A few feet from the Rio Grande, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday, delighting audiences and advocating for unity in border cities Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
Ma has been on a two-year, multi-continent tour called “The Bach Project,” in which he’s been performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in various locations across the world. The ongoing tour includes 36 stops, and he appeared on Saturday in Laredo and Nuevo Laredo as part of an organized “Day of Action” celebrating the two communities, NPR reported.
During the event, Ma took a few not-so-subtle jabs at President Donald Trump, who most recently threatened to shut down the southern U.S. border after declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and secure funding for his long-promised border wall.
“In culture, we build bridges, not walls,” Ma said before performing beneath the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge that connects the two countries and serves as a port of entry for asylum seekers.
“I’ve lived my life at the borders. Between cultures, between disciplines, between musics, between generations,” he added, following his performance. “A country is not a hotel, and it’s not full.”
A few hours after performing in Laredo, Ma appeared in Nuevo Laredo’s Plaza Juárez for a performance in Mexico, where he addressed the crowd gathered there in Spanish.
Check out more from the day in the video from Texas Public Radio below.