Smithsonian Folkways and the Aga Khan Music Initiative have announced the tenth and final release of their award-winning “Music of Central Asia” series. The last album of the prestigious series is a CD/DVD set titled “Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route”.
Wu Man, an internationally renowned virtuoso of the pipa (a pear-shaped, short-necked lute dating back to the 7th century), and Central Asian master musicians embark on an unprecedented collaboration between Chinese classical, Uyghur, and Tajik tradition bearers.
The group explores the music from the Chinese borderlands of the Silk Route, a four thousand mile passage that for two millennia has connected regions stretching north and west from the Great Wall of China to the Mediterranean Sea.
Joining the Chinese-born, U.S.-based Wu Man are Abduvali Abdurashidov (sato-tanbur) and Sirojiddin Juraev (dutar) from Tajikistan’Ma Ersa (vocals) from the Gansu province of China; and Abdulla Majnun (diltar, dutar, tambur), Hesenjan Tursun (satar), Sanubar Tursun (dutar), and Yasin Yaqup (dap) from Xinjiang, the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. These musicians represent cultures of the Silk Route through traditional performances, with music played on the pipa for the first time in over eight hundred years.
“The collaborations made my musical fantasy come true,” says Wu Man. “I often imagined what it would be like if the pipa were mixed with instruments such as satar, tambur and dutar.”
The music includes newly arranged traditional songs and original. The CD/DVD package includes a documentary film about the region, musicians, and recording process as well as an instrument glossary and detailed liner notes.
Born in China, Wu Man was trained at Beijing’s Central Conservatory and has lived in the US since 1990. Her groundbreaking musical work with the pipa has led to starring roles in pieces by contemporary composers such as Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison and Evan Ziporyn performed by the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles.