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Rory McLeod bringing global musical influences to Ceredigion Museum

Rory McLeod and Catrin O’Neill event poster.

Globetrotting musician Rory McLeod and supporting local artiste Catrin O’Neill will be performing at Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth on Wednesday, July 6 at 7.30pm.

McLeod, an ex-fire eater and circus clown, has travelled the globe for different reasons at different times, visiting Asia, the Middle East, Gambia, Cuba, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada and Europe.

He has busked in China’s Yunnan province and danced with local tribal musicians and singers, orally exchanging music, laughter and dances in parks and drawing crowds of curious onlookers.

He was Texas harmonica champion in 1981 and was named “street busker of the year” at the Edinburgh Festival four years later.

McLeod’s songs are catchy, poignant, celebrational, observant, incisive, witty and passionate. They are about all kinds of people – richly coloured characters, school friends, family – as well as parting, travelling, love, despair and politics.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote that he “eloquently expressed ideas set to vibrant, dynamic music with bouncy rhythms, infectious riffs and nifty tunes,” while the Toronto Star reported that he “takes influences from everywhere, Latin, Klezmer, folk, roots. He’s wonderfully rhythmic and lyrical”.

O’Neill, an admirer of McLeod’s work, is thrilled to be supporting him. She has performed on stage since early childhood and is in her element in front of an audience, creating different atmospheres from one song to another.

From the joy or heartbreak of love to tales of adventure or tragedy, or a good old rowdy drinking song, she has them all in her repertoire. “It was in the company of my nain, sat by the Aga, that I learned many of the songs I perform on stage today,” she said.

McLeod explained: “I’ve travelled to look for work, to mend a broken heart, to be with someone I longed for. I’d travel to visit friends and on the way I’d make new ones, I’d roam because I was curious to see what was around the next corner, sometimes I travelled to follow the warmer weather and migrate… like the birds and the big whales and fishes do.

“I want my songs to keep memory alive, I’m trying to tell history from working people’s point of view.”

Sarah Morton, event organiser, said: “Rory’s melodies are peppered with Flamenco, Rhumba, Blues, Celtic and Calypso Rhythms, even a Waltz and Polka. Each song is very different from the next, but each song is stamped with his own style.”

Tickets to see the show are £12 for early bird or £13.50 at the door and can be bought by calling Ceredigion Museum on 01970 633 088.

This event is funded by the Arts Council of Wales Night Out scheme.