Hot Diggity is the only all female bluegrass band currently playing in New Zealand. They play original songs by Heather Carrigan (mandolin, guitar and vocals) and Deborah Mackenzie (guitar and vocals) along with plenty of bluegrass favourites. Backed up by Jenine Abarbanel (bass and vocals), Sue Drake (banjo and vocals) and Krissy Jackson (fiddle and vocals), they put out a powerful, lively sound with hot instrumentation and tight harmonies. Hot Diggity was formed in 2014, but all five members are veteran musicians having played with numerous other bands in a variety of musical styles for years.
Heather Carrigan: Heather has been involved in music from an early age, enjoying the mandatory education that comes with having performing musicians as parents. She explored many genres before finally finding a musical home in Bluegrass. Having played in bluegrass bands in Australia and the United States, Heather is enjoying a new Bluegrass adventure, playing with Hot Diggity. She’s thrilled to have her original material performed by such a great group of talented ladies.
Deborah Mackenzie: Deborah has always loved to sing. Growing up in the Salvation Army gave her a great introduction to music and harmony. Previously Deborah sang in a three part harmony trio in Auckland called the Wendy Lus. In 2010 she released an album of originals, “The Ride”, with Peter Neumegen. Deborah plays in acoustic Rainberry Pie which explores many acoustic styles from alt-country, western swing, bluegrass, and pop. She is a singer-songwriter who enjoys her guitar, but LOVES to sing.
Jenine Abarbanel: Jenine came to music late, learning to play the stand-up bass in 2006 as a way of combatting her relocation blues after moving to NZ from the US in 2005. A singer since childhood, her vocals are most often compared to Natalie Merchant and Gillian Welch. Jenine is the lead vocalist and bass player for popular NZ Bluegrass band The Pipi Pickers. Jenine often says, and critics agree, that what she lacks in talent and skill she makes up for with energy and enthusiasm.
Sue Drake: Sue started playing guitar when she was a kid and bought her first banjo on impulse about six years ago. She’s been hooked ever since. While Sue enjoys playing all types of music, including a regular gig with covers band Triple S she’s started a serious love affair with Bluegrass music. Sue says the biggest draw card to playing banjo in Hot Diggity is “access to a whole group of ladies as mad about their music as me.”
Krissy Jackson: From New Plymouth, Krissy is the newest member of Hot Diggity. Krissy has been playing violin since the age of 2, and is proficient in numerous genres of music. Hot Diggity is her first bluegrass band, and she is enjoying the challenges and new techniques that entails. The rest of the band agrees she is far too good for us, and we’re surprised every time she shows up to play with us.
Feedback from fans:
“I have seen a lot live shows but seriously, it seemed to me that the show tonight was something almost magical. VERY well done.”
“Even if there were 100 all girl bluegrass bands in New Zealand, you’d still be the AWESOMEST all girl bluegrass band!”