Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit

Our Global Hit today is the result of an international collaboration that started because of Yo-Yo Ma's project. It involves classical musician Kayhan Kalhor from Iran -- and a string quartet from New York known as Brooklyn Rider.

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They've produced a new CD together called "Silent City." Kalhor and the members of Brooklyn Rider met in Massachusetts a few years back. Kalhor was intrigued by the idea of working with a modern string quartet.

The quartet's members were interested in Persian musical traditions. Two of them traveled to Iran, where Kalhor showed them around and introduced them to other Iranian musicians.

They also played together -- and that was the genesis of the new album. The CD's title track "Silent City" was composed by Kayhan Kalhor. It's a 29-minute opus dedicated to the victims of Halabja.

That's the Kurdish city that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked with chemical weapons back in 1988. Thousands of Kurds were killed. But Silent City is also a tribute to fallen cities everywhere.

In the CD's liner notes, the musicians recall a recent performance in California. Some New Orleans residents were in the audience. Afterward, they came up to the musicians to say that "Silent City" made them think of their city's ordeal after Hurricane Katrina.

Yet -- according to Kayhan Kahlor and Brooklyn Rider -- the piece is above all a reminder that life always returns.