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Reader Spotlight: Leandro Kalén

Leandro Kalén

While Leandro Kalén thinks in bass – thanks to his dad (also a bassist) – he covers a lot more ground. A multi-instrumentalist and producer, Leandro has performed with at least 50 acts in his 16 years playing bass.

Leandro is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…

Bio:

I’ve played for 30 years and I’m dedicated to music as producer and performer. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I began studing music at the age of 12.

Some of my studies and teachers: EMPA, Escuela Sónica, Gustavo Liamgot, Abel Rogantini, Rosario Bléfari, Roberto Catarineu, Osvaldo Fattoruso, Naná Vasconcelos, Rufus Reid, César Camargo Mariano.

After having participated in more than 40 albums, I’ve recorded a solo album, Mecánica Celeste, where incredible musicians colleagues were involved: Litto Nebbia, Michiel Bortslap, Jorge Cumbo, Hermeto Pascoal, Alambre González, Darío Sztajnszrajber, Juan Carlos Ingaramo, Jimmy Santos, Patricio Villarejo, Sami Abadi, Oscar Kreimer, Miriam García, Fernando Lerman, Rubén Carrasco, Juan Namuncurá, Pedro Menéndez, among others. On this album, I played the following instruments: glockenspiel, melodica, keyboards, synths, acoustic piano, 6/12 acoustic guitars, electric and synth guitar, percussion, soundscapes, voices, and obviously acoustic, fretless, and 4/5 electric basses.

I’ve interacted with, among others: Fuerza Bruta, Daniel Messina, Javier Calequi, Luvi Torres, Nicolás Ojeda, Baltasar Comotto, Raúl Carnota, Javier Barría, George Haslam, Paulo Alexandre Jorge…

Location:

Buenos Aires / Argentina

Day gig:

I work as a professional musician, producer and performer. I’m also working as music professor, especially with children and people with disabilities.

Years experience:

16 years

Bands & Gigs:

I have worked with more than 50 artists and bands until now. Currently, I work with my own group, and also with Tomás Martini, Gaby Colman, Luciano Fraga, Walter Soria Trío, Yendo, Azul Dadá, Máximo Rodríguez Group, among others. I also work as sessionist.

Gear:

  • Yamaha BBN4
  • Faim Violin Bass
  • AG electroacoustic bass
  • Upright bass (luthier)
  • GK amp
  • Vox Lil Looper

Why I play the bass:

My father is a renowned bassist and teacher. That certainly has created a precedent for me. In every song I listened to, I could sing the bass part. At one point I found it terribly natural.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

My emphasis is placed on the adaptation to different musical contexts. I’m interested in dialogue with the cultural baggage carried by each artist, especially through the language of improvisation. In fact, I would love to record with musicians from all over the world and connect with their ways of understanding music, through the benefits of new technologies.

I tend to think the music through the bass, but also I can play many other instruments.

My influences:

My first and main reference on bass is Sting. I’ve always been struck by his subtlety, finesse…that jazzy background, his powerful sound and dynamics for the benefit of the song!

However, there’s another bassist who will always be my devotion for many reasons: the immense Jaco.

Other major influences: Jeff Berlin, Oteil Burbridge, Eddie Gómez, John Patitucci, Derrick Hodge, Brian Bromberg, Ashton Barrett, Chris Squire, Mark Egan, Nathan East…

Beyond the bass: Luis Alberto Spinetta, Stevie Wonder, Rubén Rada, Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Gustavo Cuchi Leguizamón, Pedro Aznar, George Harrison, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Evans, Tom Waits, Ivan Lins, Egberto Gismonti, Genesis, Salif Keita, Sergio Mendes, Ed Motta, Bjork, John Frusciante, Philip Glass, Donald Fagen, Carlinhos Brown, Erykah Badu, Erik Satie, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Prince, Chico Buarque, Jim Beard, David Byrne, David Bowie, Toto, Andreas Vollenweider, Rubén Blades, Gino Vannelli, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Leo Maslíah, John Cage, Mauricio Kagel, Lol Coxhill, Maria Schneider, Matthew Herbert, Robert Glasper, Johhny Cash, Ralph Irizarry, Tim Minchin, Jarle Bernhoft, Sledge Hammer, Hamlet, Horacio Larumbe, Seth Mc Farlane, Nikolav Tesla, Thelonius Monk, Frank Zappa, Oscar Wilde, Francis Bacon, fluxus, Alf, Foucault, Leibniz, Hugo Fattoruso, Mono Fontana.

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