Pan Verdadero (True Bread) by Neil Leonard, Jan. 16 – Feb. 28, 2016

Pan Verdadero (True Bread)

Opening: Friday, January 15th from 6-8:00pm

Boston Cyberarts Gallery is proud to present Pan Verdadero (True Bread), an 8 channel sound installation containing two video projections. Focusing on los pregoneros, the street vendors of Cuba, True Bread reconstructs the sonic environment of urban Cuba that emerged following the recent liberalization of policies toward small businesses.

The installation’s loudspeakers present voices of pregoneros and incorporates minimal sound design to evoke the antiphony of the ancient phenomenon of street vendors calling out to attract business. Each pregonero performs a highly personal chant with a sense of spontaneity that is absent from the formulaic music and commentary that dominates the island’s airwaves.

Vendors chant self-made product slogans and carry wares in homemade carts. Products range from masonry skills, flowers, baked goods, produce, mattress springs and gold purchasing. Highly stylized brand songs are heard in voices that are reminiscent of the famous singers, Celia Cruz or Mayito Rivera.

“Neil Leonard … has … an installation in Stoyanov’s lower gallery. Called “Pan Verdadero (True Bread),” it consists of video clips of Havana street vendors who, with only semi-legal status, travel the city by bicycle selling baked goods from door to door and calling out their wares as they go. The combination of their voices and interwoven music by Mr. Leonard creates a haunting, rhythmic, chantlike score, secular spiritual music for a New World. After leaving the gallery I kept hearing it, with delight, in my head, on the street, all afternoon.”

– Holland Cotter, New York Times, September 26, 2013


Neil Leonard is a composer, saxophonist and interdisciplinary artist. His work ranges from solo concerts for saxophone/live electronics, to works for orchestra, audio/video installation and sound for dance, theater and performance.

His compositions/performances were featured by Carnegie Hall, Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Musicacustica (Beijing), International Computer Music Convention (Montreal), Tel Aviv Biennial for New Music, Moscow Autumn, Auditorium Parco della Music (Rome), Museo Riena Sofia (Madrid), Panama Jazz Festival, Jazz Plaza International Festival (Havana). Leonard’s ensemble featured Marshall Allen (Director of Sun Ra Orchestra), Bruce Barth, Joanne Brackeen, Don Byron, Uri Caine, Kenwood Dennard, Robin Eubanks, Oriente Lopez, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Badal Roy, Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He has collaborated with Juan Blanco, Richard Devine, Bill Frisell, Phill Niblock, Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, Amnon Wolman.

Leonard composed the music for Relatives, by Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong that was featured by the Whitney Biennial and the ICA, Boston. Leonard’s work with visual artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons spans twenty-five years. Their collaborative performance, film, video and installations were featured by the Havana Bienal, 49th and 55th Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art (NYC), purchased by the National Gallery of Canada and presented by Dakar Biennial.

Leonard is the Artistic Director of Berklee College of Music’s Interdisciplinary Arts Institute. He is currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster and is a Research Affiliate at M.I.T. program in Art, Culture and Technology.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by: