Could you possibly introduce me to Yo-Yo Ma?

The Goat Rodeo Sessions @ npr
Image by Burnt Pixel via Flickr

Unlike some of my bolder friends, I do not walk up to celebrities in restaurants or while they are shopping, and in fact, there are places guaranteed to commingle the masses with Hollywood elite, and I am usually the last one in a group to even notice.

There are numerous opportunities to meet interesting public figures at book signings and Distinguished Speakers Series, of course, but I’m looking for a little more. I would like to have a nice cup of coffee with Yo-Yo Ma.

A good friend took a hint from my Amazon wish list and purchased his latest recording for me, The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Four bluegrass and classical musicians collaborated to create a musical experience that isn’t easily classified as either classical or bluegrass. Yo-Yo on cello joined with mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Stuart Duncan and bassist Edgar Meyer. Thile described their combo as a “little Frankenstein music monster” and suggested that classical music listeners would think the session was bluegrass, and bluegrass listeners would hear classical. It’s true to Ma’s eclectic style, and simply beautiful with a heavy note of interesting.

Mr. Ma was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors this year and the show’s finale was an extended tribute to his talented exploration of musical migrations. His explorations communicate ideas across many world cultures with more than 60 works  directly attributable to the Silk Road Ensemble he established in 1998.  Then there’s Obrigado Brazil, Soul of the Tango, Appalachian Journey…well, I could go on and on, but since I recently noted that a boxed set of his works contained over 90 albums, I won’t name them all.

So what would we talk about? I’d like to know how long he considers a new project before he launches into a completely new musical direction. Does he have one Muse or many? How does he first begin to imagine some of his most unique pairings? Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin—unique, fascinating and I’d say, completely unexpected. I’d probably like to know if he was nervous playing at the 56th Presidential Inaugural Ceremony, or if being on stage since the age of five made that a piece of cake. Mostly, though, I’d just like a private concert.

So I’m thinking that perhaps a combination of very focused positive thinking and speaking my intentions out loud by asking for help might get me closer to Yo-Yo Ma. It’s a shrinking world. How about six degrees of separation? Any help out there? His website says we can be friends on facebook…

In case this meeting isn’t going to happen in the very near future, I’ll make plans, and recommend that you join me, at a live theatrical performance January 31st. Fathom Events will feature a live performance of The Goat Rodeo Sessions in theaters across the country. The Goat Rodeo Sessions LIVE featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.  One night only, and I plan to be there. I will spend the rest of the month looking forward to it and attending will just plain old make me happy!

Any curiosity about what a goat rodeo is? I thought it was a little quirky, but figured it a literal description of a goat-roping event. Always read the CD liner. According to the website a goat rodeo describes a situation in which at least 100 things have to go right all at once in order to come out right. Apparently the four talented musicians on this recording thought the project tricky enough to merit the title.  And it might describe what it would take for me to set up my coffee date.

So tell me who you’d like to invite to coffee? Maybe there’s someone out there who can make the arrangements!

Smiling as I think about it…Debra

20 thoughts on “Could you possibly introduce me to Yo-Yo Ma?

  1. Well, my first husband was a bluegrass musician who was rather well connected at the time (a long time ago). I met Stuart Duncan when he was about 16. But there is no way I could (or would want to) renegotiate those connections in order to put you in touch with Yo-Yo Ma.
    But I totally agree with you, The Goat Rodeo Sessions is an amazing album!!

    1. I’m so glad you’re familiar with the Sessions, Lori, although you are letting me know I can’t expect you to cash-in your “Six Degrees” chips and help me out 🙂 I guess I can understand that! I’ll keep putting out those positive thoughts anyway! Debra

  2. Yo-Yo Ma’s segment of the Kennedy Center Honors was really something, wasn’t it? He would definitely be someone I’d love to meet and, say, share a meal. I greatly admire Jimmy Carter and would love to meet him, as well. Another would have been Steve Jobs but, alas, he missed his chance.

    1. The Kennedy Center Honors is quite something across all the honorees, isn’t it? I am so moved each time by the level of talent from both the presenters and the award recipients. I’ve met Jimmy Carter at a book signing and I like to tell the story of standing in line for a very long time, getting all the way to the table and after he barely glanced my way he locked eyes and engaged in a wonderful conversation with the young “12-sh” boy next in line. He asked the young man all about school, what he enjoyed and encouraged him towards a life of excellence. I didn’t have much of a personal moment, but I was impressed with the man!

  3. You got me at the title! I’ve listened to Ma on the albums of James Taylor, and wondered how he’s come to collaborate with those outside the “presumed” group of classical musicians. Then I recall the musicians I’ve known well over the years and they are all quirky, incredibly smart and amazingly talented (a few have had addictions issues but they continue to make music).

    Okay, I want to join the audience for the performance on Jan 31st. Maybe I’d better borrow the CD to get the ear ready for it. ~~ Ellen

    1. I’ll share with you, Ellen 🙂 I have quite a few of his CDs, although I’m currently drooling over that boxed set! And the 31st is regrettably on a “school night” and you know how I don’t fare too well with late nights followed by early mornings, but I’m going to live LARGE in the new year and stay out past 10:00 once in a great while. Ha! Let’s look into it! D

  4. I think we can work out something here, Debra. Tom would have to be included, however, because if I were to attempt it without him, well, he would never, ever forgive me. I, the collective “I” of Tom and me, would love to have a cup of coffee with James Taylor. No doubt about it. We’ve seen him close to a dozen times. On our way back from the east coast a few years ago, we just HAD to stop in Stockbridge so that Tom could stand on the porch of the Red Lion Inn. Yo Yo Ma and James Taylor had performed there just a week or so before and . . .

    . . . yep. A coffee date with James and Yo Yo and James. You and I could meet halfway. How about the Rockies? Music sounds extraordinary at Red Rock.

    1. Sounds like a wonderful plan to me, Penny. Tom can also perhaps act as chaperone if we would happen to get too school-girlish! Ha! I love James Taylor, too, and I remember your enthusiasm for Simon and Garfunkle. I think there is a theme here…we like music and would enjoy the company of the creative and talented performers we admire. And I think whenever we can soak up a little added music culture we are the better for it! How fun! D

    1. I am laughing my head off, Andra. I just read your post! This is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time! I’m not very good at the re-posting “stuff” but somehow this week I just must re-share this post in light of what I’ve written about today. I can totally picture this experience and between the other woman taking pictures of his crumbs and you thinking you should eat them…oh my I must stop chuckling now and get to work! I AM glad we have the same interest, but now you’ve warned me of what might come over me if I happen a chance encounter! 🙂 D

  5. I can’t think of any famous people I want to have a conversation with because I’d get all tongue-tied and shy — unless they wanted to know what was in season in California or how to cook kale!

    1. Maybe you’d enjoy a conversation with one of the Top Chef winners 🙂 and guess what we had for dinner tonight, Sharyn! Kale! Yep! And you’d better believe I was thinking of you. Tonight just steamed, but I blanched enough to make that wonderful salad you posted about just before your trip. Glad you’re back from your music event…hope you share about it! Debra

  6. I believe anything is possible in this infinite world of possibilites especially nowadays with the advantage of technology. I would be delighted to read a post about your dinner with Yo-Yo Ma! I would love to meet Eckhart Tolle or the Dalai Lama. Ooh, I would ask questions and talk about life and the universe. I am smiling at the thought. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Reporting back from the Goat Rodeo! | breathelighter

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