Check out Deb's website. Deb Carstensen’s fiddle music has inspired many happy feet at CFOOTMAD contra dances. She started playing classical violin when she was 10, and played through her first year of college. Then she did not touch the violin for 15 years. In 1990, she picked it up again and decided that she wanted to play for the fun of it and for the “right brain” of it. She looked for a teacher who could help her learn to play by ear and improvise, and found Ron Jones at Swallow Hill. Deb says, “He does a great job at teaching classical violinists to play folk music, and therefore fiddle! I immediately was attracted to Celtic music, and here I am today.”

Deb likes playing for dancers, whether contra, or Irish Step dancers or cloggers. She loves dancing herself, and so tries to find music that she would enjoy dancing to. She adds, “I try to play in such a way that it lifts the dancers and drives them up and down the halls!” One of her secrets is to surround herself with excellent musicians. She often plays with Tina Gugeler (hammer dulcimer), and they like to add other musicians—keyboard, guitar, flute, etc.—to add rhythm and new dynamics to the sound. The two of them, with various combinations of other people, have formed the bands Highstrung, Unstrung, Restrung, Wellstrung, and Unstrung Heros. “Whatever the band,” she says, “I am playing with some of the finest musicians in the area.” She has also studied at fiddle camps and workshops with some of the best fiddlers in the world, including Alisdair Fraser, Buddy McMaster, Jerry Holland, Martins Hayes, Kevin Burke and many others. She says, “This has really helped me get the essence of the different Celtic idioms and helped me appreciate the music even more.” In conclusion she says, “Fiddling has opened a world to me that is filled with some of the best people I know and I am extraordinarily lucky.”