In 2018, Rodrigo Leão marks the 25th anniversary of a remarkable solo career that leaped out of Portugal into international recognition.
It was in 1999 that Rodrigo, then still a founding member and one of the main composers of Portugal’s Madredeus, a unique global success story, stepped out as a solo artist with a debut album of classical-contemporary compositions, Ave Mundi Luminar.
25 years on, Rodrigo is one of the most beloved and successful Portuguese artists, with # 1 albums on the charts and international releases. His name is mentioned in the same breath as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ludovico Einaudi or Jóhann Jóhansson, and he has written soundtrack music for films as different as Lee Daniels’ Oscar-nominated The Butler or João Moreira Salles’ documentary In the Intense Now.
To celebrate 25 years of music, Rodrigo has prepared a series of studio and stage projects that reflect his multiple talents as performer, composer, songwriter… 2018 will be an unforgettable year.
The high point of the celebrations is titled (to be confirmed) A Festa (The Party), a unique look back to Rodrigo’s 25 years of recording. It begins with the March release of a retrospective CD, including his most acclaimed instrumental compositions and his principal collaborations with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Stuart Staples, Beth Gibbons or Scott Andrew. A Festa is also a meticulously created stage production for general audiences, with an expanded band line-up of ten musicians and two singers, video projections and a fine-tuned technical work to make sure each instrument can be heard perfectly, no matter how small or how large the venue.
2018 will also feature the final concerts of Rodrigo’s joint tour with singer-songwriter Scott Matthew to promote their album collaboration Life Is Long.
The celebrations continue with an updated production of Rodrigo’s stage show Os Portugueses (The Portuguese). Originally composed for an acclaimed documentary series on how Portugal changed after the 1974 Revolution, made by sociologist António Barreto and filmmaker Joana Pontes for public broadcaster RTP, the soundtrack crystallizes the indefinably Portuguese inspiration of Rodrigo’s music. It will now be re-released in a remastered, expanded CD edition with additional material used, which will also be used as the basis for the new stage show.
Finally, Rodrigo proposes a brand new concert: Instrumental – O Ensaio (The Rehearsal), a stage production with heavy usage of video projections, focused on the instrumental compositions where he excels and defines his personal style.
This new concert will include instrumental material from these 25 years but also mark the debut of some of his brand new compositions, presented in instrumental compositions. Instrumental will serve as an introduction, a rehearsal, and a tryout for new material that is earmarked for Rodrigo’s next album of original material. The new album will be released by the end of 2018 and, after a series of projects in collaboration with other artists or as parallel, experimental recordings, will be Rodrigo’s next career album.
Stay tuned, because there’s a lot more to come from Rodrigo Leão in celebration of his 25th solo career anniversary!