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Mountain Stage
11:03 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn On Mountain Stage

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 8:24 am

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.

Set List

  • "City Of Refuge"
  • "Am I Born To Die?"
  • "The Love Song Of Kanding"
  • "Movement Two Banjo Concerto Excerpt"
  • "Sally In The Garden / Palmyra Red / Molly Put The Kettle On"
  • "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"
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