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  • Now Available: Music of Central Asia Vol. 10: Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route

    Smithsonian Folkways and the Aga Khan Music Initiative celebrate the tenth and final release of their award-winning "Music of Central Asia" series with the release of a groundbreaking CD/DVD set entitled Borderlands: Wu Man and Master Musicians from the Silk Route. Click here to purchase.

    Watch a mini-documentary about the making of Borderlands (CFV10392)

    Free Download: “Shadiana (Celebration)

    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 anddutar.”

    The results—newly arranged traditional songs and original improvisations - make for an extraordinary listening experience, blending sounds from historically kindred musical worlds. 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.

    Learn more about the Music of Central Asia Series
    Watch an informational video on the Aga Khan Trust For Culture and Music Initiative
    Learn more about Wu Man