Gina Forsyth is a singer/songwriter, violinist, and guitarist from New Orleans. She is known for her wizardry on fiddle and guitar, for an alto as unique as it is soulful, and for songs with economically written lines that cut straight to the heart—profound, unpretentious, and well-crafted.
Born in Florida and raised in Alabama, Forsyth moved to New Orleans to study classical and jazz violin at Loyola University. Forsyth quickly developed an irrevocable passion for Cajun music. She toured with the Cajun rock band Mamou, and sang “Valse de la Vie” on the group’s Ugly Day CD, released on Rounder Records in 1992. After stints with a number of Cajun bands, she now regularly tours with Bruce Daigrepont and appears on his most recent CD, Paradis, (also on Rounder Records, 1999).
She soon began writing her own songs, which became known and loved for their simplicity and transcendent beauty. Gina released her debut solo CD, You Are Here, on Waterbug Records in 2001. You Are Here draws on traditional as well as contemporary influences and includes a wide array of musicians such as Don Steirnberg, David Doucet, and her compatriot from Mamou, Steve LaFleur. It was quickly heralded as “…an eclectic, beautifully played testament to choosing the right personnel and crafting a great song. (Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, LA)”
In 2002, Gina began touring the US and Canada with the Malvinas, with current and former Texans Lisa Markley and Beth Cahill. Together the trio released two acclaimed CDs, I’m not like this (2002) and Love, Hope + Transportation (2004). In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Gina toured the US with emma’s revolution and recorded fiddle tracks on their roots rock & revolution CD (2006). Also in 2005, two of her songs, “Somewhere Off the Foot of This Mountain” and “St. Anthony,” were published in the folk song magazine, Sing Out!
Recently, Gina toured for the National Park Service with Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, and appears on the 2-CD compilation Songs Of the Lower Mississippi Delta (2011). On the new release, she sings and plays guitar and fiddle on “Aux Nachitoches,” and plays fiddle and sings “’Twas at the Siege of Vicksburg.”
Gina’s new release on Waterbug Records is Promised Land (2012). The new CD explores the promise of America and builds on her earlier release, this time with a band featuring Tipitina’s cohorts Jim Markway and Mike Barras on bass and drums, as well as percussion and accordion. It includes traditional Cajun songs such as “Belle,” original songs with the fiddle that sound centuries old, and more timeless songs that employ a variety of guitar tunings and techniques.
Gina tours nationally and regularly performs her music at venues such as the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, New Orleans’ hangout for the singer/songwriter set. She often hosts touring shows there. At her shows, Gina performs solo, with a duo or trio, or a band: all with a repertoire is as large as it is varied.