The Silk Road Ensemble ft. Yo-Yo Ma Releases A PLAYLIST WITHOUT BORDERS Today
The Silk Road Project has been on a mission to promote innovation and cross-cultural understanding through the arts for the last 15 years. The newest chapter comes with the Sony Masterworks release of the new album A Playlist Without Borders from the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma today, September 24, 2013.
This is the groundbreaking group's fifth recording and first since 2009's Grammy-nominated Off the Map. The deluxe edition includes the CD and a DVD, Live from Tanglewood, featuring live concert footage of two performances on June 22nd and 24th, 2012, at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts, as well as insightful and intimate behind-the-scenes interviews with the musicians. To see the "making of" video of A Playlist Without Borders, click here.
The vision of Yo-Yo Ma's limitless collective, the Silk Road Ensemble, is as timely as ever: to connect the world's neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences. From flashy surf guitar sounds to ninth century Chinese poetry, from modular playlists to Egyptian rhythms, the Silk Road Ensemble mixes the modern and the traditional, breaking boundaries of ethnicity and era. A Playlist Without Borders demonstrates once again that there are no barriers for those approaching music with an open mind.
Founded by Yo-Yo Ma during the Project's second year, the Silk Road Ensemble has featured more than 60 members from 24 countries. Hailed as "one of the 21st century's great ensembles" by the Vancouver Sun and described as "a kind of roving musical laboratory without walls" by the Boston Globe, the genre-defying Ensemble is a broad collective of musicians who honor the value of each member and the flexibility and creativity of the group.
Yo-Yo Ma notes, "The DVD Live from Tanglewood and CD A Playlist without Borders are perfect celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the Silk Road Project. I hope you can sense the joy of music making and the rich diversity and collaborative spirit of the Silk Road Ensemble. I'm delighted that the DVD and CD capture the friendships that have developed as we have explored the world and its traditions together."
"I think that there are not many ensembles that can share the musicianship that the Silk Road Ensemble does," says member Kayhan Kalhor, one of the great kamancheh players of today. "Everybody brings a lot of energy to the music, so it's a continuing learning process that we all share."
The album opens with the eight-part "Playlist for an Extreme Occasion," composed by pianist Vijay Iyer. The title refers to the literary theorist and amateur classical pianist Edward W. Said's description of a classical performance he asserted that an "extreme occasion" was experiencing music written and played with an expertise that select few ever achieve as well as a the concept of modern-day playlist, which also is referenced in the album's title.
"I built this piece with that kind of modular format in mind," explains Iyer, "that any part of this could be spun off and you could do anything with it in the course of performance and let that be it's own thing. I'm not trying to force some sort of overarching narrative, but rather let that emerge from the accumulation of small ideas."