Yo-Yo Ma can now truly say he is a star of both stage and screen, thanks to a new documentary that takes his Silk Road Ensemble as its subject. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble follows the travels, travails, and triumphs of the ensemble’s rotating cast of 50-plus musicians as they tour the globe.
‘We started as a group of musicians getting together and seeing what might happen when strangers meet,’ observed Ma. ‘Now, when I’m with them, I feel a huge amount of creativity and trust.’
Director Morgan Neville – who directed Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom – said the film took almost fives years to finish. ‘This film is about Yo-Yo trying to figure out how music can be a tool to do something more than just be music onto itself,’ said Neville in an interview with examiner.com. ‘I think that’s been his journey.’
The ensemble has played together for almost 20 years, exploring the connections between different styles of music from all over the world. It features instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers who come from more than 20 countries and their most recent record Sing Me Home came out on Sony Music Classical in April of this year.
Speaking of the ensemble, Ma commented that: ‘They have all created fulfilling and meaningful lives for themselves in sometimes trying circumstances and I feel like I’m a fuller human being for the experience of knowing and working with them.’
The film currently has a limited release in Los Angeles and New York cinemas, before opening across the US in July and August.