Yo-Yo Ma is using his music to make a political statement.
The iconic Chinese-American cellist performed a special concert at the U.S.-Mexico in Laredo, Texas, on Saturday.
“I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures,” said Ma, according to CNN. “Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations.” Ma performed in front of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico. “In culture, we build bridges, not walls. A country is not a hotel and it’s not full.”
Following his performance, Ma was presented with a key to the city of Laredo by Mayor Pete Saenz. “It was truly an honour to host the greatest cellist in the world, Yo-Yo Ma,” Saenz said. “His visit reminds us of how culture connects all of us.” Ma’s gig was part of a Day of Action event celebrating the shared culture between the adjacent cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
The performance was part of the 63-year-old musician’s Bach Project. “We live in a world of boundless possibility but we also face daunting challenges, even to our very survival,” Ma describes the project. “I believe that during times of stress, confusion, and insecurity, we should share sources that offer comfort, purpose, and meaning.”
“Bach does that,” Ma continues. “When his music touches us, it reconnects us to our common humanity.”