RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Excerpt: "World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. The 'Day of Action' featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities."

Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The project uses the music of Johann Sebastian Bach to explore connections between cultures. (photo:  Lauren A. Terrazas/Texas Public Radio)
Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The project uses the music of Johann Sebastian Bach to explore connections between cultures. (photo: Lauren A. Terrazas/Texas Public Radio)


Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach in Shadow of Border Crossing

By Norma Martinez, Lauren Terrazas and Jack Morgan, NPR

14 April 19

 

orld-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. The "Day of Action" featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities.

Ma played the opening notes of Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello in a park next to the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, one of the crossings that connect the U.S. and Mexican cities.

The Laredo performance took place on an elevated stage before an audience of officials and onlookers. Concerns over possible rain disappeared as Ma began to play in the morning sunshine.

It was part of his Bach Project, which uses the composer's 300-year-old music to explore connections between cultures. The project has taken Ma all over the world. On Friday it brought him to Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University in San Antonio, and on Saturday it brought him to Laredo, within a few feet of the Rio Grande.

"As you all know, as you did and do and will do, in culture, we build bridges, not walls," he said. After his performance, he gestured to the bridge to his right. "I've lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations."

Mateo Bailey, 16, lives in San Antonio. He grew up in El Paso, plays the cello and is the son of Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey.

He felt Ma's performance had special significance "because this event is on the border. And I'm half-Mexican as well as half-American ... and for him to connect cello with what's happening in the world is like, it's a cultural bridge that was just built, and it's amazing."

Betty DeLeon praised the cellist for visiting. "It speaks of him. What a wonderful human being to take his time and come to our tiny little town to share the importance of culture. On the border. It's amazing. It's a privilege to be a part of this."

Pete Saenz, mayor of Laredo, said that despite the river and despite the bridge spanning overhead, the border is one community.

"And although people may perceive us as being so different, we're not," he said. "Here the border is extremely unique in that it's one organism. I've always said we're interdependent, interconnected. We survived because the border side survives, especially here on the border area."

This Day of Action also included a performance in Plaza Juarez in Nuevo Laredo, a few blocks from the international crossing. Its overall theme was an appreciation for the connections between the two cities, which see themselves as one community.

Ma was originally scheduled to play on the actual bridge, which would have been briefly closed. The planned closure would have been a collaborative effort between officials and residents on both sides of the border. But the traffic and pedestrian delays that the performance would have caused convinced officials to move the locale to the Tres Laredos Park right next to the bridge.

The famous cellist has studied and performed the German composer's music for six decades.

In 2018, Ma set out on a two-year journey to perform Bach's six suites for solo cello in 36 locations around the world. He believes the music has an ability to connect cultures and humanity from all walks of life. He said that this is what motivated him to launch the project.

Email This Page

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+6 # bardphile 2019-04-14 17:47
One more reason among many to love both musician and composer.
 
 
+6 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-04-14 18:55
Civilization vs. Barbarism. Well done.
 
 
+4 # Texas Aggie 2019-04-14 19:44
What a great idea! Laredo is really one culture on both sides of the river. They share a minor league baseball team. The celebrate presidents day together. People go back and forth on a daily basis.

It was thoughtful to not have the concert on the bridge because traffic normally is backed up 45 min to an hour with a coupe hour back up on holidays.
 
 
+6 # dotlady 2019-04-14 20:50
Yo-Yo Ma -thank you for some sanity and love. A reminder how the world can be united by music.
 
 
+1 # DongiC 2019-04-17 07:51
God bless this magnificent occasion and the performers and the people on both sides of the border. It is such a wonderful flowering of art and humanity, of human dignity and love.
 
 
+1 # ourconstitution.info 2019-04-18 18:47
I had a slight edit -- pls republish. Thanks.

Thank you Yo-Yo. It would be great if this continued with students and local classical groups!
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN