Filmmakers Morgan Neville & Caitrin Rogers talk about the making of their film Music of Strangers:Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Road Enesemble. We caught up with Neville and Rogers during the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival where their documentary was screened.
On the surface the film appears to be about Yo-Yo Ma and his quest to find meaning in music. What can he do with music is a question that Ma has explored for over 20 years. A child prodigy, music is not a profession that Ma chose points out Neville in our interview.
Ma’s quest led to the founding of the Silk Road Project that brings a handful of talented musicians together to make music. The goal is to weave all the various musical influences of the musicians and create new music. All of them are complete strangers to each other’s music and culture, but by working together they learn to understand and appreciate the common threads they all share.
LISTEN: MORGAN NEVILLE & CAITRIN ROGERS ON MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA & THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE
What is riveting is what the film explores beneath the surface about the notion of home, identity and how states and governments deal with art, culture and music. In some countries musicians are punished for their work. While in other countries musicians have complete freedom. How does the varying degree of political freedom influence and impact the musicians? Where is home for them now? We find answers to these questions in the stories of Kinan Azmeh of Syria, Kayhan Kalhor of Iran, Cristina Pato of Spain and Wu Man of China. Each one of them carries a political and cultural baggage that molds and shapes them. And what gives them solace, happiness and an identity is their music. Now, that is one of looking at the musicians and their stories. You will have to see the documentary for yourself and discover what resonates with you.
Neville and Rogers won an Academy Award in 2014 for their documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.
Music of Strangers:Yo-Yo Ma & The Silk Road Road Enesemble is currently showing in the San Francisco Bay area. Check here to see where the film is showing in your neighborhood.