I’m an autistic musician who began as a self educated cellist. My classical study began in 2003 working with an early music specialist & two long term teachers from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. I also trained in chamber singing, joined classical ensembles & secured a music scholarship at Bournemouth University. I am working in indie bands songwriting, composing & arranging and am the singing-cellist frontman of Kadia & The Last Inklings, both of which achieved national recognition.

I also work as a session studio & live musician (20 yrs), including with Ninebarrow (10+ yrs) & Bob Whitley on a series of song cycles as a singing cellist featuring the baroque cello. I have appeared on 45 recordings. I am a trained educator & music teacher (15 yrs) & founded my own Youth Orchestra through Lord Lloyd-Weber’s MiSST Foundation.

current projects

Anne boleyn – wolf at the door

A historically informed song cycle.
Written and Composed by Bob Whitley, arranged by Leo MacKenzie
Performed by Bob Whitley and Le0 MacKenzie

A musical tale of love and Tudor tragedy. Bob Whitley (guitars, mandola and voice) and Le0 MacKenzie ( baroque cello and voice) take us back to the 16th Century and the story of the triumph and tragedy of Anne Boleyn.

The show will be touring to historic Tudor locations with discussions in progress with the likes of Hever Castle, Historic Royal Dockyards (Mary Rose), The Globe Theatre London as well as arts centres.


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the last inklings

I am the singing cellist half of this indie folk duo performing original material. Key highlights include our debut album ‘The Impossible Wild’ charting in the Official Folk Chart Top 40. It also won Fatea Magazine’s Debut Album of the Year award.

★★★★ “Overwhelmingly unique and pleasing” – RNR MAGAZINE

“It’s hard to believe there will be a better debut album this year” – FOLK RADIO UK

9/10 “Unique and inspiring” – MAVERICK

★★★ “A charm and gravity that draw you in” – SONGLINES

The Last Inklings are Leonardo MacKenzie and David Hoyland, both accomplished multi-instrumentalists with a solid folk background. The band’s innovative sound crosses genres, centred around cello, mandolin and vocal harmony, layered with guitar, piano, strings, synths and percussion. With vibrant backstories and creative musicianship, their songs have a modern flavour that is rich with imagery and narrative, exploring at their core what it is to be human.

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Ninebarrow band

Radio 2 Folk Award Nominees Ninebarrow are a multi-award-winning folk duo. Described by Mark Radcliffe as sounding like ‘two halves of one voice’, by Seth Lakeman as ‘a fantastic duo’ and by Kate Rusby as ‘absolutely amazing’, Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere perform songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles.

I have worked with them for ten years and feature on all five of their studio albums, two live albums and live stream recordings. I regularly perform with them in trio, quartet and full band line ups.


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previous projects


Kadia were a folk trio performing a mix of traditional and original material. I was the singing cellist front man. Key highlights include our debut album ‘East Of Alexandria’ was included in Telegraph’s Top Folk Albums of the Year. We were invited to join the legendary Brian McNeill Session on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival alongside Le Vent du Nord, Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys and Wildwood Kin.

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Fearne were a band operating out of Bournemouth on the South Coast of the UK between 2004-2017. I was a founder member of the band, playing cello. Fearne was primarily a 4 piece band but expanding up to 8 or 9 on stage members at times. The group’s style shifted from Pop to Indie to Folk and Roots. The band were lucky enough to open up for and share the stage with a host of diverse and brilliant talent including Passenger, Stu Larsen, Nizlopi, Steve Knightley, Feeder, Athlete, various X factor finalists, The Worzels & many more. Career highlights include appearances on the main stage of Purbeck Folk Festival, Larmer Tree Festival and Beach Break Live as well as winning the 2011 Dorset Music Award.

magellan – we sail to prove the earth is round

Written and Composed by Bob Whitley
Performed by Bob Whitley and Le0 MacKenzie

This song cycle was toured as a duo for 4 years during the 500 year anniversaries of the three year voyage made by Magellan.

Magellan’s Circumnavigation was the greatest voyage of human exploration, at a time when sailors believed in gigantic sea monsters, demons, boiling seas at the Equator and magnetic rocks that drew the nails out of the timbers. The sailors also believed that the world was flat and feared they would disappear over the edge. The naos or carricks they sailed in were small ships only 28m long and 7.5m wide. Their timbers were sealed with tar which melted. The wood rotted and was eaten by worms and the sailors were constantly pumping to keep the vessels afloat. Often they were without food or water and many died of scurvy while facing ‘seas higher than the mast’. The chances of a sailor surviving the voyage were very small, but if they did the rewards were very great. This story is set against the background of the voyage and follows an ordinary sailor and his wife mirroring the parallel story of Ferdinand and Beatriz Magellan.


