Local all-women band Ladia covers other female artists for charity

by | Aug 4, 2023 | Arts and Entertainment, Music

By STEPHEN HU for Fredericksburg Today


As in many of the performing arts, women musicians have had to work a little harder for recognition and are underrepresented. One local group, a four-women band called Ladia are bringing a strong female presence to the Fredericksburg music scene. The band is made up by Katherine Preseren (who goes by KP) on keyboards and lead vocals; Carly Steenstra on violin, mandolin, guitar, and backing vocals; Joanna Smith on electric bass and vocals; and Kaitlin Gimm on drums and vocals. 

The four women in Ladia all have many connections to the local music community. 

“Joanna and I went to Mary Washington and both were music majors,” said Preseren. “Then Carly and I taught together in Stafford schools. I was teaching chorus; she was teaching orchestra.”

“Kaitlin Gimm is our drummer and she taught classes at Bang music so I met her there and got her roped into playing at the Riverside Theater,” said Smith.

“Kaitlin and I played in the symphony along with Joanna,” said Steenstra. “That was fun to discover that we did this then saw each other at the symphony.”

The members of Ladia talked about starting an all-female band for some time, then met to rehearse last December. They worked out their repertoire then debuted on April 7th at Curitiba to a very enthusiastic audience. 

“Curitiba was such a fun vibe; what a great room to be in,” said Preseren.

“The window was the thing,” said Smith. ”People walked by then came in. That doesn’t exist in Fredericksburg.”

Ladia’s music covers a range of musical styles but with a consistent message. 

“We got together and decided we wanted to do songs by women or women-led bands so that’s a lot of different genres,” said Preseren. “We do a little bit of what we all like, not just one thing so there’s country, rock and roll, a little bit of pop, a little bit of folk and bluegrass. We just want to celebrate all those bands.”

“We typically steer more towards empowerment and less of the weepy love songs,” said Steenstra. “We look for positive energizing messages.”

Those include songs by artists like Florence + The Machine, Taylor Swift, and Paramore; as well as more folky Americana acts like The Chicks, The Highwomen, The Wailin’ Jennys, and Kacey Musgraves. The band has also started writing their own material. 

“We are starting to write our own songs,” said Preseren. “It’s definitely in the works. You’ll probably hear a snippet of that at the next show, hopefully after that we’ll do more. So far it’s been all together, like a mind meld of us all figuring it out. That’s what we’d like to keep doing because it’s fun working with each other.”

Ladia’s next show is on August 19th at Eleven-Eleven and will be a benefit for Loisann’s Hope House.  

“The thing with Eleven-Eleven is all the shows are benefit shows,” said Smith. “So we had to pick a charity and I drive by that place all the time going down Lafayette. They focus on housing women in crisis so it seemed like a perfect fit with our band.”

Since all the members of Ladia are local (Gimm commutes south from Alexandria), they plan to stay focused on playing in this region. 

“We want to keep it relaxed and work easily without anyone having to get stressed,” said Steenstra.

“We have another fundraiser in September and hoping to have something in October and November so maybe play once a month,” said Preseren. “We can stay out in the world and get our name out there some more just bringing the Ladia vibe to the people.”



Ladia with Courtney King and the Knockout, Eleven-Eleven, 1111 Lafayette Blvd, Saturday, August 19th, 7:00 pm, Tickets $10 online at https://courtneykingmusic.com/courtney-king-the-knockout-with-ladia.

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