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The Cristina Pato Quartet, set for Vancouver's Chan Centre / The Georgia Straight

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Having just returned from New Zealand-and having been in transit from Auckland to the WOMAD festival in New Plymouth on the day the Christchurch massacre happened-Cristina Pato is understandably reluctant to discuss how it felt to perform in the aftermath of tragedy. But as a member of the Silkroad Ensemble, an intercultural chamber orchestra formed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, she's not at all hesitant to talk about how music can help erase racial and religious barriers.

"When you are performing with Silkroad, which embraces many different civilizations and ways of understanding music-from classical music to folkloric music, or from traditions from China to traditions from Syria-it makes you able to step towards others," she tells the Straight. It's a move that's enriching because the instrument she plays, the Galician gaita, or bagpipes, is often seen as an endangered species, confined exclusively to the northwest corner of Spain.

The Cristina Pato Quartet, set for Vancouver's Chan Centre on April 11.

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