About Della Mae
From songs that explore independence and urban adventure to timeless themes of love and loss, Della Mae brings acoustic grit and twang to town with no apologies.
Della Mae features the reigning National Fiddle Champion Kimber Ludiker, impeccable mandolinist Jenni Lynn Gardner, seasoned bassist Amanda Kowalski, accomplished guitarist Avril Smith and the driving banjo of Grace Vanï¿½t Hof. Formed during the Fall 2009 in Boston, Della Mae was born from a yearning for a traditional bluegrass sound in the heart of New England. Della Mae strives to create music that tells a story while delivering a punch.
From an early age Kimber excelled at Texas-style fiddling, she went on to win multiple fiddle championships including the Washington State Championship, Colorado State Championship and the Grand National Fiddle Championship. She has performed with Mark Oï¿½Conner, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, and Hanneke Cassel and is considered a pillar in the next-generation fiddle scene.
Like Kimber, Avril began playing during early childhood. Avril is as capable on a Tele as she is on a Martin and has twice been the recipient of the Washington Area Music Associationï¿½s top honors for Best Contemporary Folk Instrumentalist.
Both Grace and Amanda share a dual background in classical music and traditional bluegrass. Amanda has recorded and performed with many notable artists including Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka, Roland White, Darol Anger and Abigail Washburn. From the Sydney Opera House to the Grand Old Opry, Amanda has performed on stages worldwide.
Grace built her first banjo at age fifteen and has since been in love with Bluegrass music. She received multiple scholarships to attend East Tennessee State Universityï¿½s prestigious Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music program. As both a banjo player and vocalist, Grace has toured throughout the United States and Europe, including performances at MerleFest, the Ulster American Folk Festival (Omagh, Ireland) and the International Folkdance Festival (Palma De Mallorca, Spain).Jenni began playing with her family at local bluegrass concerts, church, and school. A sought after session musician, songwriter, and side woman, Jenni has performed everywhere from the Cornish Bluegrass Festival (Newquay, England) to the Grand Ole Opry. She toured extensively with 2007 IBMA Male Vocalist of the year, Bradley Walker, and was part of the 2009 IBMA Recorded Event of the Year, “Proud to be a Daughter of Bluegrass”.
Della Maeï¿½s musical style seamlessly blends years of experience with traditional mountain music and modern singer-songwriter sensibilities. With energetic live performances and award-winning instrumental abilities, the five women of Della Mae are turning heads.