Rory McLeod

Rory McLeod

Friday 9 August 2024
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Ashburton Arts Centre


Book here now: £14 full price • £10 or £7 if you prefer – please pay what you can*

An ex-circus clown and fire eater, Rory McLeod is a one-man-soul-band and poet. He has a natural troubadour’s talent for weaving magical, musical, storytelling spells accompanied by his own bizarre solo orchestra of distinctive instruments. The spoons, finger-cymbals, bandorea, djembe drum, harmonica, guitar, trombone and tap-dancing shoes accompany the “rich, raw, deep and resonant” voice of this “singular and liberating performer.”
Expect the unexpected.
Rory worked as a circus clown and fire eater with ‘Circo Ideal’ a small Azteca family, Mexican circus, touring campesinos, pueblitos and tobacco plantations on the Pacific coast and in mountain villages.
“Rory Mcleod must be the musical equivalent of a six or seven ball juggler”  The Guardian
Rory McLeod is a musical gypsy, his eccentric melodies are infused with influences from flamenco to country blues, through to Celtic, East European and calypso rhythms creating a style of music and songwriting that has been described as: “Intimate, revealing, political and powerful.”
“When he sings his songs he will take you on a journey with him.”
“Poetry and dance-stories with verve, sharpness, humour and warmth about people and for people.”
“Great songs to dance to, infectious rhythms, flying harmonica!”
“We saw the ubiquitous Rory Mcleod on stage wowing the crowd as if it were his living room… everyone was dancing… Then some hours later that night we heard Rory singing more of his stories around a campfire, listening… chatting and joining in with everyone else on his trombone, spoons and harmonica.”
“[Rory McLeod is a]…rhythmic storyteller-soul-singing-tap-dancing-Poet, guitar-Picking, one-Man-dance-band”
Rory is a generous, hardworking, lyrical performer, whose mission is to carve new roads, to “keep memory alive”, and to take his audience on a journey, emotionally, physically and musically on large and small stages, living rooms, tents, and streets.
As a community artist for some 30 years, musician, poet and storyteller, Rory has toured and performed for community groups in all kinds of venues from village halls, schools, care homes, tents, arts centres, community gardens, arts festivals, literature and poetry festivals, libraries and in the middle of fields.
Rory has travelled the globe for different reasons at different times, from Asia to the Middle East from Gambia to Cuba, Afghanistan, China, Zimbabwe, Central America, Australia, North America, Canada, Europe and other nooks and crannies of the earth.
“You don’t listen to McLeod you travel with him” City Hub, Sydney (Australia)
Rory writes:
“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 also got shot from a cannon. I got paid 3 pesos a mile and travelling expenses!”
”I wasn’t the lion-tamer,… I only combed the lion’s hair and cleaned his teeth!”
Rory was voted Best Live Act at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2002. The award was presented by singer and songwriter Vin Garbutt.
Other awards include:
Texas Harmonica Champion 1981.
Edinburgh Festival Street Busker of the Year in 1985.



See Access, Tickets & Finding Us for more about why there are three ticket prices, plus other useful info about coming to events at Ashburton Arts Centre: getting here, parking, loos, PA tickets, etc. You can also email to reserve tickets and pay on the door.