Dee Carstensen
Patch of Blue


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Dee Carstensen: Harp, Vocals
Mike Mainieri: Vibraphone, Marimba, Piano, Arranger
Ed Howard: Acoustic Bass
Manolo Badrena: Percussion
Stephen Barber: String and Wind Arrangements
Leigh Mahoney: Violin
Ames Asbell: Viola
Sarah Nelson: Cello
Ian Davidson: Oboe, English Horn
John Mills: Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Flute (7)
Rebecca Henderson: Oboe (6)

Dee’s chosen instrument–an 85-pound, 47-stringed electric harp–is rarely seen in a contemporary pop setting or heard outside of stuffy chamber music halls or New Age environs. Dee uses it in a guitar-like way–to stunning effect. “I consider myself a singer/songwriter foremost,” Dee admits, “though the harp is such an integral part of me that I guess I should say singer/songwriter/harpist. I often write at the piano,” Dee explains, “and then go over to the harp to see how it sounds. The harp is like an upright piano without the black keys and I work the pedals with my feet. The challenge, because I was classically trained with all those glissandos and arpeggios, is to give the harp a rhythmic quality. It’s a never-ending lesson, and I keep stretching it.” These days she describes her harp as “a sexy instrument. There are seven pedals, very close together, and it’s very easy to get them mixed up. I feel a lot safer, especially in live performance, in my bare feet. Plus, I feel more comfortable, as if I was playing in my living room,” she admits.

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