David & Roselyn are
“street singers” who can still be found occasionally plying
their trade on select corners in New Orleans’ French Quarter –
but these are no ordinary street musicians. David Leonard and
Roselyn Lionhart met as members of the Air Force Band, have
raised a family, and supported themselves for more than 40 years
as traveling folk musicians.
The duo has been
featured in both Charles Kuralt’s America (G.P. Putnam & Sons,
1995) and the Smithsonian Institutions’ River of Song, a
four-part documentary tracing diverse musical styles the length
of the Mississippi River.
Both are extremely
accomplished musicians. David provides rhythm guitar and gruff,
baritone vocals, while Roselyn fills in with mandolin and a
vocal style reminiscent of the old-time blues “belters.” To this
fundamental sound, they add David’s wailing harmonica and
occasional trumpet solos, Roselyn’s love of the percussive
African thumb piano, and back-up singing whenever possible.
On Gumbo Ya-Ya, the
duo offers finely crafted folk renditions of favorite songs
appropriate for kids as well as the kid in every adult,
including “Froggy Went A-Courtin’,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Around the
Mountain,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” along with
much loved, all-purpose tunes like “He’s Got the Whole World (in
His Hands),” “This Land is Your Land,” and “(What a) Wonderful
Also included are
light-hearted versions of Fats Domino’s “Hey, Josephine” and the
blues favorite “Wang Dang Doodle.”
No matter what they
play, David & Roselyn mix a fun-loving, high-spirited attitude
with solid folk musicianship, assuring a good time will be had
by audiences everywhere.