Header Photo Credits: MAGNOLIA ELLENBURG 1, 5. KRISTEN H PHOTOGRAPHY 2, 3, 4.
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 a college level 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 musicians.
- THE WILDMANS WIN 1ST PLACE, in the 2021 RockyGrass band contest located in Lyons, CO
- THE WILDMANS WIN 1ST PLACE, in the 2022 Freshgrass band contest located in North Adams, MA.
Earning awards individually as well. Including, at the famed Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Virginia.
- 2018 Aila Wildman won Best All Around Performer Award along with 1st place in Old Time Fiddle
- 2018 and 2019 Eli Wildman won 1st place in Mandolin
The Wildmans have appeared on stages large and small, including an extensive list of festivals along the east coast and Colorado. Appearing on stages with artists such as, Bela Fleck, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Oliver Wood, Sierra Ferrell, Aoife O'Donovan, The Steel Wheels, Sammy Shelor, Sierra Hull, Billy Strings, and more.
Meet the Band
Eli Wildman - guitar, mandolin and vocals
Eli Wildman is from South West Virginia, in the Appalachian mountains, growing up immersed in the tradition of sharing old-time and bluegrass music. Playing guitar and mandolin since the age of 7, Eli now attends Berklee College of Music where he studies a wide range of genres. Since 2018, Eli Wildman has placed first in 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. Playing gigs with his sister since they were little, they continue to play together as the brother sister led band The Wildmans along with friend and brother in music, Victor Furtado.
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 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 make him a very unique player in this region of Appalachian old time and bluegrass music.
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. Aila is now touring with The Wildmans and attending Berklee College of Music along side Eli and Victor.
Aila's love of music is spread in equal measures over singing, violin, and fiddle in many genres spanning from Jazz/Americana, Classical, Appalachian 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.
"I first met the Wildmans near their home at a thing called Floydfest. They were strategically camped out beside the Virginia Folklife Stage, where they could experience the great concerts and workshops provided by The Virginia Folklife Program. Originally Inspired by traditional musicians at a local jam at the Floyd Country Store, Eli and Aila began studying with Mike Mitchell, a generous and well respected teacher in the area, and put forth effort to be where the music happens.
I got to jam with Eli and Aila between shows at Floydfest. I was very impressed with their skills and invited them to join my set later that day. We had a lot of fun then and the fun still continues. I've since had the privilege of presenting the Wildmans in numerous concerts. Their broad interests and adventurous spirit comes through in their playing styles. They'll try and succeed at anything set before them. It is a joy to play with such dedicated musicians. On top of keeping up with their studies in classical and other types of music, Eli and Aila attend traditional music festivals where they are frequently awarded for performances in their respective instrument contests.
The Wildmans have gained attention and support from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Festival, who is providing scholarships for some of the top music camps in the country. Eli and Aila are also participating in an apprenticeship with Master Artist Nate Leath that is sponsored by The Virginia Folklife Program and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
It's an honor to be part of this debut recording of the Wildmans which also includes young banjo phenomenon, Victor Furtado, and the incomparable Mark Schatz on bass. I look forward to hearing more great things from The Wildmans in the future!" - Danny Knicely, appearing on The Wildmans album, Wandering Thoughts
"Over the last few years I've had the privilege of booking The Wildmans for a number of events both large and small. Each of the band's members are incredibly talented in their own right and their professionalism on and off the stage is second to none. If you're looking for tight musicianship, haunting vocals, and a great stage presence, then this is a band you'll definitely want to check out!" -Jason Gallimore, Lead Promoter, Chantilly Farm