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May 27, 2017

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Yo-Yo Ma adds Grammy number 17 with win

LOS ANGELES -- Cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma on Sunday won a Grammy with his Silk Road Ensemble for "Sing Me Home," an exploration of the musical connections across Eurasia.

The French-born Chinese American cellist had previously won an impressive 17 Grammys but his latest is his first for Best World Music Album.

Ma set up the Silk Road Ensemble to bring together musicians from the historic route that connected the Middle East and Asia, in hopes both of finding artistic commonalities and furthering the cause of intercultural understanding.

"Sing Me Home" started with deliberately loose guidelines, as skilled artists from the Silk Road chose works that were personally important to them and jammed with other musicians, spontaneously finding their own form of fusion.

"We were strangers but having worked together over the past 15, 20 years has enriched our lives tremendously," the Russian-born, New York-based violinist Jonathan Gandelsman said as he accepted the award in a ceremony before the main Grammy telecast.

Musicians on the album include the New York-based Syrian clarinet player Kinan Azmeh, who was recently stranded overseas when U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a sweeping ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries even if they had visas or legal residency.

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