Close Kin, Our Roots Run Deep Featured Artist - Kitty Amaral
Kitty Amaral, 11 years old, began fiddling at the tender age of 4. She discovered the violin quite deliberately through a preschool musical petting zoo sponsored by a Virginia Tech Musical Outreach Program and not too long afterward, she was gracing the local stages of SW Virginia fiddler's conventions with fiddle in tow and dancing shoes.
Kitty began her studies with Old Time fiddler and neighbor, Jerry Correll, of Elk Creek, Virginia. It was through Jerry's love of these archaic tunes that Kitty developed a strong interest in the history and origin of Old Time. She often spends her time listening to archival recordings of the Old Time fiddle masters like Tommy Jarrell, Emmett Lundy and Uncle Dick Huchison and digs around the internet for stories of the tunes they share. In recent times, Kitty has won scholarships for her musical talents from the Wayne Henderson Foundation, The Swannanoa Gathering and was awarded an honorable mention from the Davidson Institute Fellows Program for her project titled, “Fiddling from the Heart on the Crooked Road, Virginia's Heritage Music Trail”. She also has been honored by the American Federation of Music Clubs, The AADGT of New York, The Bach Parley and the Renaissance Music Academy Competition of Virginia Tech for her study of classical violin and in 2009 played a recital as a gold medal winner of the AADGT worldwide competition at Carnegie Hall, NYC. She has played in many summer festivals including; The Wayne Henderson Festival, The Abingdon Crooked Road Heartwood Festival, The Blue Ridge Backroads Show (guest of the Wolfe Brothers Band) and The Blue Ridge Music Center Youth Festival. Kitty also competes in many fiddler's conventions and last year was awarded 1st prize at Elk Creek Fiddler's Convention and Fries Fiddler's Conventions, She also placed 2nd at Galax Fiddlers Convention, Appalachian Stringband Festival (Clifftop, WV), Alleghany Fiddler's Convention and was awarded 2nd prize in Adult categories for The ASU Old time Heritage Festival and 4th prize in the adult category for the Elk Creek Fiddler's Convention. In the past she has also won 1st prize for the Johnson County, Tn (Laurel Bloomery) Fiddler's Convention, Fries Fiddler's Convention and Mount Airy Fiddler's Convention.
Kitty hopes some day to bridge the gap between genres, sharing fine fiddling around the globe. She plans to write new fiddle tunes and study music in college becoming a teacher and scholar ofhistorical fiddle repertoire.
When asked what she really wants to achieve with her music she will answer quickly, “I just want to keep it alive, spread it around and never let it drop”, this includes a goal of getting back to Carnegie Hall to share some very fine Old Time Fiddling!
Kitty appears to be on the right track having studied or played with fine fiddlers such as Brad Leftwich, Bobby Hicks, April Verch, Erynn Marshall, Jerry Correll, Eddie Bond, Matt Combs, Kirk Sutphin, James Leva, Paul Brown, and Shane Cook. She has high hopes to use her fiddling to spread joy and happiness for many years to come.