Boston’s favorite bluegrass gals, Della Mae, have been selected to participate in the US State Department’s American Music Abroad program.
A dozen acts were chosen to tour outside the United States, primarily in areas where access to live performances by American artists are rare. Special focus is given to reaching younger audiences, and each of the selected participants will take part in workshops, jams with local musicians, and contact with local media as part of their roughly one month tour.
Old time duo Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer were also chosen, and will do their State Department tour with fiddler Barbara Lamb.
We caught up with Della Mae fiddler, Kimber Ludiker, over the weekend, and she shared a few words about this chance to represent American music abroad.
“We haven’t found out when/where yet, but it’s really amazing to have been selected out of almost 300 bands. We’ll get to travel to 4-6 countries around the globe spreading diplomacy through bluegrass!
I know we aren’t a traditional bluegrass band, and don’t have a full-time banjo player, but we have firm roots in bluegrass. It’s our goal to pass on that tradition while staying true to our interests as musicians: writing music and creating new sounds. Every fan brought to Bill Monroe and traditional bluegrass through Della Mae is a victory in our book!
The tour is something we’re very excited about. It is made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Della Mae presented an education plan that demonstrates the origin of bluegrass instruments and the creation of bluegrass music. My mom’s business, Ludiker Music, will be donating a few small fiddles and repertoire books to leave behind as well! I’m especially excited for the parts of our trip that will involve working with children. Before deciding to play music full-time and start Della Mae, I studied Elementary Education.”
Kimber teased me a bit for repeatedly mentioning their lack of banjo, and was quick to point out that they have no fear of the five string.
“We definitely don’t have banjophobia. I bought a banjo when I was 16; still suck at it. Jenni played it on our whole Germany tour, and Courtney plays a bunch of clawhammer. Some of her banjo playing will be on our new CD. See – we love the banjo!”
She also provided a few more general Della Mae updates…
Besides the AMA tour, we have lots of fun things to look forward to in the next little while. We’re finishing the writing of a new album to be recorded late next month in Nashville with engineer Erick Jaskowiak and producer Bryan Sutton. This will be our second album and first record label release. Very excited for the announcement of that!
We’ve also teamed up with Keith Case, and are hitting lots of fun festivals this season including Telluride, Grey Fox, Wintergrass, DelFest, Gettysburg, Thomas Point, Delaware Valley, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Saddleback, and so many more! We’re also planning a return to Germany, where we played 18 straight shows (!!) in December with a great genre-breaking band The Deadly Gentlemen (fronted by 4-finger style banjo player Greg Liszt), and powerhouse duo Cahalan Morrison & Eli West. Enjoying every second!
We’ll keep you up to date when we find out where we’re headed with American Music Abroad. The band would LOVE to spend time in Africa…”
Keep up with Della Mae’s comings and goings on their band web site.
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John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.
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