Back to Artist List

Leonard Podolak

Founder and band leader of The Duhks, Leonard Podolak is a foremost innovator and folk music contributor, with musical experiences worldwide to form the backbone of his repertoire. Leonard has shared styles of music from the string traditions of Appalachia, Ireland, Scotland, England, Quebec, and Louisiana, while bringing in influences of Gospel, Blues, Rock, Afro-Cuban, and African traditions. His unique style of clawhammer banjo makes a place for the five string in all of these traditions. This playing is based off of the Appalachian clawhammer technique but he likes playing jigs and reels and if there’s a Cajun song he plays his banjo like a triangle. If it’s an Irish tune, he plays it like a tenor banjo, and a rock song, a screaming electric guitar (in his mind anyway)!

A Grammy and Juno award winner, along with many nominations under his belt, the biggest accolade came from his hero Doc Watson, who once told him at MerleFest, that Leonard’s banjo playing on the first Duhks CD “Your Daughters And Your Sons” was as fine a Claw-Hammer pickin’ as he’d ever heard!

Podolak’s current projects include the duet band Matt Gordon & Leonard Podolak, the quartet band Dry Bones, & record producing of the debut album from Canadian Maritime band Ten Strings and A Goatskin. He has also produced albums for Early Spirit, The Dust Rhinos, and The Wrigley Bothers among others.