This is actually the fifth attempt at writing the first line of this post about what world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma did next in the year my youngest son was born. He formed a world-wide ensemble called Silkroad, which:
creates music that engages difference, sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning to build a more hopeful world.
The ensemble represents musicians and cultures from across the globe.
Even though Yo-Yo Ma’s version of J.S. Bach’s Cello Sonatas is one of my favourites, I confess I had not come across the Silkroad Ensemble, until I watched a documentary about it called, The Music of Strangers.
The stories of the principal musicians – their lives and their musicianship – and how this became the language they predominantly communicated in, is awe-inspiring. If you are a musician you immediately want to be a better one, and if you aren’t, might I suggest the Galician bag-pipes?
All the way through the documentary, and then the subsequent music-streaming service, listening to the recordings, I realised two things. First, I wanted to be in a writer’s version of the ensemble, and second, my knowledge of literature from other parts of the world is woefully inadequate.
This realisation led me to two further considerations. First, I needed to start reading more literature from other cultures, and second, I may need to become a bit more well-known (like Yo-Yo Ma) before I could be beckoned, or indeed do the beckoning, towards a similar writers’ ensemble.
If you bet me to the latter, then don’t forget I suggested it!