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Yo-Yo Ma: New Album, New Documentary / Parade

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Mind Your Body with Stephanie Stephens features celebrities and high achievers age 45+ who share their latest projects, healthy living secrets and more. 

When you think "cello," chances are you next think of Yo-Yo Ma. Born to Chinese parents in Paris in 1955, he began playing the stringed instrument at age 4, no small feat considering the size of a cello and the size of a young boy. Now he plays two cellos for legions of adoring fans: a 1733 Montagnana from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.

Yo-Yo founded the nonprofit Silk Road Project in 2000. He says it is, among other descriptions, "the collective of rooted explorers, inclusive independents, storytelling musicians, passionate learners, connected nomads, and cultural entrepreneurs." It's also affiliated with Harvard.

With 18 Grammy Awards to his credit, a Kennedy Center Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom and a slew of other outstanding accolades, you might wonder what's left for him to accomplish. From his perspective, there's plenty. He is at once introspective yet open, humble, inquisitive and never short on lively discussion on a wide variety of topics that interest him-and there are many.

Ma's new Sony album with the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble-Sing Me Home is co-produced by Johnny Gandelsman and Grammy winner Kevin Killen. Many of the group's members are immigrants, and the music pays tribute to the rich cultural heritage of the Balkans, China, Galicia, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Mali, Syria and the United States, as well as people of the Roma. Guest artists including Abigail Washburn, Lisa Fischer, Rhiannon Giddens, Bill Frisell and others. The album partners with a new documentary from Oscar and Emmy-winning director Morgan Neville, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo-Ma & The Silk Road Ensemble. See it in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on June 10, and see the trailer here. To see Yo-Yo Ma on tour now, check out this schedule.