Inspired by the exchange of ideas and traditions along the historical Silk Road, cellist Yo-Yo Ma established Silkroad in 1998 to explore how the arts can advance global understanding. Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been at the core of Silkroad's work. Representing a global array of cultures, the Ensemble models new forms of cultural exchange through performances, workshops and residencies. The artists of the Ensemble draw on the rich tapestry of traditions from around the world that make up our many-layered contemporary identities, weaving together the foreign and familiar to create a new musical language.
The Ensemble performs throughout the world and has recorded six albums. "St. James Infirmary Blues" appears on its new album, Sing Me Home, which was developed and recorded alongside the new documentary feature The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville.
Silk Road Ensemble is:
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (bass)
Johnny Gandelsman (violin)
Joseph Gramley (percussion)
Karen Ouzounian (cello)
Kojiro Umezaki (shakuhachi)
Michael Ward-Bergeman (accordion)
Reylon Yount (yangqin)
Evan Ziporyn (clarinet)
Since 2005, singer, fiddler and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens has been energizing audiences with her fiery performances with Grammy-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops. She's interpreted fragments of Dylan with the New Basement Tapes (along with fellow group members Elvis Costello and Marcus Mumford).
Now Giddens is lending her formidable, classically trained voice -- and her socially conscious sensibility -- to the American songbook. Tomorrow Is My Turn, her 2015 album of standards, celebrates songs made famous by feminine legends of jazz, folk and country.