Leonid & Friends
With multiple sold-out U.S. tours under its belt and hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, Leonid & Friends continues to astound its global audience with its unique ability in capturing the spirit, musicality, and fire of American supergroup Chicago. And what is even more stunning is that Leonid & Friends, comprised of 11 of the finest musicians in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus, haven’t seen Chicago perform live, yet replicates the band’s complex arrangements amazingly note for note.
Chicago has never been in Russia, and none of us have attended their concerts,” said Leonid Vorobyev, a multi-instrumentalist who is the band’s leader. “We have only recordings and videos (to help us learn Chicago songs).”
Ironically, Vorobyev wasn’t always a fan of horn bands, and as a teenager gravitated to the hard-driving guitar-based sounds of the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple, and Grand Funk Railroad. “In the early 1970s in the USSR, electric guitars, amplifiers, and drums were rare to find so at school we were playing self-made instruments,” Vorobyev explained. “We were allowed to rehearse in the same room with a horns band. Those musicians almost always were drunk and quite often tried to play with us our rock songs. It was a nightmare, and I hated them all!”
But that all changed when Vorobyev heard Chicago. He became an instant fan. “I loved so much the brilliant mixture of rock guitars, drums, and jazz horns with bright vocal harmonies,” he said. When Leonid & Friends isn’t touring, band members are in the studio in Moscow immersing themselves in Chicago’s storied catalog of hits and deep tracks while preparing for the next tour.
In September of 2018, the band recorded its first song from legendary supergroup Earth, Wind, & Fire and paid tribute to the band Blood, Sweat & Tears as well.
Borrowing a line from one of Chicago’s biggest hits, “it’s only the beginning” of great things from Leonid & Friends.
Blue Gate Performing Arts Center
760 S Van Buren St
Shipshewana, IN 46565
Tickets: Available March 3, 2023