Songlines Music Awards Winner

Cross-Cultural Collaboration: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan,
Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile

Album: The Goat Rodeo Sessions (Sony Classical)


World-renowned classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma is no stranger to musical collaborations - he started the Silk Road Project in 1998, has performed tangos by Astor Piazzolla and got a taste for improvisation while working with Bobby McFerrin. His latest album is a truly cross-genre affair, featuring three musicians at the very top of their scenes: mandolin player and singer Chris Thile, double bassist Edgar Meyer, and violin and banjo player Stuart Duncan.

Yo-Yo Ma
artist photo

For lovers of string music, this album is a bit like listening to a masterclass, yet with the added excitement of an impromptu jam session. It’s the improvisatory nature of the project that gives it its title: a ‘goat rodeo’ is a slang term used by pilots to describe a hairy situation whilst in the air which requires a good deal of luck and skill in order to avert disaster. As Meyer says: “we get a lot of pleasure in arrangements that have just enough twists and turns, that you really can’t let your guard down.”

Due to the schedules of these highly in-demand musicians, live shows look unlikely for the foreseeable future. The next best thing will be a DVD of their one and only public concert, joined by guest vocalist, Aoife O’Donovan (who features on two of the tracks). Filmed at the Boston’s House of Blues in January, the concert was streamed live to cinemas around the US.