Della Mae brings bluegrass to the Boothbay Harbor Opera House
Since its formation in 2009, the Boston-bred, Nashville-based Della Mae has established a reputation as a charismatic, hard-touring live act, building a large and enthusiastic fan base while racking up massive amounts of critical acclaim with its first albums. On Tuesday, Aug. 11, this female fivesome brings their fresh take on roots and bluegrass to the stage at the historic Boothbay Harbor Opera House. Now, Della Mae finds the fivesome embracing a fresh set of musical challenges with eleven compelling new tunes that embody the musical and emotional qualities of the group's prior output while venturing into uncharted creative territory.
Although they maintain a busy touring schedule, Della Mae has also found time to serve as cultural ambassadors in the U.S. State Department's American Music Abroad program. In that capacity, they've undertaken a series of extended trips to Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, playing concerts for local audiences as well as collaborating with local musicians and participating in children's music-education programs.
"It's become a big part of our lives, and we're proud to be part of it," Woodsmith says of the group's work as musical diplomats. " It's been incredible connecting with people who don't know a lot about American culture, and learning about their music and having them learn about ours. It's really opened our eyes as people and as musicians, and hopefully it's had the same effect on the people we've met on these trips.”
Della Mae was also chosen to perform in Washington, D.C. in June 2014, as part of a special naturalization ceremony hosted by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, at which new citizens from 15 countries were sworn in by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Della Mae's efforts to use music as a unifying force are consistent with the adventurous, open-minded attitude that they've maintained from the time that fiddler Kimber Ludiker originally assembled the group. Although they came together in Boston, the young players all brought diverse backgrounds and considerable musical experience to the project. After initially gaining a reputation for high-energy live performances in clubs and festivals around the country, Della Mae expanded its reputation with the self-released 2011 debut album “I Built This Heart.” The 2013 release, “This World Oft Can Be,” proved to be a sensation with fans and critics alike, earning the group a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.
The band is made up of Celia Woodsmith on vocals and guitar, Kimber Ludiker on fiddle and vocals, Jenni Lyn Gardner on mandolin and vocals, Courtney Hartman on guitar, banjo, and vocals and Zoe Guigueno on bass and vocals.
Discounted advance purchase tickets are $20 and currently available through the Opera House box office at 86 Townsend Avenue, or by calling 633-5159. Regularly priced tickets, $25 available at www.boothbayoperahouse.com and at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 pm.