The Silk Road Ensemble: globalFEST 2012 Hear the Ensemble's dozen-plus virtuoso musicians play a range of traditional instruments, spanning Europe and Asia.

The Silk Road Ensemble performs during globalFEST at New York City's Webster Hall on Jan. 8. Ryan Muir for NPR hide caption

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Ryan Muir for NPR

The Silk Road Ensemble performs during globalFEST at New York City's Webster Hall on Jan. 8.

Ryan Muir for NPR

globalFEST

The Silk Road Ensemble 2012

The Silk Road Ensemble: globalFEST 2012

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Cross-cultural dialogue never sounded as good as this 14-member group, founded by superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Blending music from points near and far, this is a serious all-star ensemble, which — even without its founder's presence — brings fabulous energy to all of its outings.

Four of The Silk Road Ensemble's core Western classical-oriented members also play as Brooklyn Rider — a longtime NPR Music staff favorite — while other master musicians in this adventurous band include the Galician gaita (bagpipe) dazzler Cristina Pato and pipa virtuoso (and Tiny Desk Concert veteran) Wu Man. When they all played out together in full force, their pure joy and unyielding virtuosity provided one of the evening's highest high points.

Set List

  • "Caronte"
  • Tabla improvisation
  • "Ascending Bird"
  • "Taranta Project (Movements 1, 2, 4, 3)"
  • "Rionji"
  • "Yanzi (Swallow Song)"
  • "Turceasca"
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