Look-Ka Py Py Podcast (ep 68): Roselyn Lionheart, Young at Heart

The day after Christmas, Roselyn Lionheart will celebrate her 75th birthday with a party at Cafe Istanbul. Many know the lighthearted Roselyn — either directly or indirectly — as one-half of the longstanding husband-and-wife duo David & Roselyn, which, apart from the occasional tour or festival gig, has staked its claim on the streets of the French Quarter for nearly four decades.

Roselyn Lionheart, podcast photo

The couple’s history dates back more than five decades. In 1959, David Leonard and Roselyn met as members of an Air Force ensemble that toured bases around the country. Despite the tense racial climate and rampant bigotry prevalent at time, six months after their meeting, the interracial couple married. Prior to taking Roselyn’s hand, David’s parents disinherited him, yet the harsh sanction did nothing to stop the newlyweds from staying true to its tune. “David’s ebb, and I’m flow,” says Roselyn in this week’s episode of OffBeat’s Look-Ka Py Py Podcast, describing the chemistry she and her steadfast companion share.

Likewise, in 1975 when racism within David and Roselyn’s community began to affect their children, they relocated their family from California to New Orleans, a place they first visited in 1963 as part of a voter registration campaign. Preferring the unadorned honesty of passers-by as opposed to the predisposed atmosphere of a club, David and Roselyn found that playing folk music in Jackson Square fit their style, filled their pockets and fed their family. Since settling in New Orleans, David and Roselyn have released several albums; their songs have been featured in television and film; and when not busking in the Quarter, they’ve taken their no-frills, straight-from-the-heart act to festival stages across the United States, Europe and as far away as Australia. Tune in below to hear Roselyn tell their story.


Party with Roselyn for her 75th on December 26!

Roselyn Lionheart‘s 75th birthday party will take place on Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. at Cafe Istanbul, located at 2372 St. Claude Avenue (map). Roselyn and special guest vocalist Arlee Leonard will perform, along with a visiting Canadian artist as surprise guest. Admission is free and food is potluck with a cash bar.