'The yodelling trademark first materialised in the late 1960s and came as a result of somebody owing [Leon] money. "I'd been trying to reach this cat for ages with no luck. I was at home and thought 'I'm gonna make this cat pick up the phone'--mentally. I began my yoga exercises and got to the head stand. With one intake of breath, I planned to walk to the phone upside down, dial his number, and make him answer with this mental projection.
"As I crossed the threshhold of the bedroom, I transcended. I was one place and my body was another. I dropped to the floor, right on my face and my teeth went into my bottom lip. There was blood everywhere....
"So I couldn't do my own show with Pharoah. I had eight stitches in my mouth. I couldn't do anything. Pharoah came by to see me [and he said] you can't pull out."
Leon decided to play the gig, a church benefit for a group of anti-police activists in New York. "I couldn't smile. I could hardly open my mouth...but I went along anyhow. I got up on the stage and when it came time for me to scat, this sound just came out. It shocked me. I didn't know where it was coming from.
"I realised it was me and I realised that the ancestors had arrived. Pharoah, standing beside me on stage just raised his eyebrows at me. The ancestors had given me what we call throat articulation and they said to me 'You will sing like this with your mouth CLOSED.' And that was the first time it presented itself to me, in a church. My God! Thank you....It surprises me, it does everything of its own volition. I call it Soularfone. The pygmies call it Umbo Weti....This voice is not me, my voice is ancient. This person you see before you is controlled by ego but my voice is egoless."