The Silkroad Ensemble – “Our Instruments and Where They Come From”

Members of The Silkroad Ensemble join us backstage at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival to share the origins of their instruments.


Instructors: The Silkroad ensemble is a musical collective that was formed in 2000 by cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Today, the ensemble features as many as 59 musicians, composers, arrangers, visual artists, and storytellers from around the world. Under the direction of Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad creates music that engages differences, pursues cultural collaboration and emphasizes high quality arts education in efforts to create a more inclusive artists community. The Silkroad ensemble performed at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival. 

Subject: Students will gain insight on musical traditions and practices of multiple cultures (Japanese, Chinese, and African American). They will learn about the sounds of different folkloric instruments, including woodwind and string instruments (flute, pipa, banjo). 

Age/ Skill Level Recommendation: Intended for all ages and levels.

Topics Discussed: The Shakuhachi, Pipa, and banjo. Importance of multicultural collaboration. Folk and classical music practices and approaches. 

Recommend Use: We recommend this video be used to engage students on folkloric musical practices and traditions. Furthermore this video highlights the importance of creating and exploring cultures outside of your own. This video can help instruct students on how to pursue other musical practices and cultures in efforts to gain artistic growth, and build inclusive environments.


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