member project recordings

2005 Fearne Kinder Egg EP – Violin and Cello recording
2014 Kadia Beacon Fires – Cello and Vocal recording
2013 Fearne Songs on Postcards – Cello Recording
2015 Kadia East of Alexandria – Cello and Vocal recording
2007 Fearne Colour in a World of Grey – Cello recording
2016 Fearne Journey of a Man – Cello Recording
2017 Kadia The Outlandish Collection – Cello, Violin, Double Bass, Piano and Vocal recording
2020 The Last Inklings Alchemy – Cello/vocal recording
2021 The Last Inklings The Impossible Wild – Cello/vocal recording – plus all the other instruments

Classical work

Bournemouth University Orchestra – Principal Cellist and Tutti Cello
Wessex Youth Orchestra – Principal Cellist and Tutti Cello
Westbourne Orchestral Society – Tutti Cellist
Boho Strings Wedding Quartet – Arranger and Cellist
Bournemouth Symphony Rusties Project – Cello
St Ambrose Strings – Tutti Cello and Viola

Session work


2010 Andrea Soler Sonic Kitchen Studio – Violin and Cello recording Earth on an Axis
2010 Lou Brown Sonic Kitchen Studio – Violin and Cello recording
2014 Aaron Jamie ‘Angel 5a’ at Sonic Kitchen Studio – Cello recording
2017 White Horse Whisperers untitled project – Cello and Vocal recording
2014 Helen Nicholson EP – Cello recording
2014 Willowen Blue Car Single – Cello recording
2014 Ninebarrow While the Blackthorn Burns – Cello and Violin recording
2016 Nautical Graffiti at the Blue Room Dorset – Cello and Vocal recording
2016 Ninebarrow Releasing the Leaves – Cello recording
2017 Ange Hardy ‘Bring Back Home’ at Beehive Studios – Cello and Vocal recording alongside Peter Knight of Steeleye Span.
2018 Ninebarrow The Waters and the Wild – Cello recording
2021 Ninebarrow While the Blackthorn Burns – Cello recording (um, this isn’t the title) + the new album due out soon + the live album and stream (DVD?)


Victor Checutti – Cello and Vocals
Andrea Soler BBC Radio Solent – Cello arrangements live on Sally Taylor’s BBC show
Willowen – Viola as part of a string trio for the launch of an album project
Fearne Songs on Postcards Launch – Cello
Boy and a Balloon – Cello
Fearne Five Years at Sea Launch – Cello
Louise Jordan No Petticoats Here Tour – Cello
Unicorn Cobblers Abingdon – Cello and Vocals
White Horse Whisperers – Cello and Vocals
Alex Beds – Cello
Ninebarrow Trio – Cello
Ninebarrow Quartet – Cello
Ninebarrow Band – Cello

classical versus baroque CELLO

Guitars vary considerably, from electric instruments to acoustic models and the hybrids inbetween. Even within acoustic instruments there’s a variation in the form of classical nylon strung instruments, dreadnought sized bodies, parlour guitars, gypsy jazz models and more.
Most people have forgotten that the cello offers more than the classical model we most often see in orchestras and ensembles. The cello’s earlier baroque cousin can still be found, although rare and more or less exclusively within early music contexts.
The differences appear small, but together they lead to a fundamentally different instrument in terms of playing technique, style and sound.

Knowing the difference between a Baroque and modern cello makes it possible to easily identify instruments by sight. The Baroque cello was played in large halls made of stone and with little material to absorb the sound. This made it possible for the cello to be smaller, as the room itself acted to amplify the sound. In contrast, the modern cello is often played in large concert halls with significant amounts of carpeting, requiring the instrument to be larger and louder.


Modern cellos use steel core and steel wound strings which was a relatively recent invention. Instead, the cellists of the Baroque period used animal gut, such as sheep, to string their instruments. These richly textured strings produce a range of overtones and colour, and steel strings have tried to replicate this sound. They are softer and strung at a lower tension, requiring less pressure to fret against the fingerboard.

End Pins

The pin that sticks out of the end of the modern cello did not exist on a Baroque cello. Performers in the Baroque period would support the instrument between the knees, resting on the calf. With a playing style less focusing on moving up and down the range of the fingerboard, the cello didn’t need to be held as securely, and without the modern classical need to play in the highest extremes of the range, having the cello rest at an exaggerated angle over the body wasn’t needed.


The bridge consists of a small piece of wood that upholds the strings and allows vibrations from the strings to travel to the main chamber of the cello. A thicker bridge will mute the vibrations, while a thinner bridge will transfer sound more easily. The Baroque cello had a large bridge, making it difficult to produce large amounts of volume. In contrast, the modern cello produces more sound due to the ability to transfer vibrations more easily between the strings and the cello’s chamber.

Bass Bars

The bass bar consists of a small piece of wood that stretches the length of the cello on the inside from the top to the bottom. Bass bars provide additional surface area for vibration and helps to transfer vibrations from the strings and bridge to the rest of the cello. The Baroque cello projected less sound, but spread the sound over a greater area allowing for a smaller bass bar. In the modern period, cellos play in a variety of locations that might not have ideal acoustics. For this reason, the bass bar has increased in size to create stronger vibrations and additional sound

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