Leo Gosselin
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Leo Gosselin

Band Jazz Celtic


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Tones of the Town (printed in ‘the Uptown’, Winnipeg, Manitoba, January 1998)

By Susan Krepart

The first time I heard Leo A. Gosselin play was at one of the patio restaurants at The Forks. He was set up just outside the Johnston Terminal, to the right of the patio. Throughout the night customers were complementing the restaurant on having the good sense to hire such a talented musician. “How nicely that man plays,” and what beautiful music, was genuinely expressed by the patrons. What exactly was he playing?

The Chapman Touchboard was invented 23 years ago by Emmett Chapman, and Gosselin has spent the last 20 years perfecting and testing the limits of this unusual musical instrument. With either 10 or 12 strings, the right hand is tuned like a guitar, while the left is like a cello in reverse. Looking not unlike a thicker version of a guitar neck, its’ sound implies the richness and harmony of a trio of instruments and is played like a keyboard.

Gosselin has just released a CD entitled ‘Border Crossing’, which showcases the range of the Chapman Stick while featuring styles from Folk to New Age. My favorites on this collection are his original compositions – especially Path of Tears. Recorded in his attic studio, this CD is as clear, pure and inspiring as the tunes I heard just a few summers ago. The melodies are presented in a unique, yet almost familiar way serving as the perfect background music for any occasion.

- Winnipeg Free Press

"...Technically, Mr. Gosselin is dazzling, but the emotional and expressive range he coaxes from his instrument is truly astonishing. The Chapman Stick has a captivating richness of tone unlike anything you've heard, and this is an artist with the stylistic versatility to exhibit it. Each genre in the eclectic program was authentically articulated: smouldering blues and coruscating jazz, lyrical New Age pieces played with the poignant tenderness; even fresh and winning renditions of traditional Celtic songs on this most non-traditional of instruments..."
--By R. Kreindler - Free Press, Winnipeg, MB

"Leo Gosselin took up guitar at age 10, only to discover his main instrument, the Chapman Stick, a decade later.
In the 24 years since he's owned 12 different models o the stick, making his living off music for the past six years.
The Winnipeg-based musician taps eclectic styles on his three CD's from Celtic to Latin-jazz to ingenious original tunes.
He enjoys playing the Street Fest for the greater personal contact and between tunes he often fields questions about his axe (the Grand Stick involves 12 strings and over 5 octaves..."
---By Roger Levesque
- Edmonton Journal 6/14/2001

"...visiting my mother in Tucson, AZ, and she took me to the Tubac Arts Fest and Leo Gosselin was playing there. His music was capturing. I am an art therapist and intend to use this CD in my groups. I greatly appreciate his beautiful tunes and I know many others will too. Many thanks." -- Wendi L. Boettcher, Kirkwood, NY 3/2002

"...We had never heard his music before and absolutely loved it. It has a very calming effect on me...I expect to see great things from you, as you have a tremendous talent. I am so thankful we went to that street festival, or we would never have known your music..."
--Jan Jolly, Tacna, AZ 6/2002

"Saw Mr. Gosselin at the Tempe festival last year and after purchasing and listening to it at home, we want more of his work. It is most enjoyable."
--Pat Groendyke, Tucson, AZ 11/2002

"From the general Stick website...heard the samples, and decided I wanted to hear the whole thing...can't wait..." --G E Grinvalds, Denbigh, GB 12/2002

"I saw Leo A. Gosselin at the Tempe Art Fair in Dec 2002. I bought 3 of his CDs there. I wish I had bought the fourth one at the same time." --Jamie Garde, New York, NY 1/2003

"We met Leo in Sedona Arizona at an arts festival in 2002. At that time we purchased 2 of his other CD's and are extremely fond of them. We are waiting for him to release a jazz CD." (bought Border Crossing) --Susan Adams, Asheville, NC 1/2003

"I was searching some other information with "gosselin" and found this wonderful music. I am a twelve string guitar player and this sounds like a new dimension."
--Thomas Gosselin, Duxbury, MA 2/2003

"I purchased Dream Waters from you at your booth in Wickenburg this month and really liked what I heard and wanted to hear more. Thank you for the music."
--Scott Parry, Sun City West, AZ 3/2003

"I heard Leo Gosselin playing in Arizona two years ago, and bought 'Potpourri.' Today I dropped it and broke it, so I will appreciate a new one. Thank you." --Dann A Fosher, Story, WY 5/2003

"I met Leo in Arizona at an art festival in Flagstaff last summer. We bought his CDs then, but gave one away and am replacing the CD we gave away. We really enjoy listening to his music!" --James Alderman, APO, AP 8/2003

"Absolutely astounding playing."
--Bob Erlich, Richmond, TX 4/2004

"I met Mr. Gosselin at the Art Festival in Prescott, AZ! My 7 yr old daughter just loved hearing him, but agreed to get his Celtic album instead of the 'Dream Waters' album she wanted! We are enjoying it so much that I am going to get a couple more for us and Dream Waters for my daughter! Thank you." --Gretchen Knapp, Clarkdale, AZ 5/2004

"I saw Leo at a festival in Flagstaff two years ago, and my brother has fallen for the 'Potpourri' album, so before he takes it home with him, I thought I'd buy Gavin his own for his upcoming birthday." --Gail Collins, Surprise, AZ 6/2004

