FEATURED SPOTLIGHT: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, “the king and queen of the banjo” ( Paste Magazine), are bringing their musical partnership like no other to Cary Memorial Hall on Sunday, July 28 at 7:00 pm. Béla Fleck is a fifteen-time Grammy Award winner who has taken the instrument across multiple genres, while Abigail Washburn is a singer-songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who re-radicalized the instrument by combining it with Far East culture and sounds. The two met at a square dance, began collaborating musically, and eventually fell in love. Over the years, they played together most visibly in the Sparrow Quartet alongside Ben Sollee and Casey Driessen, as well as informally at a pickin’ parties or benefits, and even occasionally as guests at each other’s solo shows. Fans of tradition-tweaking acoustic fare eagerly anticipated that Béla & Abigail would begin making music together as a duo.

Béla Fleck has the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots. His collaborations range from his ground-breaking, standard-setting ensemble Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, his live musical collaborations with the Dave Matthews Band, and a staggeringly broad array of musical experiments. From writing concertos for full symphony orchestras and exploring the banjo’s African roots, to jazz duos with Chick Corea, many tout that Béla Fleck is the world’s premier banjo player.

Abigail Washburn has the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter who has drawn critical acclaim for her solo albums. She has done fascinating work in folk musical diplomacy in China, presented an original theatrical production, and has contributed to singular side groups Uncle Earl and The Wu-Force. In addition to being named a TED Fellow in 2012, Abigail was recently named the first US-China Fellow at Vanderbilt University, in addition to Carolina Performing Arts/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's DisTil Fellow for 2018-2020.

On stage, Fleck & Washburn will perform pieces from their Grammy-winning self-titled debut as well as their new record, Echo in the Valley (Rounder, 2017). With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla & Abigail meet in the middle, head-on, to present music that feels wildly innovative and familiar at the same time. Whether at home, on stage, or on record, their deep bond, combined with the way their distinct musical personalities and banjo styles interact, makes theirs a picking partnership unlike any other on the planet.

 Tickets to see Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn at Cary Memorial Hall on Sunday, July 28 at 7:00 pm are $49-$79, and are on sale now at https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/8575714/bela-fleck-abigail-washburn-lexington-cary-memorial-hall, or by calling 1 (800) 657- 8774.

Andrew Cook