|Born||1964 (age 48–49)
|Genres||Modern Classical Music|
|Associated acts||Sétima Legião
Rodrigo Leão is a Portuguese musician and composer. He was born in Lisbon in 1964. He became known for his musical compositions and participation in Portuguese bands such as Madredeus and Sétima Legião.
Rodrigo Leão was one of the musicians and composers behind the extraordinarily successful Portuguese ensemble Madredeus; he was in the band for nearly 10 years before leaving to focus on his own solo career.
Yet, Madredeus was only one of the many stops of an incredible 30-year journey that has seen Rodrigo Leão invite Portishead's Beth Gibbons, The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon or Tindersticks' Stuart Staples to sing on his albums and live shows; perform with Ryuichi Sakamoto or Ludovico Einaudi; see his music used on film soundtracks or praised by Pedro Almodóvar...
Rodrigo Leão remains, though, the same quietly spoken, talented, yet modest Lisboner who started out as a bassist in an indie-rock band before moving into Madredeus' chamber-pop and into the neo-classical textures of his own early solo material.
Rodrigo was in 1982 one of the founding members of Sétima Legião, one of the most influential rock bands in Portugal's mid-1980s indie scene thanks to their judicious use of Celtic influences. In 1986, he started Madredeus with Pedro Ayres Magalhães and Sétima Legião's Gabriel Gomes as a sideline acoustic project – one that gained a life of its own and snowballed into international success. In 1993, Rodrigo showed yet another side of his creativity by releasing a mostly instrumental solo album in a neo-classical, minimalist mode, titled “Ave Mundi Luminar”. With Sétima Legião on a long break, in 1994 he left Madredeus to devote himself fully to his solo career; in it he explored the edges of modern classical music and contemporary pop, marrying electronics to string and horn sections, using a separate project, Os Poetas, to set to music words from some of Portugal's greatest poets.
But throughout all these roles two things kept reappearing in his work: film and songs. Madredeus had written the music for a Wim Wenders movie and many of his own instrumental pieces seemed like soundtrack music in search of a film; Rodrigo's 2004 album was called “Cinema”, and from then on his backing group became the Cinema Ensemble. And, as he moved further in his explorations of instrumental textures, he felt the need to return to the simplicity of the pop song.
He has done so over the past ten years, inviting others to lend their voices to his music. Portuguese stars such as The Gift's Sónia Tavares or alt-Fado singer Lula Pena; Brazilian up-and-comers Rosa Passos and Thiago Petit; and internationally acclaimed singers such as Beth Gibbons, Neil Hannon, Stuart Staples and, more recently, Joan Wasser (Joan as Policewoman) and Scott Matthew have enriched Rodrigo's songs and taken his work on voyages to new and more exciting places.
Rodrigo Leão's wondrous talent as a composer and musician will lead you on those voyages.
With Sétima Legião 1984 – A Um Deus Desconhecido 1987 – Mar d'Outubro 1989 – De um Tempo Ausente 1992 – O Fogo 1994 – Auto da Fé (Live) 1999 – Sexto Sentido
With Madredeus 1987 – Os Dias da Madredeus 1990 – Existir 1992 – Lisboa (Live) 1994 – O Espírito da Paz 1995 – Ainda (soundtrack album)
With Os Poetas 1997 – Entre Nós e as Palavras
Solo albums 1993 – Ave Mundi Luminar 1995 – Mysterium (EP) 1996 – Theatrum 2000 – Alma Mater 2001 – Pasión (Live) 2004 – Cinema 2006 – O Mundo (compilation with new material) 2007 – Portugal, um Retrato Social (soundtrack album) 2009 – A Mãe 2011 – A Montanha Mágica 2012 – Songs (compilation with new material)
- Official Website
- Myspace page