Rory McLeod, an ex-circus clown and fire eater, is a one-man-soul-band, and poet. He has a natural troubadour’s talent for weaving magical, musical, storytelling spells accompanied by his own bizarre solo orchestra of distinctive instruments. The spoons, finger-cymbals, bandorea, Djembe-drum, harmonica, guitar, trombone and-tap-dancing shoes accompany the “rich, raw, deep and resonant” voice of this “singular and liberating performer.”
“Expect the unexpected.”
Rory worked as a circus clown and fire eater with 'Circo Ideal' a small Azteca family, Mexican circus, touring campesinos, pueblitos and tobacco plantations on the Pacific coast and in mountain villages.
“Rory Mcleod must be the musical equivalent of a six or seven ball juggler… ” - The Guardian (UK)
“I also got shot from a cannon. I got paid 3 pesos a mile and travelling expenses!”
” I wasn’t the lion-tamer,… I only combed the lion's hair and cleaned his teeth!”
Rory McLeod is a musical Gypsy, his eccentric melodies are infused with influences from Flamenco to Country blues, through to Celtic, East European and Calypso rhythms creating a style of music and songwriting that has been described as:
“Intimate, revealing, political and powerful.”
“When he sings his songs he will take you on a journey with him.”
“Poetry and dance-stories with verve, sharpness, humour and warmth about people and for people.”
“Great songs to dance to, infectious rhythms, flying harmonica!”
“We saw the ubiquitous Rory Mcleod on stage wowing the crowd as if it were his living room… everyone was dancing… Then some hours later that night we heard Rory singing more of his stories around a campfire, listening… chatting and joining in with everyone else on his trombone, spoons and harmonica.”
“(Rory McLeod is a)…Rhythmic storyteller-Soul-Singing-Tap-dancing-Poet,Guitar-Picking,One-Man-Dance-Band”
Rory is a generous, hardworking, lyrical performer, whose mission is to carve new roads, to “keep memory alive”, and to take his audience on a journey, emotionally, physically and musically on large and small stages, living rooms, tents, and streets.
Apart from performing his own songs, Rory is also well known for taking part in workshops and round-robin set-ups with other musicians, crossing many cultural and musical borders. Rory is always up for both participating and or leading improvised sessions.
As a ‘community artist’ for some 30 years, musician, poet and storyteller Rory has toured and performed for community groups in all kinds of venues from village halls, schools, care homes, tents, art centres, community gardens, arts festivals, literature and poetry festivals, libraries and in the middle of fields. As of January 30th 2017, He has become a new associate member of The National Rural Touring Forum and also a registered performing artist on the Night Out Scheme.
Rory has travelled the globe for different reasons at different times, from Asia to the Middle East from Gambia to Cuba, Afghanistan, China, Zimbabwe, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada, Europe and other nooks and crannies of the earth.
“You don’t listen to McLeod you travel with him” - City Hub, Sydney (Australia)
“I’ve travelled to look for work, to mend a broken heart, to be with someone I longed for. I’d travel to visit friends and on the way I’d make new ones, I’d roam because I was curious to see what was around the next corner, sometimes I travelled to follow the warmer weather and migrate… like the birds and the big whales and fishes do”.
Rory was voted Best Live Act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2002. The award was presented by singer and songwriter Vin Garbutt.
Other awards include:
- Texas Harmonica Champion 1981.
- Edinburgh Festival Street Busket of the Year in 1985.