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TED Announces Speaker Program for TED2012 Conference: "Full Spectrum"

Abigail WashburnNew York -- Abigail Washburn (US | China) - Singer + banjo player + cultural activist Singer, songwriter, clawhammer banjo player, and recording artist who tours the world performing in both English and Chinese will be a featured speaker at this year's TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED announced its speaker line-up for TED2012, the organization's flagship conference. This year's program includes a range of explorers, storytellers, photographers, scientific pioneers, visionaries and educators from all parts of the globe. Themed "Full Spectrum," TED2012 will take place from February 27 through March 2 in Long Beach, CA.

Abigail Washburn pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, creating results that feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before. Washburn was preparing to study law and settle in Beijing, she left to sing and play. She will be speaking in the TED Session 8: The Courtroom.

If American old-time music is about adopting earlier, simpler ways of life and music-making, Abigail has proven herself a bracing challenge to that tradition. A singing, songwriting, Chinese-speaking, Illinois-born, Nashville-based, clawhammer banjo player, Abigail is every bit as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and every bit as attuned to the global as she is to the local. From the recovery zones of earthquake-shaken Sichuan to the hollers of Tennessee, she pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody’s ever heard before. To put it another way, she changes what seems possible.

"TED speakers convey powerful ideas using one of the oldest traditions in human storytelling - the spoken word," said Chris Anderson, TED's curator. "This year, we've invited talented speakers to take it one step further by asking them to share those eye-opening ideas in a way that reinvents the ancient art of oral storytelling. Under the theme 'Full Spectrum,' speakers will use rich technologies, formats and styles - think custom animation, 'slide blizzards,' robotics, rants - all designed to make a lasting impact on the listener."

During TED2012, TED hosts TEDActive, a complementary conference event in Palm Springs, Calif. Attendees watch a live HD simulcast of the Long Beach speakers and participate in special experiences and creative projects designed to bring the community together to take great ideas into action. A limited number of passes are still available to attend TEDActive. Learn more here.

TED2012 is sold out, with 1,500 people from over 40 countries expected to attend. Around the world, people can watch the conference with a TED Live membership, the annual membership that offers access to a private live webstream of both the TED2012 conference and TEDGlobal 2012 in July. The TED Live webcast comes complete with behind-the-scenes reporting and a digital platform to communicate in real time with fellow members. Other TED Live membership benefits include one year of TED Books (short eBooks by TED speakers and Fellows) and an Amazon Kindle Fire to view them on. Learn more here.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, Kathryn Schulz, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Dan Ariely, Nandan Nilekani, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Long Beach, California, along with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs; the annual TEDGlobal conference is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the official TED App for iPad and iPod. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; TED-Ed, dedicated to video for educators; and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

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