Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn On Mountain Stage
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn appear here on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Although Washburn and Fleck have been on the show several times with numerous projects over the years, this was their first appearance anywhere as a duo. The arrangement was a bit of a happy necessity: Partners in life as well as music, Fleck and Washburn were expecting their first child at the time this segment was recorded for broadcast. Washburn joked about the sensation of playing an open-back banjo while seven months pregnant: "It's like a helmet for your belly."
The unofficial first family of the banjo, the two are widely credited with revitalizing and revolutionizing the instrument — Fleck with the three-finger Scruggs style, and Washburn with the traditional clawhammer. A powerful vocalist, Washburn sings one of the duo's songs in Mandarin; she's become fluent in the language thanks to her longtime involvement in Chinese cultural and social issues.
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