Biography

Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, 31-year-old Louis Simão has been performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in Canada, the U.S. and Europe for over a decade. Performing on bass, piano, accordion, guitar, vocals, pandeiro, surdo and cavaquinho, his love for music allows him to move freely through genres. Louis has studied jazz piano and acoustic bass in his home town at York University, and abroad with bossa nova guitarist Alfredo Machado at Escola de Música Vila Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has also been to Santiago, Cuba, Essaouira and Marrakesh, Morocco, and Lisbon, Portugal - his parent's home country - to study the local music.

Simão's diverse and highly sought after skills have afforded him the opportunity to perform and record in Canada and Europe with talented artists such as, Nelly Furtado, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Eliana Cuevas, Michael Occipinti, The Clayton/Scott Group, Fourteen Remembered, and Fritz McIntyre of Simply Red. He also leads, writes and arranges for his own reputable world-music ensemble, Pedras da Rua, which has opened for Cesaria Evora and Celso Machado, been featured on CBC Radio's Bandwith One, and has also shared a night with Brazilian reggae stars Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro at The Blueprints Arts Festival 2000, the performance of which became the subject of a documentary for Bravo's Centre Stage Chronicles. A remix of Pedras da Rua's "Terra do Bravo" is also featured on Required Listening Vol. #1, voted best Toronto disc of 2003 by NOW Magazine.

Always a blend of styles and traditions that constantly seeks to combine seemingly disparate elements, Simão's original music ranges from Portuguese folk songs and the fado, to the samba, bossa nova and other Brazilian genres; from African and Cuban music, to funk and jazz. With som livre (free sound) at the heart of his musical philosophy, Simão's compositions combine these various sounds along with an improvisational sensibility.

His most recent CD with saxophonist and composer David French is entitled Faia, and places an emphasis on an acoustic, small-ensemble approach, with singing in Portuguese. As a lyricist, Louis is forever exploring the sounds of the lusophone diaspora.

As a composer and producer, Simão has scored for OLN's In From the Outpost, has been published by Nightingale Music and Do Right! Music, has done sound design for Rogers Productions, and can also be heard on the soundtracks of Maya Gallus's Erotica as well as Bill Robertson's Apartment Hunting (Alliance Atlantis). Louis has also performed and recorded as a side musician with Toronto notables, Andrew Scott and New York saxophonist Harry Allen, The Lester Maclean Trio, Rob Thaller and Ritmo Azul, jazz vocalist Bonnie Brett, Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba, percussionists Alan Hetherington and Rick Shadrak Lazar, Rita di Ghent, Gord Sheard, Mark Kelso, Jake Langley and Mark Eisenman.