Sanje Publishing

Igor Leonardi

Igor Leonardi

Igor Leonardi was born in Ljubljana in 1958. He studied jazz and classical guitar at the Music Academy in Graz, Austria. At the age of 19 he traveled to India in search of spiritual and musical experiences, beginning a lifelong journey which took him, years later, throughout Asia and Africa. On his travels he learned to play many musical instruments: Indian and Arabian lute, oud, saz, gaita, kora harp... "In Africa I saw and heard the roots of jazz, especially on balafons (a kind of marimbas). Some of them have pentatonic tuning, others have regular diatonic scale. In these pentatonic tunings - this is the basis of blues, with these blue notes - the way they were phrasing these melodies were just like some phrases that I had heard in jazz."

During the years 1989 to 1999 he worked in the USA as a studio musician, co-operated with Don Cherry and heavy metal band Metallica. "I went there first for just two months, as a part of a summer holiday to go check out the jazz scene," he says. "I happened to stay there for eight years. I met some other musicians, and started playing right away."

Igor Leonardi is co-founder and member of music bands Quatebriga, Begnagrad, Miladojka Youneed, and Fake Orchestra. He is also a prolific composer of music for Slovenian theater and film productions. His score for the film Spare Parts by Damjan Kozole won the prize for the best Slovenian film music in 2003.

True to his jazz roots, Leonardi finds improvisation to be one of the most gratifying elements of playing music. "When you improvise, something unpredictable happens," he says. "Your inspiration can take you anywhere. You can play melodies you have never heard before. When you play them, maybe a few milliseconds before the audience hears them, you hear them in your head. That's when you feel that you are at one with something that's beyond you. It's so spiritual sometimes, and refreshing. You are discovering new things, and it fulfills you. You feel at one with the world, which we humans need. We always need to belong somewhere, to feel that we are not all alone in the universe."

Igor Leonardi's works: