Banjo Player Abigail Washburn Delivers “Pop-Up” Performance, April 8

Abigail WashburnBanjo player Abigail Washburn is coming to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday, April 8 to celebrate the selection of 16 undergraduates who will study abroad in Asia this summer and fall as Phillips Ambassadors. The singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player will share a few songs with those on UNC campus during a “Pop Up” concert at 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday on the steps of Wilson Library.

Washburn pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and otherworldly.

Having toured the world, Washburn has Chinese language skills and profound connections to culture and people of China. She is one of the few foreign artists currently touring China independently and regularly. She completed a month-long tour (November through December 2011) of China's Silk Road, supported by grants from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Washburn, along with 24 other creative thinkers worldwide, was named a TED fellow and delivered a talk at the 2012 TED Convention in Long Beach about building US-China relations through music. In March of 2013, she was commissioned by New York Voices and the NY Public Theater to write and debut a theatrical work titled, Post-American Girl, which draws from her 17-year relationship with China and addresses themes of expanding identity, cultural relativism, pilgrimage, the universal appeal of music and opening the heart big enough to fold it all in. Washburn was recently named the first U.S.-China Fellow at Vanderbilt University. Her efforts to share U.S. music in China and Chinese music in the U.S. exist within a hope that cultural understanding and the communal experience of beauty and sound rooted in tradition will lead the way to a richer existence.

Washburn’s visit to UNC-Chapel Hill is sponsored by the Phillips Ambassadors, a global education program of the Carolina Asia Center, in collaboration with Carolina Performing Arts.

Photo credit Shervin Lainez