A Musical Silk Road Born of Difference

Silk Road is a composition partly inspired by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and the richness that comes from the exchange of ideas and cultures, – a recurring theme in my upcoming album “Lotus Dreams”. In today’s world I find comfort in the Silk Road ensemble, founded by this famous musician. My own Silk Road recalls the ancient network of trade routes, a centuries-old model for cultural exchange between the East and West. A unique musical language was born of difference when piano and cello met bansuri, saz, oud, and nay flute. Listen to Lotus Dreams

The Bansuri is a transverse flute made of bamboo. This instrument is associated with the classical music tradition of northern India, often referred to as Hindustani music, but also with the important Hindu god Krishna,- often depicted in the visual arts playing this instrument. Before it was introduced to the classical concert setting the Bansuri was largely a folk instrument.  

The Saz is the grandfather of the Greek Bouzouki and originated in Central Asia where the Turks lived before their westward migration. Although the instrument is similar in shape to the Greek Bouzouki, the construction, size and sound of the Saz is different. 

Oud (Arabic: “wood”) is a string instrument prominent in medieval and modern Islamic music and is the parent of the European lute. Tunings vary; the pitch range is similar to that of a lute or guitar.

The Nay flute is the main wind instrument of Middle Eastern music, and the only wind instrument in classical Arabic music. An ancient instrument that has been around for 4,500-5,000 years, it is one of the oldest still in use. In fact, it is as old as the Egyptian pyramids, where you find Nay players on wall paintings.  The instrument is made of a piece of hollow cane or reed (Persian: “reed”) with five or six finger holes.