Yo Yo Ma Draws Thousands

The International Festival of Art and Ideas Kicks Off in Downtown New Haven

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Yo Yo Ma
Photo:Uma Ramiah
Uma Ramiah
The Silk Road Ensemble
Photo:Uma Ramiah
Uma Ramiah
Yo Yo Ma Performs in New Haven
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Yo Yo Ma Performs in New Haven

The International Festival of Arts and Ideas opened in New Haven this weekend. And though the weather didn't cooperate, famed cellist Yo Yo Ma still greeted thousands for the free outdoor concert.

Despite heavy rainstorms, nearly 8,000 people turned out to see Yo Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble perform. Under those grey skies the New Haven Green, in the center of town, was awash in a sea of brightly colored umbrellas.

Named after a network of trade routes connecting Asia to Europe, Ma's Silk Road Ensemble gathers musicians from more than twenty countries to foster global connections through music. 

Acclaimed cellist Ma took the stage at 7p.m sharp, as the rain let up briefly.

"Thank you all for coming. And it's not raining! It's never going to rain."

His prediction didn't stand -- it poured heavily through most of the 90 minute concert. But that sea of umbrellas stayed put.

The event kicked off the Festival, which will also include concerts by Jose Conde, the Afro-pop group Freshlyground and many others. The International Festival of Arts and Ideas runs through June 25th in New Haven.