Bluegrass Bus Museum


You are here

Abigail Washburn Releases Videos of Rare Silk Road Collaborations

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Abigail WashburnWords from Abigail:

"In November & December 2011 I headed to China to tour the historic Silk Road that Marco Polo made famous centuries ago; the major trade route of the ancient world. Accompanied by the finest US musicians and humans you could meet, "The Village" toured from Hohhot to Urumqi, stopping to perform and collaborate all along the way with only the goal of building bridges and dissolving difference by communing in good music. Supported by the US Embassy and the Chinese International Center for Exchange, we performed extensively at schools, universities & theaters, and spontaneously on city walls and in town squares all across China's "Wild West". We also collaborated with amazing local musicians all along the route including Han Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, Hui and Uyghur musicians. With 12 videos (2 on National Geographic World Music), photo albums for every stop, and a map of our route along the Silk Road, we invite you to join us on the journey right here!"

The Village is Abigail Washburn (banjos & vocal), Kai Welch (keys, trumpet, guitar & vocal), Jamie Dick (drums), Jared Engel (bass), Ross Holmes (fiddle), Brittany Haas (fiddle), Cain Hogsed (sound man), Luke Mines (videographer and editor).

Abigail, as a 2012 TED Fellow, will be a featured speaker and performer at this year's TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. According to TED, this year's program includes a range of explorers, storytellers, photographers, scientific pioneers, visionaries and educators from all parts of the globe. Themed "Full Spectrum," TED2012 will take place from February 27 through March 2 in Long Beach, CA.

Abigail Washburn pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, creating results that feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before. Washburn was preparing to study law and settle in Beijing, she left to sing and play. She will be speaking in the TED Session 8: The Courtroom.

If American old-time music is about adopting earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making, Abigail has proven herself a bracing challenge to that tradition. A singing, songwriting, Chinese-speaking, Illinois-born, Nashville-based, clawhammer banjo player, Abigail 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. From the recovery zones of earthquake-shaken Sichuan to the hollers of Tennessee, she pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody’s ever heard before. To put it another way, she changes what seems possible.

"TED speakers convey powerful ideas using one of the oldest traditions in human storytelling - the spoken word," said Chris Anderson, TED's curator. "This year, we've invited talented speakers to take it one step further by asking them to share those eye-opening ideas in a way that reinvents the ancient art of oral storytelling. Under the theme 'Full Spectrum,' speakers will use rich technologies, formats and styles - think custom animation, 'slide blizzards,' robotics, rants - all designed to make a lasting impact on the listener." Full Spectrum,

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer