Meet Debo: Jewish Violinist of the Week

by Allison Friedman / January 23, 2019

Allie: What brought you to DC?

Debo: I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but spent most of my adult life in San Francisco. I moved to Mexico in 2011 and spent almost five years playing in an orchestra in the Yucatan. I met my partner online in Mexico City. Then, we moved to Athens, Greece, and then to DC because my partner works for the State Department and his job brought him here.

Allie: What instruments do you play?

Debo: I play violin, viola, and my mom’s a piano teacher so I grew up playing piano. I’ve also recently started playing the ukulele.

Allie: What instrument do you enjoy most and why?

Debo: Violin. It’s very challenging. I feel like no matter how many years I practice, I can never fully master it. When I do feel good about it, it’s super rewarding. I can play violin with other people, in small ensembles, orchestras, and in the last few years I’ve been playing in operas.

Allie: How did you start playing violin?

Debo: I’ve playing since I was five. My older sister played violin, and I wanted to do everything she did.

Allie: What is your favorite kind of music to play?

Debo: I always love playing Beethoven. It’s meaty and familiar enough that you can just delve right into it without having to overthink it.

Allie: Who is one of your musical role models?

Debo: My friend David. I used to play in a string quartet with him in San Francisco, and he plays violin while he does yoga. He wears a suit jacket and yoga pants. It’s really amazing all the yoga positions he can do while he plays violin. It’s really out of the box.

Allie: How would you spend your dream free day in DC?

Debo: I would wake up, eat some avocado toast, drink coffee, and journal. Then, I would take a long walk. I like to explore and people watch. I would go to the Hirshhorn and see some modern art and talk to strangers. I would bring my tiny sketchbook with me. Then, I would go find something yummy to eat, maybe at Busboys and Poets. After that, I would go to a drag king show at Pretty Boi. It’s such a fun vibe and there’s so much diversity in those kinds of spaces.

Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax at the end of a long week?

Debo: I like to go to the gym to swim. Afterwards, I’ll sit in the hot tub and the sauna, get a massage, and then go home and snuggle with my dog Pippy and share a meal with my partner and niece.

debo and pippy

Allie: What is one thing you want to learn this year?

Debo: I want to take a jazz or tap dance class. I have a hard time with structured dance classes, which is why I sometimes go to ecstatic dances.

Allie: What are ecstatic dances?

Debo: You just go and there’s a DJ, you don’t talk to people, you don’t drink, you just dance it out in a free way. You can get on the floor, be an animal, there’s no questioning anybody’s expression. It’s a safe place to do that.

Allie: When Jews of DC Gather…

Debo: They have a potluck.







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