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Chinese School alumna to perform at the Mahaney Center for the Arts

August 25, 2010

The Middlebury College Language Schools, summer Chinese School, and Chinese Department are proud to welcome back to campus Language Schools alumna Abigail Washburn, along with musical collaborators Kai Welch, Rob Hecht, Jamie Dick, and Jared Engel. Abigail and her band will perform on Wednesday, September 29 at 8:00 p.m., in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Lauded in Newsweek (2008) for creating a "gorgeous, joyful new sound," songwriter and clawhammer banjo player Abigail Washburn takes her bold and expansive musical vision to new heights on her third recording, City of Refuge, to be released in early 2011. Raw, ethereal, and at times lushly orchestrated, the album melds the joined forces of renowned producer Tucker Martine (the Decemberists, Spoon, Sufjan Stevens) with Washburn's classic songwriting and old-time storytelling aesthetic. Abigail and Tucker amassed an impressive group of artists and friends, including songwriting collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Kai Welch, guitarist Bill Frisell, old-timey fiddler Rayna Gellert, Jeremy Kittel of the Turtle Island String Quartet, and guzheng (ancient Chinese zither) master Wu Fei. Chris Funk from the Decemberists and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket also appear on the record.

Abigail was featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Middlebury Magazine, in an article titled "Abby in Wonderland," which can be accessed on the Web at

Excerpted from the article: "Abby Washburn (Chinese School '98, '01) is living in a dream world. In it, she can hear the high, lonesome strains of bluegrass music; she can travel exotic landscapes, witness the magical entrance of her heroes, and see other wonderful, serendipitous events happen. But like another famous dreamer, she has discovered her dream world quite by accident, backwards, "through the looking glass," as it were. This is true especially of her unexpected success as a musical artist—an artist who fuses two very different worlds, Appalachia and China."

Visit Abby's Web site at