First Person

Locally grown bluegrass

Kimber Ludiker, founder of and fiddler for the Boston-based all-female band Della Mae, believes her music will grab you.

Karli Ingersoll

Growing up, I was playing American fiddle tunes and Texas-style, Western swing, Bob Wills stuff. I came to bluegrass after going to my first bluegrass festival when I was about 15 years old. I moved to Boston after college to immerse myself in a city that has a great music scene. The acoustic and fiddle music scene here is one of the best. [She recently moved to Nashville.]

When I started this band, I started it actually as a joke. Late at night with a group of friends at a music camp in California, we were joking around about how fun it would be to start an all-female bluegrass band that played high-testosterone really fast bluegrass music, what we called “mangrass.” So I got a group of ladies together and we booked a couple of shows. The shows were really fun, and we decided it wasn’t a joke anymore. We decided to be a real band and not a gimmick.

The music is a combination of the influences of all five ladies in the band. We have a singer-songwriter in there, we have an Americana element, we have this kind of indie-pop thing happening. But we’re definitely grounded and rooted in bluegrass.


Where the band is now is a good place to be. We just released an album [This World Oft Can Be] on [Burlington’s] Rounder Records. Rounder has always been kind of a goal for the future in a lot of our eyes, growing up as musicians with their artists like Alison Krauss as role models.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

A lot of times people say: “Traditional music? That’s not very cool.” Or: “Bluegrass? I don’t listen to that.” But you go to a show and just have an open mind, and that music will touch you, that music will grab you.  — As told to Joel Brown

Interview has been edited and condensed.  Send comments to

HEAR FOR YOURSELF Della Mae plays a free concert at the Summer Arts Weekend in Copley Square Friday night.