Cultural Percussionist

Leon Redbone Day

Leon Redbone (born August 26, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor and voice actor specializing in jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alleyclassics. Recognized by his Panama hat, dark sunglasses, and black tie, Redbone first appeared on stage in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the mid-1970s. He has also appeared on film and television in acting and voice-over roles.

Redbone’s concerts blend performance, comedy, and skilled instrumentals. Recurrent gags involve the influence of alcohol and claiming to have written works originating well before he was born (Redbone favors material from the Tin Pan Alley era circa 1890s to 1910). He sang the theme to the 1980s television series Mr. Belvedere and has released sixteen albums.

According to a Toronto Star report in the 1980s, he was once known as Dickran Gobalian, and he came to Canada from Cyprus in the mid-1960s and changed his name via the Ontario Change of Name Act. However, an article about producer John H. Hammond in a 1973 issue of the Canadian jazz magazine Coda states that he was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Toronto: “Sitting next to Hammond was a young white musician named Leon Redbone from Philadelphia, but currently residing in Toronto”.

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