7 Songs, 18 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While most folks who pick up the banjo tend to find inspiration in the bygone recordings of five-string luminaries like Ralph Stanley, Abigail Washburn’s muse is China. Following the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake where over five million people were displaced, Washburn and Dave Liang of Chinese electronica group the Shanghai Restoration Project collaborated to create Afterquake, a fundraising tribute to the country’s victims. Recorded accounts of homeless children singing songs and telling their stories were set to electronic beats and looped samples of sounds from the rebuilding and construction with results that sound both hypnotizing and arresting, starting with the short intro “Quake” before “Tibetan Wish” sets the tone with traditional finger cymbals, off-kilter rhythms, distorted synths and the calming voices of children. The gripping “Song For Mama” features a man singing to his mother over a sequence of rhythms built from the recordings of a construction crew rebuilding the house of his parents — truly a moving album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

While most folks who pick up the banjo tend to find inspiration in the bygone recordings of five-string luminaries like Ralph Stanley, Abigail Washburn’s muse is China. Following the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake where over five million people were displaced, Washburn and Dave Liang of Chinese electronica group the Shanghai Restoration Project collaborated to create Afterquake, a fundraising tribute to the country’s victims. Recorded accounts of homeless children singing songs and telling their stories were set to electronic beats and looped samples of sounds from the rebuilding and construction with results that sound both hypnotizing and arresting, starting with the short intro “Quake” before “Tibetan Wish” sets the tone with traditional finger cymbals, off-kilter rhythms, distorted synths and the calming voices of children. The gripping “Song For Mama” features a man singing to his mother over a sequence of rhythms built from the recordings of a construction crew rebuilding the house of his parents — truly a moving album.

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