Header Photo Credits: 1.Bob Adamek, 2.Seyl Park, 3.Chelsa Yoder, 4.Seyl Park
The young Neo-traditional string band, The Wildmans come from the hills of Floyd, Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian mountain music tradition. From campsite jamming at festivals and fiddler's conventions and classical music education comes the foundation for musical exploration that sets this group apart, taking the audience on a musical journey that reflects the growth and passion of these talented young musicians.
The band features award winning young players:
- Eli Wildman, first place winner in mandolin at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, 2018 and 2019, first place winner at the Mount Airy Fiddler’s 2017, 2018, 2019
- Aila Wildman, first place winner in Old Time Fiddle and Best All Around Performer at the 83rd annual Galax Old Fiddlers convention in 2018
- Victor Furtado, winner of the 2019 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo, and first place Old Time Banjo at Galax 2015, 2016 and 2019
- Multi Instrumentalist Sean Newman on upright bass and vocals
The group has appeared on stages large and small, performing in festivals such as Red Wing Roots, Chantilly Farm's Bluegrass and BBQ festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass, Floyd Fest, and The Steep Canyon Rangers’ Mountain Song Festival. They also regularly represent young talent along the Crooked Road in regional fiddler’s conventions. Having shared the stage with talents such as Bela Fleck, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Steel Wheels, Danny Knicely, Sammy Shelor, Sierra Hull, Billy Strings, and more., these young musicians are making their way in the American stringband scene.
Meet the Band
Eli Wildman - mandolin and vocals
Since 2018, Eli Wildman has placed first in every mandolin contest that he entered, including Appalachian State Old Time Fiddlers, Surrey County, Mount Airy Fiddler's (first place mandolin 2017 & 2018 & 2019), topped off with first place mandolin at the famed Galax Old Fiddler's Convention 2018 & 2019. He is currently attending Berklee College of Music. Eli is the recipient of the first Steve Sorensen mandolin scholarship - a new custom built Sorensen Stratus mandolin, and has also been awarded the Bill Vernon Memorial Scholarship through the Grey Fox Music Festival.
Eli Wildman began playing guitar at age seven, switching to mandolin soon after and studying both classical and traditional styles. Eli has performed extensively throughout the region and nationally at many public and private events, festivals, and competitions.
While keeping the roots feel in his music, Eli’s wide range of genres on the mandolin make him a very unique player in this region of Appalachian old time and bluegrass music.
Victor Furtado is a 19 year old clawhammer banjo player musician. In Bluegrass Today's words "a young man with an absurdly precocious talent, and a depth of understanding of old time music that is at odds with his age.” As the youngest of 9 siblings, he has been immersed in bluegrass, oldtime, and classical music his entire life. Victor is known for his uniquely innovative banjo style, genre blending tune writing, and most recently for his role as banjo player in the neo-trad band The Wildmans.
Victor has performed all around the east coast from fiddlers conventions large and small to the Grand Ol'e Opry, Woodsongs old time radio hour, the Prism, etc.. and has won many of the most competitive banjo competitions including Galax, Cliftop, Freshgrass, Maury River, and the Virginia state fair.
Victor has recorded 3 albums of his own, and has played as a guest musicians on numerous other records, including The Wildmans Wandering Thoughts.
Aila Wildman - lead vocals and fiddle
At age 15, Aila Wildman was among the youngest players ever to win the Best All Around Performer award at the famed Galax Old Fiddler's Convention (2018), also winning first place in the Old Time Fiddle category. Now at 16, Aila is touring with The Wildmans and applying to attend Berklee College of Music in January 2020.
Aila's love of music is spread in equal measures over singing, violin, and fiddle in many genres spanning from Classical to Old Time and beyond. She began studying violin/fiddle with a Classical foundation at the age of five, performing bluegrass gigs at the age of seven, and joined the Roanoke Youth Symphony at eleven. Through the Virginia Folklife Apprentice Program, Aila had the opportunity to work with Master Fiddlers Buddy Pendleton in 2012 and Nate Leath in 2018.
Originally from Dayton Virginia, Sean Newman grew up in a musical family going to old time festivals every summer. Sean started playing electric bass at age 14 in a group doing jazz, funk and rock, but a few years later he decided to carry on the acoustic tradition and shift focus to upright bass. A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Sean plays bass, guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin with many groups, but most recently has been playing bass and singing with the Dharma Bombs