Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bluegrass in Chinese? Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck play the Iron Horse TONIGHT, Saturday, May 31st

Abigail Washburn never set out to be a songwriter or a recording artist. So when she found herself on stage in a smoke filled Beijing club playing her banjo and singing old time Appalachian mountain music in Chinese to a packed house, she was as surprised as anyone.

“During my Freshman year at Colorado College, I joined a summer program trip to China,” Washburn recalled. “It had a profound effect on me. I discovered a Chinese culture that was so deep and ancient; it changed my perspective on America.” Abigail was the school's first East Asian studies major. Her decision to buy a banjo was inspired by hearing Doc Watson singing Shady Grove in a cafĂ©. She and boyfriend Bela Flack are masters of the instrument.

May 2008 marks the release of Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet, the follow-up to Abigail’s acclaimed Nettwerk debut, Song of the Traveling Daughter. In the fall of 2006, the Sparrow Quartet became the first artists to tour Tibet and China on a US government sponsored cultural mission. The new album is an intimate exploration of crossing global and cultural lines brought to life by the borderless sounds of two banjos, fiddle and cello. If Abigail looks familiar, you may have seen her in her other band Uncle Earl. The all star collaboration features banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, acclaimed cellist Ben Sollee and Grammy nominated fiddler Casey Driessen. The artistry of Abigail is her love of both American roots musics and the Chinese culture she has been exploring for over a decade. Produced by Bela Fleck, the music was composed and arranged by the foursome. The unprecedented mixture of two banjos (clawhammer and three finger style), cello and fiddle unfolds like an otherworldly chamber suite.

This will be a unique and special musical feast for the Iron Horse that should not be missed.

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck play the Iron Horse on Saturday May 31st. Tickets Here.

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