Date: 14 February 2017
Yo-Yo Ma's The Silk Road Ensemble with the Iranian Kamanche virtuoso as a member won the Grammy Award for Sing Me Home, a tribute to the ways culture can help us encounter, connect, and build something new.
This is the sixth time that their Iranian member Kayhan Kalhor, the Kamancheh player, composer and master of classical Kurdish and Iranian traditional music has been nominated for Grammy.
The 59th Annual Grammy Awards were held Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during which top musical works in the past year were praised and awarded.
The French-born Chinese-American cellist, Yo Yo Ma had previously won an impressive 17 Grammys, but his latest is his first for Best World Music Album.
Made up of performers and composers from more than 20 countries, the Silk Road Ensemble was formed by Yo-Yo Ma in 2000. Since then, audiences and critics in over 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and North America have embraced these artists passionate about cross-cultural understanding and innovation. The group has recorded six albums. Their new album, Sing Me Home, was released in April 2016. The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, a documentary about Silkroad musicians directed by Academy Award-winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), was released in June 2016.
New York-based Syrian clarinet player, Kinan Azmeh, who was recently stranded overseas when US President Donald Trump imposed a ban, was among those who worked on the album.
Das, also a member of the ensemble, dressed in a red kurta, said the ensemble sent a powerful message of unity and respect for each other’s cultures.
“When things like this happen, it impacts us directly because a lot of us come from a lot of those countries,” Das told reporters after accepting the award.
“In the current situation, I think we’ll keep playing more music and sharing more love.”