Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit

We end today's program with music from Abigail Washburn's latest recording with the Sparrow Quartet.

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The music was inspired in part by the group's trip to Tibet in 2006.

But it was also the product of a personal decision by Abigail Washburn to merge her Mandarin language skills with her musical talent.

Washburn says it's a decision that took a lot of soul searching.

Washburn: I was asking myself this basic question before going to Beijing University to study law, I asked myself the question, "I speak Chinese well enough that I can do a lot with this language. What do I want to do with it. And it was shortly thereafter that I got my answer, and it didn't come from a place I expected. It was when I was playing banjo and singing in a random hallway on a roadtrip before I left on my plane for China that an A&R agent for a record label heard me and said "You need to be making records," and that's when I moved down to Nashville, cut a demo, got a record deal, and swiftly in a matter of months my entire life direction changed."

Washburn: The reason I'm going back and telling you about all this is because I believe I play music because it's the best way to use my ability to speak Chinese. It's the best way to communicate. Being able to tap into these vibrations and tones that have a wealth of possibility in terms of transforming people on a level other than the intellect. That's where we're really going to see change. At least it's one other option. And it's an option that I think we need to have armies and armies of people pursuing.

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet from their new self-titled CD.