Yo-Yo Ma Performs at Border: ‘Build Bridges, Not Walls’

By Tiarra Mukherjee Apr 15, 2019

Yo-Yo Ma wants his music to be a bridge to understanding. Accordingly, the classical cellist performed in Laredo, Texas, on Saturday (April 13) to express his views on immigration, CNN reported. The renowned musician, whose Bach Project seeks to bring unity to 36 cities worldwide, performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s six cello suites at the foot of the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, which connects Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in Mexico. 

“I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures. Between disciplines. Between musics. Between generations,” Ma told CNN. “In culture, we build bridges, not walls. A country is not a hotel and it’s not full.”

In an statement about the tour, Ma said there would be days of action in each city, giving him a chance to link with community organizers. After the performance in Laredo, Mayor Pete Saenz said that Ma “reminds us of how culture connects us,” and presented the cellist with the key to the city. Ma was born in France to Chinese parents and was raised mostly in the United States.

Ma has performed for eight presidents and been honored with multiple awards including the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award. Watch a clip from the border performance below.