The 42 year-old Frenchman, Cedric Leonardi is the visionary behind the Gypsy Allstar project. Born to be a musician, Cedric fell in love with drums at the age of 12 but has been captivated by music and felt rhythm in everything he has heard and seen for as long as he can remember.
From Montpellier, a coastal town in the south of France, Cedric remembers strolling through the Gypsy barrio, ‘la cite gely’, close to his home, soaking up Gypsy culture .
Cedric Leonardi’s passion for gypsy music started long before he joined the Gypsy Kings.
From his window on the outskirts of Montpellier’s ‘La city gely’ where the gypsies of the South of France have their base, Cedric could hear the striking rhythms and voices which spawned the Gypsy Kings.
“They could hear me and I could hear them”, explained Ced of his start as a drummer 25 years ago co-inciding with his love affair with gypsy music.
Stepping out on a Bohemian path, he has traveled, studied and toured for the love of his art for the past 25 years.
Cedric’s passion for drumming has seen him explore everything from Irish folk to the vibrant Latin music of Brazil and Cuba , through the Carribean and Spain ; Flamenco, European pop, Sufi rhythms, Rock and Jazz.
“When I really get into the drumming- practicing, playing, performing- it’s a natural high. It makes me fly. I forget everything else.
Touring the world with various renown international artists, Cedric highlights his time as drummer with the Gypsy Kings, as a quintessential opportunity to combine all the things he loves most – exploring the world, meeting new people, sounds and ideas, “opening myself to new ways of thinking and seeing life.”
Coming back to these roots, Ced is working with the gypsies of the Camargue that he grew up with, hand picking a selection of exquisite artists for his Gypsy AllStars project.
“ I am really excited to now fuse these familiar sounds with music, musicians and instruments from all over the world. It’s a wonderful experiment – very rewarding and full of joy.”
Building on a core team of long time friends, Ced has enlisted the support of his Gipsy Kings alumni to help bring his vision for the Gypsy AllStars alive.
The project invites the multi-talented pedigree of gypsies from around the world to share their passion for music and life, igniting audiences wherever they go. It is the first in a series, as the gypsy in Cedric continues to explore music from around the globe.
When not on tour, and while on tour Cedric is passing on his knowledge through drum clinics and workshops for kids; most recently as Artist-in-Residence at Agape Spiritual Center and for the Chaka Khan Foundation.
“I am excited to share my passion – sharing what I know – and I also learn so much as I create these programs and workshops. Its giving me a chance to challenge myself as I explore my musical heritage and create something new both for the kids and myself, “ says Cedric.