Cellist Yo-Yo Ma begins concert tour in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma began what he called a root-searching tour with concerts in Taiwan and his father's hometown in China by playing J.S. Bach, one of the first composers he learned to play.

"After reaching 50, I began to wonder what the root of life is," Ma said Sunday.

Ma, who reached 50 last month, recalled that he began practicing cello at the age of 4 with his father in Paris _ by playing Bach's suites. He later moved with his family to New York.

"I'll tell you a secret _ I didn't like practicing the cello then," he told reporters. "I still don't like practicing so much now, but I could bare with it if music helps me find my roots," he said in fluent Mandarin.

Ma said he saw Bach not as German or European but also Chinese and a "musician of the world" who interpreted music with compassion and objectivity.

"People resort to such diverse methods to express their rich inner lives," he said.

After two concerts in Taiwan Sunday and Monday, Ma is to play in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and his father's hometown of Ningbo in eastern China, AP reported. V.A.