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Interview with Ana-Cristina Leonte

Monday, 11 December 2023 , ora 10.09

The Big Band Radio has a new concert on Thursday, December 7th at 7pm, with vocalist Ana-Cristina Leonte as a special guest. She will be performing exclusively her own compositions, accompanied by the orchestra conducted by Simona Strungaru. About the creations that will be heard on Thursday evening at the Radio Hall we will be hearingthe author itself, Ana-Cristina Leonte, in her interview with Viorel Grecu.

How can you briefly sum up what will happen on Thursday night? I have a feeling that it won't be a classic big band concert.

No way. It's a concert I've been looking forward to for quite a long time. I've been on an intense creative retreat for the last few months, sabbatical almost, I might say. The result of this process is this concert which is a collection of original pieces and these pieces are far from being classical or far from being labelled as "jazz". I'm not disavowing my previous exploits. I explore the spoken word area a lot, which occasionally veers into a kind of parodic jazz theater. This is something I've been exploring more recently and it clearly shows my attraction for experimenting. I've always had that. There's also going to be a series of textures or sound design, exploring electronica. These will of course be combined at times with brass textures. We'll also have some moments, some guitar blasts with "distortion" that have a little alternative flavor, which can be contrasted with moments that are more introspective or moments of cinematic contemplation, sort of. So yes, it's basically a concert that has it all, but still in a musical coherence under the umbrella of a generative idea that I've always thought about, that of finding a way of being this world, of finding a balance between the dual experience, this one of existence/non-existence, light/absence of light, solitude/togetherness, inside/outside.

It also has a name, From now to now.

Yes. A clear invitation to anchor yourself into the present.

So strictly speaking, it will basically be a performance rather than a concert.

So it seems. I hadn't thought about it in particularly, but yes, if I think about it, it has a much stronger performative component than a normal concert would have.

I suppose it's a challenge for the Big Band members too. How are the rehearsals going so far?

Right now, we're in the middle of rehearsals. Yes, there are many challenges. Some of the arrangements aren't exactly easy and including this unusual intersection of styles or sounds is something the Big Band is not familiar with, but the pieces are friendly because they're beautiful, they're melodic and they're interesting and I think that breaks down any barriers of unfamiliarity or problems in reading or playing the scores.

You've actually collaborated with most of them by now meaning you're quite familiar with one another.

I know pretty much all the musicians and I have to admit I was flattered by the heartwarming welcome and this feeling of: hey, we already know each other, it's great to see you again and to make music together.

Up to this point, you've played other people's compositions, standards. This is completely different.

Yes. With the Big Band we usually played standards. This is the first time I've come up with my own material and we're doing this with the Big Band. So far in my early career I have come up with new music.

Will the project have a follow-up? Will From Now to Now materialise in another form, maybe an album?

I think this concert will turn into an album. Maybe in a live version of the concert on the 7th of December or in a later version, but that's what I want. Probably in 2024 we will expect a new album from Ana Cristina Leonte, the undersigned.

Interview by Viorel Grecu
Translated by Andreea Georgiana Bogdan,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu