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Della Mae to Represent Bluegrass Music Through American Voices

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Della MaeAmerican Voices and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce the lineup for the 2012-13 season of the American Music Abroad program. This season, American Music Abroad received nearly 300 applications from musical ensembles in over 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The all female group of artists, Della Mae, was selected to represent the bluegrass music genre.

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. The group features two-time National Fiddle Champion, Kimber ludiker, innovative Flat-pick Guitar player Courtney Hartman, the impeccable Mandolinist, Jenni Lynn Gardner, seasoned bassist Amanda Kowalski, and powerhouse vocalist Celia Woodsmith.

Formed in boston in 2009, 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. The group blends years of experience with traditional bluegrass and Appalachia mountain music and modern singer-songwriter sensibilities.

After a live round of auditions held in New York, St. Louis and San Francisco for top ensembles, the following 12 bands were selected for their musical excellence and educational ability:

  • Act of Congress (Americana/Acoustic Rock, Alabama)
  • Audiopharmacy (Hip Hop/Dub, California)
  • Boston Boys (Soul/Country, Massachusetts)
  • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer with Barbara Lamb (Folk/Roots, Maryland)
  • The Clinton Curtis Band (Rock/Blues, New York)
  • Della Mae (Bluegrass, Massachusetts)
  • Keola Beamer & Jeff Peterson, with Moanalani Beamer (Hawaiian Slack Guitar/Hula, Hawaii)
  • Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road (Heartland Acoustic, Oklahoma)
  • Mahogany Jones (Hip Hop/Soul, Michigan)
  • Matuto (Americana, New York)
  • PROJECT Trio (Jazz/Classical/Hip Hop, New York)
  • Real Vocal String Quartet (Classical/World Strings, California)

As part of the American Music Abroad program, the Department of State and American Voices will create a series of international musical exchange tours. International touring activities will include public concerts, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions with local musicians and media outreach. Ensembles will travel around the globe for approximately one month each between May 2012 and May 2013. During their respective tours, each ensemble will visit four to six countries.

American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries with little or no access to live American performances. As part of the American Music Abroad @Home portion of the program, ensembles will also conduct workshops and performances at local schools, community centers and other venues in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. These international exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 320 current or former heads of state and government.

The Association of American Voices has presented concerts, workshops and master classes, and summer youth performing arts academies to over 200,000 audience members in 110 countries over the past two decades. With a focus on nations emerging from conflict or isolation, American Voices has taken its unique brand of cultural engagement programs, Jazz Bridges, YES Academy and Hiplomacy, to nations such as Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan. In 2010, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) selected American Voices as a Best Practice Organization in recognition of its work in cultural engagement.

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