Little Queenie

Location:
US
Type:
Artist / Band / Musician
Genre:
Jazz / Roots Music / Funk
Site(s):
Label:
Deeva Records
Type:
Indie
"She has a voice that makes sirens, mermaids, and other magical singing creatures get really depressed and go take lessons & get therapy and shit."--Micah E. Herman



Shortly after her first birthday, New Orleans native Leigh "Little Queenie" Harris was humming entire lullabies back to her parents; six months later, she'd added the lyrics."and I haven't ever really shut my face since," she told journalist-poet John Sinclair in a 1999 interview.

Sharing billing with early hometown mentors like Allen Toussaint, Dr John, Irma Thomas, James Booker, The Meters, and Professor Longhair at legendary local nightclubs, recording studios, and the Jazz & Heritage Festival from the time she was a teenager, she later went on to perform live and on disc from sea to sea, with such wildly diverse acts as BB King, Elvis Costello, Sun Ra, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Guess Who, Bonerama, Ellis,Wynton, Branford, Delfayeo and Jason Marsalis, Odetta, They Might Be Giants, Gatemouth Brown, The Gospel Soul Children, G Love & Special Sauce, CC Adcock, The Soul Rebels Brass Band, Harry Connick Jr, The Subdudes, Malavoir, The Neville Brothers, The Pfister Sisters, Astral Project, Pete Seeger, Asleep at the Wheel, The N.O. Nightcrawlers, Michael Wolff's Impure Thoughts, Zachary Richard, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Roomful of Blues, Taj Mahal, Li'l Band o'Gold, NRBQ, The Fleshtones, Delbert McClinton, Bryan Ferry, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Buckwheat Zydeco.

She was an integral part of Ron Cuccia's groundbreaking JazzPoetry Group, and it was with that quintet the now-classic "My Dawlin New Orleans" was heard in a small theatre at the city's Contemporary Arts Center for the first time. She formed various brilliant groups around her style-defying voice and imagination. notable among them : Mixed Knots, an unlikely confluence of who's who string-instrument players performing unforgettably deranged acoustic versions of songs from the catalogs of Jimi Hendrix, Duke Ellington, The Monkees, The WPA, film soundtracks, and everything in between; Roy G Biv was an innovative jazz-funk quintet consisting of two keyboardists, two drummers, and vocals; and The Ofay Soul Choir, later known as Little Queenie's Wahini Dakinis, were a breathtaking array of celebrated voices belting out songs they never expected to sing (nor did audiences expect to hear them), always to standing ovations.In the late 90s, she, Mixed Knots, and The Dakinis were joined onstage by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert called "This Rhythm Is Ours" ; during that cultural season, she and Terence Blanchard were chosen as the music community's honorees at the CAC League's annual Beaux Arts Ball. She was named Female Performer of the Year by Gambit Entertainment Weekly in 2000. In July 2003, at Central Park's Summerstages Series' Tribute to Janis Joplin, she was part of a lineup of fabulous vocalists including Phoebe Snow, Judith Owen, Kate Pearson, N'dea Davenport,Lene Lovich, and many more, each of whom sang JJ favorites accompanied by original members of Big Brother & The Holding Company and The Kozmic Blues Band ; the always-demure (and, at this point, barefoot) LQ was later serenaded in return by a hair-raising assemblage of divas onstage- and sweaty New Yorkers on the green- with that obscure old Joplin tune, "Happy Birthday To You". That fall, LQ and pianist Lawrence Seibirth recorded three tunes for SRT's Patchwork: A Tribute to James Booker, one of which, "Providence Provides", was nominated by Offbeat Magazine readers as Song of the Year. In 2004, her double-edged paeans to The Big Easy, "Dawg Days" and "My Dawlin", were featured on Shout!Factory's anthology, Doctors,Professors,Kings and Queens:The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans. Working with jazz, pop, funk, blues, folk and rock artists from all over everywhere, she's provided music for film and television in the US and Europe, produced and recorded 3 albums of her own, and contributed to countless others as a performer, composer, producer, babysitter, psychiatrist, beauty consultant, love broker, phamacologist, and diplomatic ambassador.

The completion of her last New Orleans CD, Purple Heart, had been held up for well over a year due to master data damage/loss from the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina when she decided to bootleg her own tracks ; this edition is currently being made available now in extremely limited quantity pending legit label release. Her first two solo CDs- the award-winning House of Secrets, and Polychrome Junction, which features Roy G Biv, can be found on her website, at cdbaby.com, iTunes, in non-corporate retail establishments, and, like all her fine products, in select automobile trunks from coast to coast in North America. Also available on iTunes, cdbaby.com, etc: an additional CD entitled Home, a compilation of "lost" recordings by her seminal NOLA band, Li'l Queenie and the Percolators, released on her Deeva label in conjunction with the group's reunion show in The Crescent City during the 2007 festival season, slated for filming as part of a documentary about her, ahem, adventuresome life and career.

Now relocated to North Carolina, she has begun to join forces with artists of all stripes in her adopted region, is recording & performing this summer from New Orleans to New England, and continues to surprise, disarm, and blow away new audiences, carrying musician and listener alike with her through the music of her roots, beyond the swamps, and into the 21st century.



".Leigh Harris has been one of New Orleans' boldest, most arresting singers since her days fronting Little Queenie & the Percolators--which spawned the Continental Drifters and the Subdudes-- in the early 80s, when she belted out roots- rock before it became a 90s catchphrase. Her talents have unfolded in layers over the last two decades like a blossoming flower as she's nurtured her interpretive gifts for jazz, blues, gospel, and standards.her CD House of Secrets is a stunning culmination of her art, an utterly beautiful collection. her singular talent flourishes in any setting. no matter how familiar the material, rest assured that Harris will make it her own."

-- GAMBIT ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY



" Harris, on House of Secrets, has re-invented herself and the American singer-songwriter tradition by incorporating a completely natural, European sensibility.Casting herself in the surprising, and wholly satisfying, role of a Delta version of Edith Piaf, Harris offers us one of the year's most inventive tributes to the power of song and a new appreciation for the richness of New Orleans' musical legacy."

--OFFBEAT MAGAZINE



"She's a short, dynamic Southern woman with a pure, powerful voice that can rise ecstatically to gospel abandon.radiant, tough, tight…thrilling"

-- THE NEW YORK TIMES



"A virtuoso jazz singer with rock-n-roll in her veins and the pipes & phrasing of a great gospel belter. even her scat singing has soul"

-- STEREO REVIEW



" sassy and musicianly.she imitates, instrument by instrument, a Dixieland band during her talking 'Ten Carat Blues', in which she asserts she's 'tuff' and backs it up. every time she pulls off a daredevil vocal turn, like coiling a 10-note melisma around an unsuspecting word. hurtling way, way above the band like a dolphin leaping into sunlight.Little Queenie IS t-u-f-f-f-f-f"

--THE VILLAGE VOICE



".oscillating between shimmying blues and soulful, pour-it-all-out balladry, this girl can SING, honey.a night with Little Queenie is indeed memorable." - --MUSICIAN MAGAZINE



“New Orleans’ dynamic, diminutive diva who means business… hypnotic” - --BILLBOARD MAGAZINE



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