Leon Rosselson is an acclaimed singer and songwriter with more than 50 years of performing under his belt and the author of 17 children’s books. Here you can find more information, a complete bibliography and musicography of Leon’s works as well as an up to date list of upcoming gigs.
You can also get in touch if you’d like more information or to purchase a book or record.
Join People’s Music Network on Sunday, May 22:
- 12-2pm (PST, U.S.)
- 3-5PM (EST, U.S.)
- 7-9PM (GMT)
“Turning Silence Into Song” – Leon Rosselson has been doing that for six decades, creating a sound track for unsung heroes and unspeakable scoundrels. Revisit his classics or be introduced to one you never heard before. Invite someone who never heard of Leon – it’s about time!
Please join us to enjoy an international lineup of musical luminaries celebrating the life and work of Leon Rosselson on May 22, 2022 (times above). This live Zoom concert, sponsored by The People’s Music Network, is totally free to the public. Donations to support PMN’s year round work of presenting workshops, conferences, and songswaps are gratefully accepted.
JOIN US ON ZOOM
PMN members may register for free. Non-members receive the Zoom Meeting info as soon as they register after any contribution to People’s Music Network of $2 or more. Registration isn’t required to tune in to the free livestream, but when you register, you get an automatic reminder about the show with the option to tune in via Zoom.
Register to get the Zoom link
TUNE INTO THE FREE LIVESTREAM
The show will also be livestreamed via the People’s Music Network Youtube page.
Each artist will perform a song written by Leon Rosselson. For more information on them and their recordings, see their websites:
- Frankie Armstrong, www.frankiearmstrong.uk (UK)
- Billy Bragg, www.billybragg.co.uk (UK)
- Rick Burkhardt, www.rickburkhardt.com (US)
- Martin Carthy, www.mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy (UK)
- Russ Chandler, www.russchandlermusic.com (UK)
- Barbara Dane, www.barbaradane.net (US)
- Chris Foster, www.chrisfoster-iceland.com (Iceland)
- Robb Johnson, www.robbjohnson.co.uk (UK)
- Reem Kelani, www.reemkelani.com (UK)
- Nancy Kerr, www.nancykerr.co.uk (UK)
- Sandra Kerr, www.sandrakerr.net (UK)
- Charlie King, www.charlieking.org (US)
- Leon Rosselson, www.leonrosselson.co.uk (UK)
- Martin Simpson, www.martinsimpson.com (UK)
- Dean Stevens, www.facebook.com/Dean-Stevens-Musician-158769790827759 (US)
- Elijah Wald, www.elijahwald.com (US)
INVITE SOMEONE ELSE BY SHARING THE EVENT ON FACEBOOK
There’s lots to comment on in these turbulent times so Leon has launched a new blog on Medium.com. There you’ll find provocative musings on songwriting, politics and life’s little ironies. Leon’s first musing asks if Zionism is inherently antisemitic and comes after the suspension of Ken Livingstone and the furore over supposed antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Visit the blog >>
My local Labour controlled council has just voted, like other councils, as well as universities and the UK government, to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. This consists of a rather loose basic definition, followed by a rambling discourse around the subject that twice mentions Israel and then 11 examples, 7 of which refer to the state of Israel. Anyone with a functioning brain might suspect that this definition has less to do with protecting Jews from antisemitism than with shielding Israel from criticism.
When the European Parliament were due to vote on whether to adopt this definition, I wrote to my MEPs urging them to reject it. Two replied in identical terms, pointing out that the definition makes it clear that ‘criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. Except that it doesn’t. They lied. Why would they do that? What it actually says is that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’.
The italicised phrase changes everything. Why is it there? Obviously to muddy the waters. Who is to decide whether criticism of Israel goes beyond that levelled against any other country? In any case, Israel is not like any other country. It is a settler colonial state, founded on massacres and ethnic cleansing. It is, by any definition, a criminal state. Transferring Israeli settlers into the occupied territory is illegal, as is transferring Palestinian prisoners into Israeli jails. The Wall, built largely on Palestinian land was judged illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. The collective punishment inflicted on the people of Gaza is a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel itself is a racist state where ‘Arabs’ are viewed as a demographic threat. Unlike other countries (Myanmar is an exception), it is not a state for all its citizens but for all the Jews in the world, who are given the ‘Right of Return’, a right denied to the indigenous people.
Continue Reading on Medium >
Leon Rosselson’s early vinyl recordings are now available as downloads on all major digital retail outlets, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Napster.
You can see a list of early vinyl records on the records page.
￼Now available from Five Leaves Bookshop Occasional Papers
Singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson questions what it means to be Jewish.
“For my parents and grandparents, Jewish identity, in religion, culture and language, was a given. Not so for me. I’m not religious, not a Zionist, so in what consists my Jewishness? Is a love of chopped liver and a belief that chicken soup cures all ills enough? And does it matter? This is the story of my search for answers. It is an argument with myself, with song lyrics to embellish the argument.”
