Abigail Washburn is an American folk singer and banjo player. She has been described as "a one-woman tour de force" by the Wall Street Journal and as "the most talented and creative banjo player in the world" by The Guardian.
Washburn was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in Evanston and Nashville, Tennessee. She learned to play the banjo at age 13, and was heavily influenced by the traditional Appalachian music of her grandparents. She attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she studied East Asian Studies and International Relations.
After college, Washburn moved to Beijing, China, where she learned to speak Chinese, studied traditional Chinese music, and performed with a band called the Shanghai Restoration Project. It was during this period that she developed her signature style of mixing traditional Chinese and American folk music.
In 2004, Washburn released her first solo album, Song of the Traveling Daughter, which was a critical success and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006. Her song "City of Refuge" won the title of Best Song at the International Folk Music Awards in 2005.
In 2011, she released her second solo album, City of Refuge, and was awarded the Americana Music Award for Best Album in 2012. She has also collaborated with other artists, including the rock band Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, the folk rock band Uncle Earl, and the jazz band the Sparrow Quartet.
Washburn has performed at festivals and venues all over the world, including the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada, and the National Folk Festival in Australia. She has also performed at the White House and the Library of Congress.
In addition to her musical career, Washburn has been an advocate for the preservation of traditional Appalachian music and has been involved in many educational and charitable initiatives, including the Red Ball Project, an effort to raise awareness of the impact of global climate change.
Abigail Washburn is an American folk singer and banjo player who has been recognized as one of the most talented and creative musicians in the world. Her unique style of combining traditional Chinese and American folk music has made her an international sensation and earned her numerous awards. Her career has been marked by a dedication to preserving traditional music and giving back to the community.