Deborah Van Kleef has performed her brand of rootsy rustbelt folk music for over 20 years, at concerts, festivals, coffeehouses, schools, rallies, conferences and special events, mainly in Ohio, with appearances in New York, Washington, DC and California. Her “has appeared with” list includes John McCutcheon, Pete Seeger, Rosalie Sorrels, Holly Near, emma’s revolution, Laura Love and more.
Her repertoire includes biting topical satire, anthems for a better world, saucy country blues and heartstring-tugging old-time songs, plus sing-along, clap-along, rhyme-along songs for audiences of all ages. She plays guitar, ukulele, Appalachian dulcimer, pennywhistle and assorted noisemakers, and often sings a capella.
Deborah's song, "Talkin' Health Care," has been featured on the nationally syndicated news program "Democracy Now." Her song, “The Great Fast Food Strike,” was performed by Pete Seeger at the Carnegie Hall concert for the 50th anniversary of Folkways Records. She and the song were featured on the audio documentary, “Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’,” which aired on over 160 public radio stations across the U.S.
In 2008 Deborah released her first recording, "Work in Progress." John McCutcheon descibes it as follows:
Deborah Van Kleef has finally come out with a CD of her own... and it's a gem. Her long tutelage to the likes of Woody Guthrie and Malvina Reynolds are evident in her own luminous compositions: where history, humor and passion combine to give us songs that tell real stories. Whether mining the rich lodes of traditional music, taking on bosses that ride the backs of their workers all the way to the bank or singing a simple love song to her son, Deborah Van Kleef reminds us and reassures us that music...and we...are powerful.
Deborah is a proud member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 4 and Local 1000. She served for 10 years on the Executive Board of Local 1000.