Yo-Yo Ma is a familiar name, but not many people know anything about the music behind the man. But in the Oscar-winning documentary The Music of Strangers, director Morgan Neville brings us into the world of the cellist and his friends in The Silk Road Ensemble, a group connecting 50 musicians from all over the world.
The film follows this group of diverse instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, arrangers, visual artists and storytellers as they explore the power of music to preserve tradition, shape cultural evolution and inspire hope.
Though Ma is the spiritual leader and founder of The Silk Road Ensemble, the documentary is not all about him. Instead, the director explores the cultural backgrounds of four other musicians in the group: Kayhan Kalhor from Iran, Wu Man from China, Cristina Pato from Galicia and Kinan Azmeh from Syria. Following them to their hometowns, we get a deeper understanding of the group.
Instead of talking about the technical side of music, the artists simply share their lives. It creates a very human story that everyone can understand.
The soundtrack is also amazing, as all the audio clips were very well produced. The spirit of music certainly doesn’t let us down.