Silk Road Ensemble Off The Map

11.18.09
Silk Road Ensemble
Sonicboomers.com

By Bill Bentley

Travelers to other lands are often presented with new sounds, those that surprise and intrigue and can make the world feel brand new. Silk Road Ensemble was established ten years ago under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma of composers and performers from more than 20 countries. They blend Eastern and Western traditions and create music that makes your mind seem like it has just been born. There is such an innocence of experience in their sounds that everything feels fresh, and the juxtaposition of styles appear preordained. Art should pull the carpet out from underneath us on occasion, which this group always does. They achieve it with a sensibility to make sure no one gets hurt, but they do it nonetheless. The four composers who each contribute one work on Off The Map come from an international melting pot, and will remind you of that time when life felt full of possibilities and definitions were as unecessary as knowing the end of a great novel. It was about the journey, and staying open to what might happen between now and then. Osvaldo Golijov, Gabriela Lena Frank, Evan Ziporyn and Angel Lam have each been touched by the music of the spheres and share that inspiration in a way you will never grow tired of hearing. There is the pulse of life in all of their work that speaks to the center of the soul in a universal language. And while no map shows exactly where that center is located, we all can find it by simply allowing our spirit to listen.