Ditty Bops

Ditty Bops Biography

The Ditty Bops are Amanda Barrett and Abby Dewald, a pair of California artists who have bewitched LA’s musical pleasure-seeking crowd with their pure-voiced harmonies, magnetic personalities, and brilliant strummin’n’fretting (Abby on guitar and Amanda on mandolin and dulcimer). The duo just finished recording its self-titled debut on Warner Bros. Records with producer Mitchell Froom (Suzanne Vega, Crowded House, Elvis Costello) currently scheduled for release this summer, 2004.

Playing with a variety of musical accompaniment styles, from jugband to contemporary folk pop, to the indescribable and unprecedented, The Ditty Bops see their work as encompassing more than just music. Peformance art, visual art, storytelling, and a plain old marvelous time - a “night to remember,” all meld together in the brew. The Ditty Bops cite such diverse musical and emotional influences as Dan Hicks and his Hotlicks, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Malvina Reynolds, Andrew Bird, The Hot Club of Cowtown, western swing, ragtime, early jazz, musical theater, nostalgia for things that never were, the intimacy of death, and disfigured longing that forgets its purpose.

The Ditty Bops see music-making as an ongoing celebration of the mysterious regeneration of modern culture, even as it crumbles into iridescent dust. Sometimes you get the feeling you’re listening to a girl at home sick in bed making bizarre, poetic observations about the goings-on outside her window. Other times the music rises like the voice of an entire colony of country bees strumming banjos and just enjoying life. They’ll temper a disturbing lyrical detail with a note of true joie de vivre, or sing of unstained innocence with the subtlest twinge of ambiguous laughter.

Abby and Amanda have both led varied artistic lives since childhood. Amanda, who comes from a family of performers and eccentrics (her father is a professional clown and her mother is a Pagan Celtic musician) learned to juggle, play dulcimer and sing professionally as a child. Likewise, Abby has been cultivating her spontaneous, crazy-pickin’ guitar sound and creating obsessively intricate, whimsical drawings from her own personal mythology from a young age. She studied art in school and created all of the art for the album, and most of the art for the website - www.thedittybops.com.

When the girls met each other at the Rocky Horror Picture Show in New York, while both were 20 years old, it was only a matter of time before their talents would alchemically merge together into an astonishing musical machine. Indeed, four years later fate congealed when Abby and Amanda began to explore the fruitful possibilities of making music together. In the spring of 2002, while chasing a runaway cat into an alley, the girls met their musical mentor, Marty, who named the band The Ditty Bops. It was Marty who used to say, “Some people grow orchids; I grow Ditty Bops.” He introduced them to many musical influences and provided a practice space for them to develop their unique sound.

Soon, they started playing around LA as a 4 piece acoustic band, and were discovered by Craig Aaronson (A&R of Warner Bros. Records) while playing at Molly Malone's in Hollywood. Since then, The Ditty Bops have generated a prolific body of work and garnered a substantial following of admirers who appear time and again at their live performances, eager to experience their dreamy voices, strangely beautiful harmonies, bizarre stories, and androgynously maternal reassurances for all of life’s woes.

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