Previously on Ismailimail…
Foreword by His Highness the Aga Khan – Of Mosaics and Mosques: A look at the campaign to preserve cultural heritage