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 contra dance band tour, in summer 2017, involved being adopted by the Polka Pants Band (Andrea Hoag, David Kaynor, Charlie Pilzer) for a road trip around the country wearing poofy pants and playing for dances from Seattle to Kentucky.
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 has been back in Massachusetts since March 2020, based in the Connecticut River Valley, soaking in the area's rich contra traditions most intensely as mentee of David Kaynor. Lately, she has been following around a variety of other New Englanders in hopes of absorbing not only rock solid rhythm but also winter driving tips. She plays for dances in various configurations (often co-anchoring the all-comers band on third Fridays at the Greenfield dance) and other community events as well as livestream concerts; more info here. A highlight of 2022 was a fiddle trio collaboration with Rose Jackson and Willy Clemetson (video).
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. From March 2020 to April 2023, she taught a regular drop-in common contra tunes workshop and jam 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 and has taught David's tunes, New England fiddle, and harmony playing at Fiddle Hell workshops online and in Westford, MA.
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.