The Music of Strangers: Yo Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble

  • Screening Dates: 28th September, 6 pm  //  12th October, 8 pm
  • Starring: Yo Yo Ma, The Silk Road Ensemble
  • Directed by: Morgan Neville
  • Running time: 96 mins
  • Rating: G
  • Language: Englsih


An infectious street concert opens this buoyant musical journey, the story of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of the world’s greatest musicians. Initially drawn from the Central Asian ‘Silk Road’ countries and regions of China, India, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, the composition of the group eventually broadened to include talents from all over the globe.

As Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (Twenty Feet from Stardom,  Best of Enemies), frames it, the Silk Road Ensemble arose out of Yo-Yo Ma’s quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s theoretical ‘universal language of music’, and to identify and cultivate the intersections between cultures where harmony connects disparity.  Featuring archival footage from Ma’s career, including his performance as a seven-year-old prodigy in front of President Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline, this discerning and joyous documentary includes many of the backstories of the fascinating ensemble members: Damascus-born clarinetist Kinan Azmeh; Iranian exile and acclaimed kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor; Wu Man, master of the Chinese stringed instrument, the pipa; and the exuberant Spanish bagpiper Cristina Pato, known as ‘the Jimi Hendrix of Galicia’.