Abigail Washburn

A singing, songwriting, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player, Abigail Washburn is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local as she pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds. Her music ranges from the “all-g’earl” string band sound of Uncle Earl to her bi-lingual solo release Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005), to the mind-bending “chamber roots” sound of the Sparrow Quartet, to the rhythms, sounds and stories of Afterquake (2009), her fundraiser CD for the Sichuan earthquake victims.  Her latest release is City of Refuge (2011), written with collaborator Kai Welch.

Armed with Chinese language ability and profound connections to culture and people in Asia, Washburn is one of the few foreign artists currently touring China independently and regularly. In 2011, she completed a month-long tour of China’s Silk Road supported by grants from the US Embassy, Beijing. She was named a TED fellow and gave a talk at the 2012 TED Convention in Long Beach about building US-China relations through music.  Her efforts to share US music in China and Chinese music in the US exist within a hope that cultural understanding and the communal experience of beauty and sound reaching out from tradition will lead the way to a richer and a more profoundly rooted existence for all humans in the midst of a swiftly evolving world order.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)