Gospel in the Park salutes Rosalie Washington

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Rosalie Marie Ashton - Washington is known as “The Lady Tambourine of New Orleans.” Rosalie is known as the greatest tambourine player in the world. She says that her anointing came while she was dancing in the little country sanctuary known as the First Church of God in Christ, where she looked to her left and saw fire coming from her Godmother Wilhomenia Jackson Landry’s tambourine. “She was about six feet tall to me. She was shaking as if her dress was on fire. She looked around to see if anyone was going to come and put the fire out, no one did. I was five years old back then and said to myself, I want to make fire with a tambourine just like that. My Godmother was singing her favorite song, Power, Lord! Give me power to do right, power to do right, power to live right, power to walk right, Power Lord! I love that song. It took me years to realize that I had received the gift from heaven, just like Big Mama.” At the age 13, she played with Kenneth Mitchell and the Interdenominational Youth Choir of Denham Springs and La State Choir.

Through Rosalie’s musical journey in life, she learned to play music on the tambourine, drums, and congas. “People tell me I can sing, but I am a musician who loves to play the saxophone, trumpet, organ and keyboard. I can draw and write poetry; it’s all art for the glory of God.”

Rosalie has traveled the world showcasing her gift with the tambourine from Rome to Chicago. She feels that she has been blessed to work with one of Louisiana greatest directors, Mr. Kenneth Mitchell. Her career includes performances with other musical geniuses such as Steve Wonder, Wyclef John, John Legend, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rhimes, Fantasia and many others.

Rosalie spreads that gospel with her hands sending sparks through the air with her tambourine. She is a Louisiana gospel legend who has played with The Clark Sisters, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Richard Smallwood, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Dr. Charles G. Haynes, Rev. Shirley Caesar and the late Rev. James Cleveland.

She has played with some of New Orleans’ greatest musicians including the late Marva Wright, Ernie K-Doe, and Allen Toussiant. Don’t be surprised to see her on stage with the Neville Brothers, Marlon Brothers, Jodie Bishop, Rebirth Brass Band, the Mardi Gras Indians, Kermit Ruffins or Sherman Powell.

Her gift allows her to act and perform with famous women like Oprah Winfrey and the Rev. Shirley Caesar. She is best known for her appearance in the movie, “The Fighting Temptations.” Other movies include appearances in American Violet, The Butler, Dead Man Walking, Runaway Jury, Last Holiday, Bump in the Night, Dracula 2000. Theatrical appearances include roles in A Raisin in the Sun, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Rose Tattoo, and Tambourine to Glory.

Look for her at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival where she has been a featured artist for over 24 years in the Gospel Tent. Rosalie has the God given talent of playing rhythms with her tambourine to songs she hears for the first time. Whether Gospel or zydeco she makes it all sound like the gospel that’s in her which is her favorite.

She is a graduate of Denham Springs H.S. and Southern University. She is the proud mother of three: Danny Jr., Danitra, and Dantonio. Rosalie loves people especially children and the elderly. She loves visiting the elderly, teaching, learning, acting, writing and reading. She loves helping people anyway she can. Most of all she loves serving the Lord from whom all her blessings flow.