"My wife was in the hospital and a nurse was playing your 'Potpourri.' I was captivated. I haven't heard Wave and those other bossa novas for many years. I went straight to the internet. Thanks." --Trey Ryder, Payson, AZ 5/2005

"The Fair at Prescott Arizona's courthouse over Labor Day. Saw the artist. Loved the music."
--Nancy Davis, Murrieta, CA 9/2005

"Met Mr. Gosselin in Santa Fe at Girls, Inc. Bought 'Vintage Flight' then. After several listenings, we want to listen to more."
--Benjamin Weber, Amarillo, TX 11/2005

"I saw Leo at the 4th Street Fair in Tucson and purchased a CD. I fell in love with it and being Irish, I thought I would try this one!" (Celtic Vision)--Christine Adams, Tucson, AZ 12/2005

"Attended a Leo Gosselin show at the West Valley Museum of the Arts, Surprise, AZ." (bought Celtic Vision) --Patricia Lea, Sun City, AZ 8/2006

"Bought 2 CD's from Leo at Litchfield Park Arts Festival on Nov 5th. Liked them both and want more!" --Linda E Leng, Sun City West, AZ 11/2006

"We live in New Jersey, but we were visiting friends in Phoenix, AZ. We drove to Tubac and heard the musician (Leo) playing. Loved his music." --L. Carol Evans, Ocean City, NJ 12/2006

"I met Leo in Tubac, AZ when we were visiting relatives. We bought a CD and loved it. Now I'm buying more. We are fans."
--Kirk McClellan, Arlington, TX

"My husband and I heard Leo Gosselin playing at the Taste of Edmonds fair in Washington last weekend. Mesmerizing. We bought a couple of CDs then and now 3 more. Hope you get more of Border Crossing so we can get it too." -- Sharon Chew, Poulsbo, WA 8/2007 - CD Baby.com

(Front page photo of Leo Gosselin playing the Chapman Stick)

"Rich tones of what sort of sounded like a guitar drew people to see what it was they were hearing. What they found was instrumentalist Leo Gosselin, originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, but now touring [living] in Arizona. He was playing a unique instrument called the Chapman Stick. The 12-string instrument was invented by guitarist Emmett Chapman back in the 1970s and is played with both hands in a percussion-type manner.

" 'No known guitarist, bassist or fingerboard player had ever before used a basic three or four fingered technique in each hand simultaneously to play independent lines, scales and chords. It was unique yet basic and logical--both hands aligned parallel to the frets and perpendicular to the strings, the fingers of each hand fitting sequentially into selected fret spaces at any point along the fretboard,' writes Gosselin on his website. Gosselin has been playing the instrument for the past 30 years...

"...He had several CDs available for sale, and people were snapping them up. Next weekend, he will be playing at the Patagonia Fall Festival."
--Shar Porier, Reporter - Sierra Vista Herald


Leo has recorded six albums currently available as CD's:

"Border Crossing," as the title suggests, crosses stylistic borders from bluesy jazz to Latin, New Age, and Celtic. It is a solo voyage through musical genres.

"Potpourri" highlights Leo's mastery of this unique instrument in four themes: Celtic, ballads, Latin/jazz, and originals. This album includes supporting musicians that add their own personal touch to the project.

"Dream Waters" is a solo album that brings a sense of comfort and peace to the listener.

"Celtic Vision" is a collaborative effort focussing on traditional Celtic music with guest artists on Irish whistle, violin, percussion, and synthesizer.

"Vintage Flight," a solo album, is a musical flight through many of the most memorable easy listening jazz pieces of the 40's and 50's.

"Christmas Traditions" highlights the "Stick" with four-handed arrangements and counter melodies written for traditional carols that make this a truly memorable Christmas experience.



Leo A. Gosselin is a pioneer and master of a radically new technique on strings. The Chapman Stick Touchboard, invented by Emmett Chapman in 1974, represents a revolution in stringed instrument technology. The "Stick", designed in eight, ten, and twelve-string versions (the right hand tuned like a guitar, the left like a cello in reverse), is played percussively, with both hands free to sketch melodic lines in the manner of a keyboard.

Leo has been exploring the musical possibilities of the Chapman Stick since 1976 when, at the age of 21, he saw someone trying to play the instrument in his home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Leo had been playing the guitar for 11 years, and did not try the "Stick" before ordering his first one, so the difficulty in mastering the instrument came as somewhat of a surprise. However, his tenacity and patience has paid off, and he has been playing publicly for a variety of appreciative audiences since 1984.

Leo has received a number of Canada Council and Provincial grants as well as other awards for his accomplishments on the "Stick." He studied at the Dick Grove School of Music, Los Angeles, and Capilano College in North Vancouver, completing a Diploma in Commercial Music, as well as further studies in jazz. His appearances include TV, radio, and many live performances including Expo '86, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Edmonton International Street Performers Festival in 1999 and 2001, the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, and even played for the Prince of Wales in 1996. He has performed for a wide variety of functions including weddings, concerts, festivals, dining rooms, corporate meetings, as well as educational presentations. For the last few years, Leo has been performing live at festivals throughout the Southwest, including the Tempe Festival of the Arts, the Tucson Museum of Art, the Tubac Arts and Crafts Festival, the Scottsdale Arts Festival, and many others.