November 4, 2002 |
Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, which appeared at Royce Hall Friday night, included Western strings, brass and percussion, a Mongolian long song singer, a Chinese pipa player, an Indian tabla player and three Iranian musicians performing on native instruments. The music was more East than West, with works by Mongolian, Iranian and Indian composers, along with traditional Chinese and Iranian music. Debussy, who cocked his ear in the direction of Asia, stood in for Europe.
September 29, 2008 |
Last year was the octocentenary of the 13th century Persian poet Rumi, whose nondenominational messages of tolerance and spiritual love resonate among newly enlightened folk in the West. This year is the 10th anniversary of ever-curious cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, whose musical highway from China to the Mediterranean runs right through Persia (now Iran).
June 25, 1992 |
People in striped robes sit under aspen trees, drinking tea dosed with black pepper and eating shish kebab sprinkled with curry-type spices. But they don't eat curries; they tend to flavor stew in the Persian fashion, with fruit instead of spices. They also eat steamed dumplings, lamb with noodles and other spicy dishes from western China--those remote western provinces that Chinese regional cookbooks ignore.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2003 |
Sometimes tradition is just not enough. Or so Koji Wada has learned. Wada, the owner of Kasuri Dyeworks in downtown Berkeley, is spending this week closing his shop, unrolling, rerolling and packing the bolts of ornate fabrics that have been his business for more than 30 years. The soft plumes of silk suspended in Wada's shop are used to make kimonos, the traditional dress of Japanese men and women. Decades ago, Japanese men began abandoning kimonos for Western dress.
October 20, 2001 |
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is talking about Central Asia while, thousands of miles away, the United States is bombing it. For years, Ma has been planning a project that's now come to fruition: an East-meets-West musical overview of the cultures and countries linked by the network of trading routes known as the Silk Road. Tonight, an international gathering of 13 musicians--dubbed the Silk Road Ensemble--will join Ma in Washington for the first concert of its American tour.
September 10, 1995 |
If the Silk Road traders of 2,000 years ago were to guide their camel caravans into the bustling new bazaars here, it wouldn't take them long to cut a deal. The Chinese stereos, Korean televisions and Japanese cameras might baffle them, but they wouldn't miss a beat haggling over Oriental carpets, Iranian fruit and Indian sandals.
November 13, 1994 |
The music began as we stepped off our bus in the adobe village of Wupu in northwestern China. Barely perceptible at first, a seductive whine gathered force as it welled up in the throats of middle-aged men and reverberated from their long-necked stringed instruments and sheep-skin tambourines. Next came the dancers--a troupe of little girls, 6 or 8 years old, with winsome smiles, velvety brown eyes and shiny pigtails.
December 2, 2007 |
Kashgar, China After 36 hours, three flights and two sleeping pills, I arrived in the western Chinese city of Kashgar. It was 10 p.m., and the sun was only starting to set when I disembarked on the runway, collected my bags from the airport's single conveyor belt and boarded a barely functioning minibus for town.
January 11, 1998 |
High in the jagged Pamir Mountains, where wolves and snow leopards prowl a desolate no man's land, small squads of men are fighting a losing battle against a rising tide of opium and heroin sweeping toward the West. Foot soldiers in the war on drugs, these police and customs agents stand sentinel along the remote alpine highway that threads north from Afghanistan into the rock-ribbed underbelly of Central Asia.