Exploring the music scene of Austin, I met an exceptional country musician Leo Rondeau. Coming from the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota where he was surrounded by American folk music, he creates the songs which will never allow the fans of country genre and two-step dancers stay indifferent.
Here is a summary of our conversation about Leo’s life and creativity.
To hear his songs please go to his website
How did you find your path to music?
Three generations of my family played music including my great grandpa, grandpa and all his brothers. Being around them at a very young age raised my love for music and particularly for the Country style.
Today music is my main consumption of time, my main dedication. Not necessarily where I get most of my money from, but definitely where most of my effort in life goes to.
What was first – writing lyrics or playing the guitar?
It was about at the same time. I can’t recall one happening before the other.
When I had a recording I would read the lyrics and see who wrote the song so I was always interested in song writing. And later as soon as I started to play the guitar I started writing too.
Do you remember your first time on the stage?
I do recall the first time. There were very few people there so it was not a big deal. I remember moments even during last two weeks when I was way more nervous.
What is the worst thing that can happen during the performance that makes you nervous?
The biggest problem that I ever run into is forgetting lyrics. That’s the most stressful. When I’m getting ready for a big show that’s the only worry I really have going through in my mind.
What makes you different from other bands?
A lot of people play music and do it very well. But everybody is living a different life, so it is going to be unique in that respect that nobody else has done exactly what I’ve done. My music comes exactly where I am from.
Where are you from?
I am French-Indian from North Dakota. There were a lot of French trappers who came from Canada through North Dakota. This is where my French surname comes from.
Do you feel being influenced by Indian culture?
There was a huge government effort to eradicate any Indian identity whatsoever. So growing up I wasn’t taught about where I came from. Everything I’ve learned I did it myself, cause even at school with probably 90% of Indian kids there was only one elective class where you would learn about your culture. Only one class of Indian history a year!
Did your family manage to preserve the language?
There was a period when you couldn’t leave the reservation. My dad grew up in a reservation with the nuns in catholic school where they couldn’t speak the tong at all, so the language was taken away. I am trying to reclaim some of that but it’s difficult if you are not living there around the people.
Did you choose to keep your hair long as a link with your Indian roots?
Not really. I just think it looks cool.
What are your goals for future?
My goals are to remain inspired and keep writing.
I have a couple of records that I recorded so I’m trying to figure out some financing at the moment and put those out.
About the author:
Oxana believes that every person’s life can make an intriguing story for a book which can teach a lot of wisdom. Life in Russia, England, France, Hungary, USA and lots of travelling around the continents introduced her to exceptional personalities. She loves to share stories about people and destinations which bring new ideas and help to find a way to your true self. This is why she started her blog “In search of the genuine”