to be based on an intact tradition, so our idea is to bring together musicians who represent all these traditions, in workshops, festivals, and concerts, to see how we can connect with each other in music.
~ Yo-Yo Ma
Last Sunday I saw Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl performing with his group the Goat Rodeo Sessions. What a perfect summer evening in Los Angeles. We picnicked with good friends on cold salmon, pasta salad, a tahini-dressed green salad, red grapes and a California zinfandel.
It was my second Yo-Yo Ma concert. The first was in Santa Barbara with his Silk Road Ensemble, instruments one might find along the trade route through Asia. I’d call Sunday’s music Appalachian/Irish/folk/atonal. Odd but mesmerizing. Fiddle, mandolin, bass, cello, piano and a guest singer. Even without the wine we would have been floating on the balmy night air.
What I like about Yo-Yo Ma is the passion that radiates from his face, his generosity and his creative ability to manipulate his instrument to produce all kinds of music. A Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, he shares the stage with such grace.
But make no mistake about it, when the group came back on stage for an encore, he said LA was the end of the tour, they were excited to be here but tired and that this would be their last song for the evening. Only not as abrupt as that sounds. The band members teased him gently throughout the performance but always with respect. He was The Master. We knew it and so did they.
I would like to find within my own core the ability to be that devoted to something, to put in the time and quality practice and with some luck, produce a body of accomplished, creative work.
And to carry my talent so lightly.