Abigail Washburn is an American clawhammer banjo player and singer. She performs and records as a soloist, as well as with the old-time bands Uncle Earl and Sparrow Quartet, experimental group The Wu Force, and as a duo with her husband Béla Fleck.Early lifeWashburn was born in Evanston, Illinois, and spent her elementary and part of her junior high school years in a suburb of Washington, D.C.. She attended high school in Minnesota, then attended Colorado College, where she was the school's first East Asian studies major. She learned Mandarin during the summers in intensive programs at Middlebury College, Vermont. Following this, she spent some time living in China, where she had dreams of being a lawyer . After living in Vermont for three years, Washburn traveled down south before a planned trip to China to become a lawyer. She stopped at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and spent five days meditating.