BIOGRAPHY – LACHLAN MCLEOD.
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric and Acoustic Violin,
Piano and Keyboards, Banjo and Kickboard.
Lachlan McLeod is a rare talent. He is a musician who presents dynamic and passionate solo live performances playing acoustic guitar and violin. He is also a gifted singer, songwriter and composer who has mastered the exceptional skill of singing and playing violin simultaneously.
After many years of playing and over a decade of experience within the Australian and international music scene, Lachlan has developed a distinctive and strong contemporary folk style. He is original, stimulating and instantly accessible. His lyrics are powerful and reflect personal and universal sentiments. His songs are uplifting, honest and heartfelt and are chronicled on four high-fidelity CD recordings.
The History .
McLeod, who grew up in rural communities in South Australia and Victoria , began studying viola at age eight. He practised under trees outside his families isolated caravan in the bush where, he says, he learned to tune into the wide open spaces and to music at the same time. He says now that this extraordinarily beautiful home environment had a marked impact on his open and expressive style of writing and performance.
“For me, the spaces in a composition are as significant as the sound. It's important to allow time for the spirit and the beauty of music to filter through. It's not always necessary to fill a pause with noise for a piece of music to work its magic.”
Lachlan was not only influenced by his environment. His grandfather, Bill McLeod, was also a violinist and singer. ( He carried his violin in a sugar-bag on his back and rode a horse to gigs!)
As a teenager, McLeod picked up the guitar, bass and piano whilst continuing his viola studies, earning himself the top prize in Australia for 5 th grade viola exams at age 14. Soon after this he joined his first band and played his first professional gig on bass and viola, after talking the lead singer into letting him join – an unusual step for the band! His mother drove him to regular gigs for two years until he was old enough to get his drivers licence.
Over the years Lachlan played regularly with a number of bands and orchestras and found frequent work as a solo musician, touring the Eastern seaboard in 1979. In 1980 he found time for further development, studying 20 th Century Music at Adelaide 's Sturt College of Advanced Education, majoring in viola.
1984 saw the release of Lachlan 's first single, “ Very Much Like Springtime” ( EMI ), a major breakthrough in his already credible musical career. This was followed by a successful tour which culminated in a finale performance at Adelaide 's prestigious Festival Theatre with the renowned Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. “ Very Much Like Springtime” is still given airplay today.
In 1985 McLeod branched out as a session musician, writer and producer of many memorable advertising jingles, including a major promotional campaign for the national broadcaster, ABC Radio. He was also bass guitarist and vocalist with a number of popular Adelaide bands including, THESE HANDS and GAV STAB & THE RUNAWAY PENGUINS.
In 1994 Lachlan's impressive self titled debut CD release succeeded in what many consider to be the most difficult niche market of all, adult contemporary, with extensive airplay enjoyed in both metropolitan and regional radio Australia wide and subsequently internationally.
Also in 1994, McLeod formed the acclaimed trio THINKING ALOUD, featuring himself on vocals, acoustic guitar and electric violin; Stephan Richter on fretless bass and cello; Craig Lauritsen on drums and percussion. The group performed McLeod's compositions, marrying classical instrumentation to contemporary acoustic folk and then toured India where they collaborated with Tabla master Pandit Debashish Chakraborty, who had himself performed with El Shankar and Peter Gabriel.
The result of this Indian collaboration was the 1995 release of “ Shanti ” where McLeod's compositions were flavoured by ethnic Indian influences to create a landmark World Music CD.
1998 saw the release of McLeod's definitive electric violin and band CD, Wind of Change, a CD of exceptional songs and stunning electric violin work. Instantly accessible, yet still credible, 3 singles were played on high rotation by Japanese radio
to coincide with McLeod's first tour of Japan in1998.
In 1999 Lachlan played a season at Melbourne 's prestigious Crown Casino and then set off for another 3 month tour of Japan .
Commissioned by the South Australian Government in January 2000 to compose a song for the people of South Australia to use as a colloquial anthem, McLeod wrote the music for the beautiful “ South Australia It's My Home” , a love song for a state.
After arranging the song for band and strings, Lachlan sang and played electric violin on the recording. Following this, an arrangement was written for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to use on state occasions. McLeod gave the first public performance of the piece at the Premiers dinner for the S.A 500 race. Joined by Lisa Edwards from the John Farnham band, McLeod then opened the Davis Cup Tennis at Memorial Drive accompanied by a 300 piece children's choir. This performance was received with such acclaim that McLeod and the children's choir were invited to open the AFL Port Adelaide / Crows football match at Football Park to 40,000 fans.
In July 2000 Lachlan was invited to London to perform “ South Australia It's My Home ” in conjunction with the English celebrations of Australia 's Centenary of Federation of States. The 2000 Olympic soccer games at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide , were preceded by a TV broadcast of the song to millions of people worldwide.
Three tours to Japan in 2000 allowed McLeod to strengthen his reputation with the Japanese audiences. His performances in Tokyo and Osaka were received with especially high acclaim.
In January 2001 the honour of representing 100 years of South Australian music was awarded to Lachlan McLeod when the Centenary of Federation committee chose his electric violin piece “ The Twelfth House Door” to be used for the Centenary of Federation celebrations in Sydney , including a nationwide television broadcast.
Melbourne became McLeod's chosen home in 2002 where he entered the music scene as violinist in the RICK SAYER BAND. He also worked with Alaine Stokka in LIGHTHOUSE helping to establish the music in the innovative Essence Food Studio.
Sessions and special performances with ROBERT JOHN SEDKY and
Fred Le Duc, of DELUC and MANIGRA, on violin helped establish Lachlan's Melbourne reputation.
In 2003 Lachlan played violin at the Port Fairy Folk Festival to accompany Julie Levy who won the song-writing contest. In the same year his instrumental composition for electric violin, “Goodbye” was used in the evocative film ‘Shifting Ground”, produced and directed by Des Connellan and screened Worldwide.
An acoustic tour of North Queensland Wilderness Resorts in 2004 gave McLeod the opportunity to give audiences a truly intimate insight into his unique melodic songs.
Through 2005, Lachlan's love of acoustic instruments stimulated him to develop high quality pick ups and preamps in conjunction with Ian Du Rieu from the Leon Audio Company, Adelaide , to accurately represent his sound. This collaboration saw the production of miniature phantom powered, printed circuit preamps for onboard instrument installation.
Using this class A, super low noise technology, 2006 saw the release of McLeod's brilliant acoustic CD “The Heart of the Moon” This is the quintessential solo McLeod. Recorded as one-take live studio performances, Lachlan captured the emotional intensity of these intimate and honest songs with his clean acoustic guitar finger picking and warm voice. Playing his late grandfathers old acoustic violin, McLeod added haunting flavours to complete this stunning organic recording.
Lachlan McLeod today.
Based in Melbourne , Lachlan today performs solo in Australia and internationally at festivals and special events, incorporating his unique kick board to under-pin his acoustic guitar and violin playing. He continues to compose and write songs, using the sanctuary of his country cottage as an artistic retreat.
He is well spoken and articulate in broadcast interviews and is in demand for live performances and recording sessions.
Lachlan's work challenges and caresses the listener with warm melodies,
fine musicianship, clever instrumentation and powerful lyrics .