May 11, 2017
The Grammy-winning folk duo Bela (say "BAY-Lah", y'all!) Fleck and Abigail Washburn will be playing at the Kalamazoo State Theatre tonight at 8:00pm. Both accomplished in their own rights, the Beyonce and Jay-Z of Bluegrass recorded an album at home following the birth of their son in 2013. Featuring only banjo and their voices, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn netted them a Best Folk Album Grammy and material to tour with as a family. Affectionately billed as a “trio”, the banjo virtuosos are loved for their complex technique, poignant lyricism, and reverence for the rich musical history of the genre.
Fleck has received 14 Grammys in total and is widely regarded as the most innovative banjo players of the century. He was given his first banjo by his grandfather in 1973 and the rest quite literally history. Over the course of 3 decades, his musical output wanders from jazz to folk to bluegrass. Fleck and Washburn met in Nashville at a square dance where the former was playing. Abigail Washburn planned on being a lawyer in China before being offered a record deal. However her love of China has remained a constant in her life and has resulted in several original Chinese Folk songs and a TEDtalk on improving US-Chinese relations through music. The two were married in 2009.