Osvaldo Golijov: Various

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Osvaldo Golijov
LABELS: World Village
WORKS: Various
PERFORMER: The Silk Road Ensemble


Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble is celebrating its first decade with a CD which encapsulates what makes it unique. Indeed, its modest title, Off the Map, underlines its achievement, which has been to bring a host of musics – which really would have been off the map ten years ago – into the general consciousness.

Osvaldo Golijov, whose new work Air To Air gives the CD its rousing send-off, collaborates with an international group of players led by the Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato. The sound she creates evokes the Balkans, the early Christian Middle East, and Mexico. In Ritual for the Holy Mother of Guadalupe, the rapt sound of the ensemble is infused with murmured prayers in Chiapas, which come in over the top like a pale cloud of incense.


Kojiro Umezaki’s virtuosity on the shakuhachi is the cornerstone for several of the works, most notably Angel Lam’s ‘Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain’. Teaming with the composer Gabriela Lena Frank, Wu Man makes her pipa sound pixieish and guttural in ‘Ritmos Anchinos’, which investigates a musical mix of Chinese and Andean cultures. Michael Church