The Bluegrass Situation: Roots Culture Redefined

Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (ft. Rhiannon Giddens), ‘St. James Infirmary Blues’

Mar 2, 2016

Yo-Yo Ma and Rhiannon Giddens … need we say more? The legendary cellist brought the talented solo artist and former member of Carolina Chocolate Drops on board for a project with the Silk Road Ensemble, a multi-national group of composers and performers Ma formed in 2000. The ensemble just readied a new album, Sing Me Home, featuring Giddens on the popular American folksong "St. James Infirmary Blues," which we're happy to premiere. Other guests on the album, out April 22, include Bill Frisell, Sarah Jarosz, and Gregory Porter. 

“Music is one of the best ways human beings have to code memory and often, at Silk Road, it’s also the way we code friendships," Ma says. "Michael Ward-Bergeman’s arrangement of 'St. James Infirmary Blues' for the Silk Road Ensemble grew out of his friendship with the legendary Romani band Taraf de Haidouks, and became the way to welcome to our creative community a new friend: the extraordinary Rhiannon Giddens. As Michael says, Rhiannon’s voice on this song was a gift to us all.”

"What an amazing session with the Silk Road Ensemble!" Giddens adds. "I was so honored to get to sing with these fabulous musicians, and you can tell we are all having a great time!”

Listen to "St. James Infirmary Blues" and pre-order Sing Me Home here.

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