With a repertoire spanning classical, improvisational and folk traditions from around the globe, the Silk Road Ensemble spins sounds that celebrate cultural solidarity.

Why you should listen

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 tours throughout the world and has recorded six albums. "St. James Infirmary Blues," which the Ensemble performed at TED2016, appears on Sing Me Home, its new, Grammy Award-winning album. Sing Me Home was recorded alongside the new documentary feature The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble from Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville.

For its TED2016 appearance, 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)

Silk Road Ensemble’s TED talks