Craig Leon


  • Saturday 18 20:20 - 21:20

    Sónar by Day - SonarComplex

Interplanetary Folk Music from a true pioneer

Craig Leon is an American record producer, composer and arranger responsible for launching the careers of artists like The Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. In 1998 he left pop and rock music to focus on composing, orchestrating, arranging and recording classical music. He’s contributed to the music of legendary artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Andreas Scholl and Joshua Bell, as well as to many prestigious orchestras around the world and award-winning film soundtracks (such as 1917, winner of a Golden Globe). Throughout his life, Leon has also worked on creating new pieces from early folk music sources.

At Sónar 2022, Craig Leon and his long-time collaborator Cassell Webb will present "The Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music," a live audiovisual performance featuring excerpts of this work: Nommos (1981), Visiting (1982) and most recently, The Canon (2019). These examples of science fiction combined with folklore tell the story of a musical system invented by inhabitants of a distant star system who were encountered in ancient times by the Dogon people, in what is now Mali. These beings, called "Nommos", taught the Dogon people how to create an advanced civilization and religion. Nommos and Visiting were written in the 1980s about the music that these extraterrestrial visitors supposedly brought with them to the planet, while The Canon detailed the journey of this music from Africa to the Mediterranean. Now, portions of all three will be performed live as part of the Sónar+D programme, accompanied by a talk delivered by Leon on Stage+D.