Like the ancient Eurasian trade route it’s named for, Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble fosters cultural transactions between the world’s musical traditions. Picture a high-art Broken Social Scene — one that favors ethnomusicology over indie rock — and you’ll get the idea. So it comes as no surprise that Silk Road’s in-house string quartet, Brooklyn Rider, has a D.I.Y. streak uncommon in chamber music.
Released on In a Circle Records — a tiny label founded by one of the quartet’s violinists, Johnny Gandelsman — Passport features string arrangements of Armenian folk tunes, covers of Mexican rock songs (Café Tacuba’s “La Muerte Chiquita”), and compositions by the Russian-born violist Ljova. The results are as cosmopolitan, and enthralling, as Brooklyn itself, and hearing them is like taking a walking tour of the borough — with Kronos Quartet as your guide.
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