Denise Guerra

Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, who released a self-titled debut album as a duo on Friday, have lived almost parallel lives. Both women were born in 1977, and both grew up to be accomplished and virtuosic folk musicians, albeit in completely different folk traditions. Wu is a composer and a world-renowned virtuoso on the guzheng, a 2500-year-old string instrument which is a staple of Chinese folk music. Meanwhile, Washburn is a banjo player who has won a Grammy Award for her reinterpretations of traditional Appalachian music.

On rare occasions, Dad and I would get together for lunch. It was 2014, and I had just started a job at NPR. Dad was retired and lived 60 miles away.

From what I remember, we ate dim sum, which meant driving through the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the massive skyscrapers glistening in the afternoon sun.

It was quiet in the car. I was thinking about how Mom and Dad used to make this commute to LA every day for work. Two hours in the morning, two hours at night.

Dad interrupted my thoughts, pointing to a building on the side of the freeway.