Florida native Gina Forsyth was not born Cajun, though she can sound like it. Like Ann Savoy, Forsyth adopted the Cajun culture and has been much loved in return.
After studying violin at Loyola University in New Orleans, Forsyth moved to Southwest Louisiana in 1987 to immerse herself in the Cajun culture.
There, she absorbed the folkways of the Cajun people, their music and food, and soon the young musician was joining in the musical fun that characterizes the culture.
Forsyth plays a wicked fiddle on many a Cajun CD.
She toured and recorded with the Cajun rock band, Mamou, in the late 80's.
Bruce Daigrepont features Forsyth on several of his records, including Coeur de Cajun, (1989), and Paradis, (1999). She also appears with the popular accordionist at many of his performances, as well as his regular gig for the Sunday afternoon fais do do at Tipitina's in New Orleans. Forsyth collaborated with Cajun fiddle giant, Waylon Thibodeaux on his award winning 1996 CD, Dans La Louisiane, and contributed to Out of the Blue, recorded by the Burns Sisters in 1999. Her work also appears on numerous compilations.
But Gina Forsyth has other musical aspirations. She is an outstanding songwriter as well as a crack musician.
Drawing upon her Southern heritage, she writes songs about the people of Alabama, where she grew up, and their distinctive lifestyle. Many of her songs are reflective in nature, born of an exploration of her own inner landscape. Then there are the obligatory social commentary songs without which no folk singer's repertoire would be complete.
Hers are incisive and often humorous.
Haunting tunes and insightful lyrics are her trademarks.
Forsyth is a habitue of the Neutral Ground Coffeehouse, the folk music mecca in New Orleans, and has appeared at folk festivals throughout the nation, winning many awards.
Offbeat, the New Orleans music magazine, has honored her as its People's Choice Winner in the folk category in 1994, and Best Singer/Songwriter in 1995 and 1996.
A CD with Gina Forsyth up front has been long overdue.
In 2001, Forsyth rewarded her fans' patience with a great debut CD entitled You Are Here.
David Doucet, Mike West, Doug Belote, and Myskin are among those who join Forsyth on the versatile mix of 15 songs, touching many musical bases: folk, rock, country, gospel, Cajun.
There are love songs, such as the title cut, and boogie tunes, like Everywhere I Am.
Some are introspective, like Somewhere Off the Foot of This Mountain ; others are humorous, such as She's Looking For A Dave, and My Name is (Mud). Forsyth pays homage to her Cajun friends, with J'ai Fait Tout le Tour de Grand Bois.
The music is bright but not glitzy, retaining the unpretentious feel of a real folk record.
Joining forces with Lisa Markley and Beth Cahill ,Forsyth's latest project is a trio called the Malvinas. The group has released a CD, I'm Not Like This.
With Forsyth writing those zinger lyrics, the group is bound to be a credit to the memory of Malvina Reynolds, her spiritual folk music godmother. ~ Rose of Sharon Witmer