Cellist Yo-Yo Ma offers ‘Songs of Comfort and Hope’ in duo album

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    By Alicia Powell

    NEW YORK – Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott have teamed up for the third time in “Songs of Comfort and Hope,” dedicated to all the people who are going through tough times around the world.

    The album, coming out on Friday, starts by acknowledging the Black Lives Matter movement with “Ol’ Man River.”

    Other tracks include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Moscow Nights,” “Waltzing Matilda,” and the South African lullaby, “Thula Baba.”

    “All of these songs have specific meaning for people in different places,” Ma said, noting that the coronavirus pandemic had been a global experience.

    “We’re hoping that this is… a way of reaching into people’s hearts and memories and … to kind of go deep inside and then take us back out again.”

    In November, Yo-Yo Ma and Stott performed in Taiwan under strict pandemic restrictions he described as surreal.

    “I go straight from the room to the car to backstage to onstage and then go straight back. Yeah, don’t see anybody, don’t talk to anybody. It’s really weird,” he said.

    “And then you go into a hall, it’s like 5,000 seats and people, everybody’s in masks and they’re sitting together. It’s kind of really special.”