28 pages £4.00
Order from Five Leaves (UK P&P free)
Send your name, address and a cheque for £4
payable to Five Leaves, 14a Long Row,
Nottingham NG1 2DH
or call 0115 837 3097, 10–5 Mon–Sat, with
your address and credit card details
or pay via PayPal to [email protected]
￼This essay was originally presented as the 2015 Yerushah Lecture at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge at the invitation of Dr Daniel Weiss
Leon Rosselson has been at the forefront of songwriting in Britain for over 5 decades. His latest collection (and final recording) features some of his finest songs, ranging from the humorous to the poignant and from the lyrical to the satirical. Stories for our times, musically varied and not a word out of place
Track List: 1. FULL MARKS FOR CHARLIE 2. WHERE ARE THE BARRICADES? 3. LOOTERS 4. BENEFITS 5. SIXTY QUID A WEEK 6. I’M GOING WHERE THE SUITS WILL SHINE MY SHOES 7. LET’S GIVE THANKS 9. REJOICE 8. MARITAL DIARIES 10. FAIR’S FAIR 11. ACTIVE AGEING 12. PARIS IN THE RAIN 13. THE BALLAD OF RIVKA & MOHAMMED 14. FOUR DEGREES CELSIUS 15. AT DAWN
With Roy Bailey, Robb Johnson, John Kirkpatrick, Liz Mansfield, Janet Russell and Fiz Shapur.
Postage to the UK included in the price.
Send a cheque as per Mail Order instructions here
or click the Buy Now button below.
In the U.S.A. & Canada, this CD can be bought via the PM Press website
On 22nd June 2014, Leon turned 80!
Friends and family joined him for a day of singing and merry-making
Leon’s life in records was served up for dessert, in flavours of ginger, date and lemon. Yum!
One day before his 80th birthday, Leon joined forces with Owen Jones, Russell Brand and fifty thousand people to protest against austerity at a rally organised by the People’s Assembly
We spotted this video of Leon in action on the web.
Credit: Garlic Toothpaste on YouTube
Visit the People’s Assembly website to find an event near you and keep an eye on our Gigs page for Leon’s next performance!
In this glorious 2 DVD set, Britain’s finest living songwriters are captured
live (on tour in Berkeley, CA), presenting two nights of their original songs,
words, and inimitable performance.
Leon’s first gig of the new year will be on Sunday 5th January at 7.30pm at Walthamstow Folk Club.
Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub,
53 Hoe St., London E17.
Call 07740 612607 for more details or visit www.walthamstowfolk.co.uk
On the 10th November, Leon will join forces with the London Lucumi Choir, which counts his daughter Daniela Rosselson amongst its singers, for a performance at Jamboree.
Click here for more information.
Lullaby for Naila is a collection of lullabies & children’s songs put together for Naila, Leon’s granddaughter, by his daughter Daniela Rosselson. The collection is made up of songs from countries with which Naila has a connection and features the London Lucumi Choir, Juwon Ogungbe & Reem Kelani.
The CD is not yet available but songs can be downloaded here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thelondonlucumichoir3
A new addition to Leon’s gig list this month, please see below the flyer for an AntiCapitalist Roadshow event in Manchester.
The Irish Left Review listens to The World Turned Upside Down and compares Leon to “an anarchist Noel Coward”
Read the full text here
For some gigs, such as the Anti-Capitalist Roadshow concert in Oxford, you can now purchase tickets in advance from this website. Payment is securely handled by PayPal and tickets will be waiting for you under your name at the door.
Hope to see you at a gig soon!
Twenty nine songs and one visionary poem on 2 CDs from singers & songwriters Frankie Armstrong, Roy Bailey, Robb Johnson, Reem Kelani, Sandra Kerr, Grace Petrie, Leon Rosselson, Janet Russell, Peggy Seeger, Jim Woodland and socialist magician Ian Saville.
Eleven different voices with one aim – to challenge the narrative that says, There is no alternative.
A piece on Leon and the World Turned Upside Down by Scott Borchert was recently published at Counterpunch.org.
“Most of all, he’s thought about what it means to be a radical songwriter, someone who accepts the foolish challenge of channeling their critical perspective on society through their artistic impulses. I say “foolish” because we’ve all seen the sort of aesthetic train wrecks that often result from the best-intentioned “political” art. It’s a risky thing to be a serious, radical artist—but I think Leon Rosselson pretty much nailed it.”
Read the full piece here.
R2 Magazine recently published an interview with Leon Rosselson as well as a 5-star review of his 4-CD boxed set, The World Turned Upside Down.
Sean McGhee first interviewed Leon Rosselson back in 1988 for the launch of Rock’n’Reel (now R2) Magazine. 24 years later, following the release of the boxed set, the pair talk again about fame, the art of songwriting, Harry Potter, pop songs and Israel.
Read the full R2 interview here.
Click on the image below to see R2 Magazine’s 5-star review of The World Turned Upside Down, or get hold of R2’s January/February issue!