x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Yo-Yo's musical road

Yo-Yo Ma's visit to Abu Dhabi will unite musical tastes with the spirit of one very famous Venetian explorer.

This latter day Marco Polo is known to bring a cello, a few Lebanese Ney players and a dozen Mongolian folk singers with him as he travels around the world. Abu Dhabi is lucky to have Yo-Yo Ma share some of what he has learned and heard along the way today, even if he won't perform tonight with his larger troop.

Yo-Yo Ma is the world's greatest cellist but it is his ability to traverse genres, from rock to jazz, that may be his most remarkable talent. Yo-Yo Ma's collaborations have included projects with the guitarist Carlos Santana, the jazz legend Dave Brubeck and the country-western singer Alison Krauss. His most successful and innovative project to date, however, is the Silk Road Ensemble, where the Chinese-American has brought together musical virtuosi from areas along old the Silk Road.

"Hey! I have a peer group! I can make music with friends," he says, explaining the inspiration for that project. More importantly, Yo-Yo Ma is showing how one can make friends with music. In a world fraught with so much division, we can all learn from the harmonies that he has helped to create.