WE ARE LEÁN
With their album 'Tierra Azul', Leán create a musical universe in which the Argentinian poet Alfonsina Storni stands at the heart. This mythical figure has been an inspiration to a diverse mix of artists for decades and is the subject of the classic 'Alfonsina y el Mar' (Alfonsina and the Sea). This track is also featured on the 2016 album ‘Pangea’, the first one by the trio of Silke Clarysse (classical guitar), Gielis Cautaers (percussion) and Otto Kint (double bass). To work on Tierra Azul, the three asked Vanesa Diaz Gil (voice) and Quinten de Craecker (trombone) to join, and completely flipped their creative process. The result is a layered experience comprising of their own compositions, rooted in the rhythm and tonality of Storni's texts.
With their music, Leán have been creating an intimate cocoon for attentive audiences since 2014. Inspired by the rhythms and melodies of various cultures, the three merged their authentic musical voices, resulting in refreshing interpretations of existing compositions.
In 2016, the trio released their first album, 'Pangea', with Silke as lead guitarist. From start to finish, the record was influenced by music from all over the world. And in 2019, they followed it up with 'Jarabi', which for the trio marked real growth as a band. They took existing guitar compositions and older melodies like 'Bucimis' as foundations and deepened the arrangements.
About Jarabi: “Subtle, refined, jazzy, with a hint of melancholy and chiefly very, very beautiful. Their debut Pangea was an absolute must, and this second album is a class above that.” Moors Magazine, February 2019
On the new record, Tierra Azul, Leán resolutely choose their own compositions, taking Storni's poetry as a starting point. The Argentinian feminist already wrote about depression, single mothers and sexuality in the 1920s, subjects that are still relevant to this day. When writing the music, Gielis and Otto ran into the limits of the translation process. This inspired them to take a radically different approach: they listened to Spanish language recitals of Storni's work, and analysed the cadence, rhythm and tonality of these deliveries. The band, with the Spanish Vanesa Diaz Gil, then worked on bringing the latent emotions more prominently to the surface by analysing the texts themselves.
The result is a new, genuine experience, featuring musical emotion as the main act. Whether you understand the lyrics or not, you get taken on a journey. Vanesa and Quinten add an extra dimension and fresh sound with the introduction of vocals and the trombone as a solo instrument. Silke, Otto and Gielis continue to reliably produce the acoustic sound that typifies Leán. Together they make for a strong group of musicians in perfect sync, who challenge each other to tread beyond the boundaries of their comfort zones.