Fred Leone is one of the Butchulla Songmen with Aboriginal, Tongan and South-Sea Islander roots. He comes from the Garrwa and Butchulla tribes.
Fred’s role as a Songman sees him as one of the custodians of the traditional songs of the Butchulla tribe and one of a handful of keepers and custodians of their language. Fred is active in his role as a Songman, ensuring that contemporary Butchulla stories are embedded into the collective memory of the tribes oral histories and ceremonies going forward.
As a Songman, his primary instrument is his voice, yet he uses Didgeridoo (Kuluru in Garrwa language), boomerangs (Bargan in Butchulla language), Emu egg (Ngurunj in Butchulla language), tree branches, sand and other objects from K’gari to form his traditional sound pallet.
Fred has been touring the world for over a decade, throwing rhymes and traveling with Public Enemy, Dead Prez and People Under The Stairs as well as receiving invites to collaborate and play with contemporary artists such as John Butler, Xavier Rudd, Amanda Palmer, best-selling author, Neil Gaiman and many, many more.
Fred blends his love of hip-hop rhyming and his singularly unique vocal style with his adeptness playing traditional instruments to create an utterly new and unique sound. He’s known for his abilities to transcend genre and form whilst bringing the true integrity of his life’s calling as a Songman to the forefront of all that he touches.
Recently, his guest appearance singing in Butchulla on his cousin Birdz’s track Bagi-la-m Bargan helped see the song become a hit, with millions of streams, a cavalcade of synch placements and a placement at #30 on Triple J’s hottest 100.
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