B i o g r a p h y
Rebecca Weiss’ fiddling moves seamlessly from dance hall to café, bringing versatility, curiosity and excitement wherever she goes. She is a leading part of a younger generation of fiddlers – those who are driven to share, hold up and pass along rich traditions.
Rebecca grew up in the D.C. area, steeped in Appalachian, Irish, and contra dance music communities thanks to a variety of tradition-bearing mentors. She has studied with internationally-acclaimed fiddler Andrea Hoag, Grammy Award winner Charlie Pilzer and New England contra legend David Allen Kaynor.
Her respect for tradition and wonder at possibility drives her to seek out musicians to play with wherever she travels. While at college in Massachusetts, she learned from traditional Chinese musicians and dove into the New England contra dance scene as a member of Not Enough Fiddles.
Her first nationwide tour was in summer 2017, playing for contra dances from Seattle to Kentucky with the Polka Pants Band (Andrea Hoag, Charlie Pilzer, David Allen Kaynor).
Rebecca is intensely curious about playing, and enjoys absorbing wisdom and stories from elder musicians. Her favorite parts of music are its power to connect people across space, time and background and the stories it holds.
In fall 2018 she moved back to the D.C. area and started Tea and Honey, which quickly became a popular contra dance band. Soon afterward, she became the fiddler and harmony singer for Hannah Jaye and the Hideaways, expanding into folk/bluegrass and performing at venues such as Hill Country DC and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. With Steve Hickman, she co-led the Glen Echo Open Band – a dance band open to everyone that often numbers 30+ enthusiastic musicians.
Rebecca is now back in Massachusetts, based in the Pioneer Valley, soaking in the area's rich contra traditions, and playing for monthly livestream concerts; more info here.
She is an experienced and engaging teacher, offering individual lessons and group workshops with an emphasis on building skills to connect with others through music and have fun. Since March 2020, she has taught a weekly drop-in common contra tunes workshop on Zoom; more info here. She was the featured New England and Scandinavian teacher at the Upper Potomac Fiddle Retreat in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in January 2020.
Rebecca enjoys writing new tunes anytime, anywhere, whether at the bus stop or on a run. Sounds made by birds and scraping chairs are fair game. Her tune Honeylocust won Best Original Tune at the 2017 Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia. She has also won ribbons at the Deer Creek Fiddlers’ Convention and Lowell Banjo and Fiddle Contest.
Rebecca's playing can be heard on The Polka Pants Band 25th Anniversary EP, The Bog Band: The Next Generation, and Hannah Jaye and the Hideaways' debut album.