Plate o’ Shrimp: Wu Fei

Generally, it’s not surprising when I stumble across an artist’s name in multiple contexts. Musicians play in one another’s bands and on one another’s CDs, and they have musical interests that you and I might not associate them with. (Extreme example: Darrell Hall singing on Robert Fripp’s 1979 album, Exposure.)

Sometimes, though, a connection comes out of nowhere. It’s the cosmic unconsciousness at work.

I mentioned recently that I’d stumbled onto the music of Abigail Washburn, a banjo player who mixes Americana with a basket of Asian influences.

Back in 2010, I’d taken a chance on an sharp-looking CD by Wu Fei, who plays the guzheng, a Chinese stringed instrument similar to the Japanese koto. The cover caught my eye; the presence of Carla Kihlstedt and Fred Frith is what really sold me.

Not only have these two played together, but they also know one another going quite a ways back. They’re even reuniting for a one-off concert on Oct. 17 in New York.

Yes, it’s all part of the cosmic unconsciousness. By the way, it turns out Wu Fei is quite the bluegrass picker.

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