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Goats, Rodeos and Music / NPR

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Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and now protests, 2020 has already been a lot. Yo-Yo Ma has been coping, and trying to help the rest of us cope, with music. The cellist has been posting videos of himself playing what he calls "Songs of Comfort." "I do believe that everything that we do," he says, "people in every profession - medical workers, the delivery people, the politicians - we all are there to serve. We only exist because someone has a need. I know that music fulfills that kind of need."

Ma is also releasing new music. Along with Americana musicians Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer and Stuart Duncan, Not Our First Goat Rodeo is a follow-up album to the group's first project nine years ago.

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly spoke to Yo-Yo Ma about getting the band back together nine years after its debut album, playing music to help get through the coronavirus pandemic and what a more racially just classical music world might look like. Listen to the radio version in the audio link above, and read on for highlights of the interview.    PHOTO: Josh Goleman