Abigail Washburn: Chinese Lyrics, American Roots Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email September 12, 200512:00 AM ET David Schulman Abigail Washburn: Chinese Lyrics, American Roots Listen Toggle more options Download Embed Embed <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4840756/4841567" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player"> Transcript Abigail Washburn hide caption toggle caption Extra Washburn Hear a Tune-Up Session Toggle more options Embed Embed <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4840756/4840766" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player"> She was born in Illinois. But when Abigail Washburn picks up her banjo and starts to sing, she often delivers her lyrics in Chinese. It turns out she was speaking Chinese before she learned to play the banjo. In her early 20s, Washburn lived in the city of Chengdu. She says her immersion in Chinese culture inspired her to reconnect with the roots of American music. Related NPR Stories Charlie Poole's Early Banjo Country May 16, 2005 R. Crumb's Musical Moonlighting April 16, 2005 At Deering Banjo, You Can Take Your Pick March 20, 2005 Banjo, Bass & Fiddle: Fleck & Myer, Mark O'Connor Jan. 28, 2005 Bluegrass Musician Earl Scruggs Jan. 9, 2004 Web Resources Abigail Washburn's Site Abigail Washburn Facebook Twitter Flipboard Email Purchase Featured Music Purchase Music“Song of the Traveling Daughter” by Abigail Washburn close overlay Buy Featured Music AlbumSong of the Traveling DaughterArtistAbigail WashburnLabelNettwerk RecordsReleased2005 Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?