Can you hear it? The National Immigrant Integration Conference 2016, hosted this year in Music City will be making a lot of noise about immigrant integration. And it won't just be policy makers, advocates, researchers, business and community leaders raising their voices.
We are proud that this year's NIIC will also draw on Nashville's deep roots as a center of culture by featuring musicians and artists whose sounds are fueling our movement for justice and inclusion.We are so excited to announce that NIIC participants will experience a unique performance by Grammy award winners Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei, whose artistry demonstrates how vibrantly music can be a connector across culture.
Wu Fei, a native of Beijing currently residing in Nashville, is a master of the guzheng, a 21-string Chinese zither dating back at least 2,000 years. She plays beautifully in the instrument's traditional style as well as in a contemporary, experimental dialect nurtured by her time at Mills College and honed in the New York Downtown improvisation scene. Her mix of classical craft and contemporary sound bridge cultural divides to create a universally moving sound.
Abigail Washburn is a singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player based in Nashville, TN, whose music often meshes traditional Appalachian and Chinese folk tunes. She is also a TED Fellow, giving a talk at the 2012 TED Convention in Long Beach titled "Building US-China Relations...by Banjo" detailing how her path to becoming an international lawyer was sidetracked through an adventure in music, and how her love of Mandarin and Chinese culture allowed her to make connections at home and abroad in unexpected ways.
Together as a entirely unique banjo-guzheng duo, Abigail and Fei will sing and perform, traditional tunes, improvised pieces and original compositions inspired by the commingling of Appalachian and Chinese folk songs.
We are so excited to welcome Abigail and Wu Fei to the NIIC stage. We're inspired by their collaboration and can't think of a better embodiment of the values we'll celebrate through the conference.
We can't wait to see you in Music City!
Tara Raghuveer, National Partnership for New Americans
Stephanie Teatro, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition