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Bela Fleck And Abigail Washburn On World Cafe

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
Jim McGuire
Courtesy of the artist
Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn's new album is calledEcho In The Valley. Both artists have built lives on squeezing more sound, story and emotion out of the banjo than you may have thought possible — she in the clawhammer style of her hero Doc Watson, and he from the three-finger school of Earl Scruggs. We'll take a deep dive into both schools of performance, and talk about how Bela and Abigail manage to fuse two methods that aren't normally heard together. And Abigail's voice — just wait'll you hear what she can summon as a singer.

Bela Fleck is considered one of the world's greatest players – he's composed symphonies for the banjo, he leads the avant-garde ensemble the Flecktones and he's won 15 Grammy Awards, including the Best Folk Album Grammy he and Abigail took home for their 2014 debut collaboration. And I do mean they took it home together — they're married, and they share a home and a tour bus with their 4-year-old son Juno, who I'm sure will win a Grammy too someday. Somehow he managed to nap through most of this session, which was recorded in front of a live audience. Listen in the player above.

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Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.