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Abigail Washburn at TED & on CNN.com

Desert Dancer 29 Apr 12 - 07:43 PM
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Subject: Abigail Washburn at TED & on CNN.com
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 07:43 PM

An essay by Abigail Washburn about her seeing the banjo light (my words ;-) and changing from law to music in her quest to improve relations between China and the U.S.

Excerpt:

Music is a powerful way to connect cultures. I see it when I'm on a stage at a bluegrass festival in Virginia. When I look out at the sea of people in lawn chairs and bust into a song in Chinese, everybody's eyes pop wide open and they nudge their neighbor: "Is that girl singing in Chinese?" After a show, people would come up to me; everyone seems to have a story about their connection to China. And I see the power of music when I'm on stage in China: I start a Chinese song and the audience roars with delight that the blond, curly-haired girl with the banjo can sing their music.

More importantly, I see how music directly connects people's hearts. Like the time a little Chinese girl came up to me after I performed at a relocation school in Sichuan's earthquake disaster zone and asked: "Big Sister Wang, can I sing you a song that my mom sang before she was swallowed in the earthquake...?" She sat on my lap and I could feel the warmth of her body. She sang me the song, and tears started rolling down her cheeks and tears started rolling down mine. The light shining from her eyes felt like a place I could stay forever.

In that moment, we weren't our Chinese or our American selves. We were mortal souls sitting together in that light that keeps us here. I long to dwell in that light ... with you and everybody... and I know U.S.-China relations doesn't need another lawyer.

Video of her March 2012 TED talk is available at the link.

~ Becky in Tucson


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