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Biography

Vocals

Illinois-born, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn (September 15 panelist) is a singer and songwriter as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and as attuned to the global as she is to the local. Her music ranges from the string band sound of her all-female music group Uncle Earl; to her bilingual solo release Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005); the mind-bending “chamber roots” sound of the Sparrow Quartet; and the rhythms, sounds, and stories of Afterquake, her fundraiser CD for the Sichuan earthquake victims. Other recordings include City of Refuge (2011) and her most recent release, Echo in the Valley (2017), recorded with her husband, Grammy award-winning banjo virtuoso, Béla Fleck. Their acclaimed, self-titled debut, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn (2014), earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. Ms. Washburn enjoys profound connections to culture and people on the other side of the Pacific. She completed a month-long tour of China's Silk Road supported by grants from the US Embassy in Beijing. She was named a TED fellow and gave a talk at the 2012 TED Convention in Long Beach, CA on building US-China relations through music. In March 2013, she was commissioned byNew York Voicesand the NY Public Theater to write and premiere the theatrical work Post-American Girl, which draws from her seventeen-year relationship with China. Ms. Washburn was recently named the first US-China Fellow at Vanderbilt University.  

(September 2018)