Music Review: Yo-Yo Ma & Friends - Songs of Joy & Peace

Saturday, January 09, 2010 Posted by Dina N


Album Description
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.

Collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma in the creation and arrangements of Songs of Joy & Peace are:

James Taylor (Here Comes the Sun)
Alison Krauss (The Wexford Carol)
Diana Krall (You Couldn't Be Cuter)
Chris Botti (My Favorite Things)
Renée Fleming (Touch the Hand of Love )
Dave Brubeck & Matt Brubeck/Paquito d'Rivera (Joy to the World)
Dave & Matt Brubeck (Concordia)
Paquito D'Rivera/Alon Yavnai (Invitación al Danzón)
Sérgio and Odair Assad (Vassourinhas)
The Assad Family (Familia)
Wu Tong & The Silk Road Ensemble (Kuai Le)
Natalie MacMaster (A Christmas Jig/Mouth of the Tobique Reel)
Cristina Pato (Panxoliña: A Galician Carol)
Joshua Redman (My One and Only Love)
Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile (The Wassail Song/All Through the Night)
Amelia Zirin-Brown (This Little Light of Mine)
Jake Shimabukuro (Happy Xmas [War is Over])
Various Artists (Dona Nobis Pacem)


My Review
In this album - a real treat for any lover of classical music - a remarkable group of musicians come together to celebrate the joys of the holiday season. Thanks to Yo-Yo Ma & Friends - Songs of Joy & Peace, you can recreate the festive mood all year round.

I received the deluxe edition of Yo-Yo Ma & Friends - Songs of Joy & Peace - courtesy of Sony Music. This CD includes over 20 songs, some with vocals and some instrumentals. In addition to the CD, the set has a bonus DVD with 5 music videos, a 60-minute documentary, and a photo gallery.

Here is the full track list:

1 Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)
2 You Couldn't Be Cuter
3 Joy to the World
4 Here Comes The Sun
5 Improvisation on Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)
6 The Wassail Song / All Through the Night
7 A Christmas Jig / Mouth of the Tobique Reel
8 The Wexford Carol
9 Panxoliña: a Galician Carol
10 Improvisation on Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)
11 Vassourinhas
12 Improvisation on Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)
13 Invitación al Danzón
14 My One and Only Love
15 Familia
16 Concordia
17 My Favorite Things
18 Touch The Hand of Love
19 Kuai Le
20 This Little Light of Mine
21 Happy Xmas (War is Over)
22 Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace)/Auld Lang Syne

The album features wonderful performers, such as Yo-Yo Ma himself, Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Sergio and Odair Assad, Dave and Matt Brubeck, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and more. I loved every single track from this outstanding compilation. The talented improvisations of old favorites, such as Give Us Peace and My Favorite Things, render a new musical dimension to these pieces while preserving the original. This CD can be enjoyed throughout the whole year, reliving the warmth and meaning of the holiday season.

To quote, "It is Yo-Yo's hope that everyone who listens to this album will hear a song familiar, comfortable and beloved to them as well as discover and fall in love with music that is brand new".  He has succeeded.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Sony Music. This review reflects my personal opinion and is unaffected by the free nature of the product.

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