Over the years, the Silk Road Ensemble has evolved from a group of strangers, brought together by artistic director Yo Yo Ma, into a close-knit band of friends. Off the Map is a testament to that transformation, as the Silk Road Project celebrates its 10th anniversary. Gabriela Frank's Ritmos Anchinos transports us into the Andes, with pipa and sheng imitating indigenous folk instruments. Angel Lam's childhood memories emerge in Empty Mountain, Spirit Rain -- an urban groove of Hong Kong carried by shakuhachi and bass. Creation of the world is at the center of Evan Ziporyn's Sulvasutra. Written for India's great tabla player Sandeep Das, the piece is an explosion of colors -- cosmic particles uniting in the Big Bang, knowledge spreading like fire throughout the universe. Osvaldo Golijov's Air to Air invokes a Sicilian protest song, prayers to Holy Mother Guadalupe and songs from the Christian Arab Easter service, known to millions across the Middle East through recordings by the incomprable Lebanese singer Fairouz. The album features the playing of such renowned superstars as Kayhan Kalhor, Wu Man, Cristina Pato, and Wu Tong, yet it is the Silk Road Ensemble's collective spirit that shines throug, proving great things can happen when strangers meet.