Stories » Yo-Yo Ma's 'Songs Of Joy & Peace' is a party that celebrates universal hopes and dreams

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Yo-Yo Ma's 'Songs Of Joy & Peace' is a party that celebrates universal hopes and dreams

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Imagine a party, a musical party inspired by the holiday season. A party that celebrates the universal hopes, dreams and joy animating seasonal festivals the world over – Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Kwanzaa, Yule and New Year's Day. That is what brought Yo-Yo Ma together with a remarkable group of friends to create Yo-Yo Ma & Friends Songs of Joy & Peace, a new album of songs from Sony BMG Masterworks that will be available Tuesday, October 14.

"It started with the idea of a party, a party built around the concept of joy and the infinite varieties of joy to be found in the world," Ma recalls. "But joy can't exist in our world without the comfort of peace. As we all draw closer and closer together in this world, nothing is more important. So as much as the music in this album is about joy, it is also about peace, about the two operating in tandem. I am really excited to know that I have all these fabulous colleagues who think the same way."

"Holidays are always about going home and being with friends and family," remarked Diana Krall. "And so wanting to capture that, I think, is what we did today.  We played together and it would have been weird if it was done in any other way. One of the best days of my life was today with Yo-Yo Ma." And Chris Botti went on to say: "The sound of the two instruments [trumpet and cello] is very, very beautiful and haunting together and Yo-Yo brings the joy. He's got enough joy for everyone. I'm just incredibly honored to be given an invitation to the party and thrilled to be here."

Songs of Joy & Peace is available online and in stores now. The recording has been chosen as a featured holiday selection at Starbucks and will also be sold at select Starbucks locations nationwide.

Also available is a special deluxe edition of Songs of Joy & Peace featuring an expanded booklet, a CD of the album including bonus tracks, and an exclusive DVD showcasing five music videos of Yo-Yo Ma joining forces with guest artists James Taylor ("Here Comes the Sun"), Alison Krauss ("The Wexford Carol"), Renee Fleming ("Touch the Hand of Love"), Diana Krall ("You Couldn't Be Cuter") and Chris Botti ("My Favorite Things")   In addition, the Songs of Joy & Peace bonus DVD will premiere a behind-the-scenes 60-minute video documenting the making of the album.

For his new album, the multiple Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma, currently celebrating his 30th anniversary with Sony Classical and Sony BMG Masterworks, invited many of his favorite artists from the worlds of popular and classical music to collaborate on a selection of songs -- some sacred, some secular, some traditionally seasonal, some simply beloved -- connected in their sense of wonder. Yo-Yo Ma conceived of Songs of Joy & Peace as a universal holiday house party of music "uniting different forms of joy" with the idea of combining familiar material with songs that would offer the listener the gift of discovery performed by old friends and new.

To celebrate the release of Songs of Joy & Peace, Ma teamed up with Indaba Music, the leading social network and online collaboration tool for musicians. Ma has recorded the melody Dona Nobis Pacem and is making it available for other musicians to record to it - creating a virtual collaboration. The music can be downloaded as part of a contest hosted on Indaba Music to create the most original and interesting counter melody or most creative set of variations. The Indaba Music community will vote for their favorites and Ma will choose the winner who will have the opportunity to record with him.