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September 2, 2021 83 min

We are digging into the archives to celebrate some of the conversations listeners have loved the most and that have shaped this project. Béla Fleck is one of the greatest living banjo players. He’s followed what many experience as this quintessential American roots instrument back to its roots in Africa, and he’s taken it where no banjo has gone before. Abigail Washburn is a celebrated banjo player and singer, both in English and Chinese. These two are partners in music and in life — recovering something ancient and deeply American all at once, bringing both beauty and refreshment to what they play and how they live.

Béla Fleck has recorded over 40 albums, most famously with The Flecktones and New Grass Revival. His albums include Flight of the Cosmic Hippo, UFO Tofu, and Rocket Science. He has released two full album collaborations with Abigail Washburn, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn and Echo in the Valley. In 2020, he released Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions. His latest album is, My Bluegrass Heart

Abigail Washburn is a clawhammer banjo player and singer. Her solo albums include Song of the Traveling Daughter and City of Refuge. Her newest album is Wu Fei And Abigail Washburn, a collaboration with her longtime friend, the renowned guzheng player Wu Fei. 

This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn — Truth, Beauty, Banjo." Find the transcript for that show at onbeing.org.

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