THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS (2016)
This documentary directed by Morgan Neville (Oscar winner for FIFTY FEET FROM STARDOM) profiles cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, an eclectic group of musicians taken mostly from countries that intersect the legendary trading route of the Silk Road. The point of what they are doing is to say that music is the universal language that can unite differing people from a wide array of cultures while producing beautiful music together. Many of the musicians and artists have come from tragic and difficult circumstances but use the life lessons learned to express themselves in their music. The artists include Cristina Pato (Spain), Kayhan Kalhor (Iran), Wu Man (China) and Kinan Azmeh (Syria), each presenting unique stories as to how their lives have been enriched by music. Though I felt that portions of this film moved a bit slower than needed, it’s still a fascinating documentary and eye opener as to what human beings can overcome when presented with far from ideal circumstances.