Léo Leobons

Léo Leobons began his apprenticeship as a ritual candomblé drummer at the age of eight in Rio de Janeiro. In the mid-sixties, he began to work as a percussionist with local bossa-nova and samba bands. Moving to the U.S. in 1970, he received his A.A. in Music from Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, and studied Percussion and Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland. In 1973, he began his studies with Julito Collazo, and was active in the bembé and rumba scene in New York. In 1979, he co-founded the group “Kubatá” with Roberto Borrell, Ernesto Guerra and Pepe “Calabaza”, recording the group’s only vinyl and touring the U.S. Upon returning to Brazil in the mid-eighties, Leo recorded and toured with artists such as Nando Reis, Maria Rita, Djavan, Monobloco, A Parede, Lucas Santtana and many others. In 1995, he created the “RioSalsa” band, which mixed samba and salsa, recorded the band’s CD with some of his own compositions which received wide acclaim as themes for shows on Brazil’s Globo TV network. In 2002, he joined the band of percussionist Ramiro Musotto and they went on to record the cd “Civilizacao y Barbarie” and to tour South America, Europe and Japan for several years until Musotto’s untimely death. In 2012, Leo recorded the cd “Bá,” where he mixed Brazilian candomblé and Cuban santería alongside his own compositions. “Bá” was nominated for Brazil’s prestigious award, “Premio da Musica Brasileira”.
Leo has taught percussion courses in Brazilian schools and universities, and has conducted workshops throughout the country. He has also given workshops in the U.S., England, Spain, Argentina and Japan, as well as participated in films and television specials on Brazilian percussion.

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Tracks on Kafundó Records