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Yo-Yo Ma Joins Artists from Five Continents on New Album - Notes for the Future - on Sony Classical

Yo-Yo Ma: Notes for the Future

Out September 10 as a Digital-Only Release – Available Now

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma's new album, Notes for the Future on Sony Classical, is available now, September 10, 2021 as a digital-only release.

Notes for the Future brings together extraordinary artists from five continents: across nine tracks, Ma joins Angélique Kidjo, Mashrou’ Leila, Tunde Olaniran, Jeremy Dutcher, Andrea Motis, ABAO, Lila Downs, and Marlon Williams to explore our fears and hopes, reminding us that the future is ours to shape, together.

Notes for the Future captures the full range of human emotion, from the lament of the album’s lead single, a collaborative version of “Blewu” with Angélique Kidjo (named “Africa's premier diva” by TIME), to the energetic prayer for home in “Ha’oud (I Will Return)” from Ma and Beirut-based rock band Mashrou’ Leila (dubbed “the Arab world’s most influential independent band” by Financial Times). Like so much of Ma’s work, Notes for the Future is at once profoundly global and deeply rooted at home, with tracks from the Americas including: “Doorway,” an optimistic ballad of connection from Ma and Flint, Michigan-based musician Tunde Olaniran; Ma’s stark solo performance of the Calvary Ostinato from the late Chicago composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s seminal “Lamentations, ‘Black/Folk Song Suite;’” and “Honor Song,” a Mi’kmaq anthem from Ma and Jeremy Dutcher that invokes our collective responsibility to care for the planet we share.

Originally inspired by the Bach Project, Yo-Yo Ma’s global journey to explore how culture can help us imagine and build a better world, these nine tracks — featuring vocals in Arabic, Zapotec, Catalan, Paiwan, Spanish, Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqey, Ewe, Maori, and English — celebrate the wisdom of the generations that were and the possibility of those to come.


  1. Lamentations, "Black/Folk Song Suite": III. Calvary Ostinato (by Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)

  2. Honor Song (with Jeremy Dutcher)

  3. Doorway (with Tunde Olaniran)

  4. Blewu (with Angélique Kidjo)

  5. Ha'oud (I Will Return) (with Mashrou' Leila feat. Narcy)

  6. El Cant dels Ocells (Song of the Birds) (with Andrea Motis)

  7. La Sandunga (with Lila Downs)

  8. Thank You (with ABAO)

  9. Te Whakāroha Nui (with Marlon Williams)


Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, where he began to study the cello with his father at age four. Three years later, he moved with his family to New York City, continuing his studies at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education, graduating from Harvard in 1976. Yo-Yo’s career is testament to his faith in culture’s power to generate the trust and understanding essential to a strong society. This belief inspired Yo-Yo to establish the global cultural collective Silkroad, and, more recently, to set out on the Bach Project — a six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s suites for solo cello and an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.

Sony Music Masterworks comprises Masterworks, Sony Classical, Milan Records, XXIM Records, and Masterworks Broadway imprints. For email updates and information please visit

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