Music Profile: Simon Diaz

Two things that every Venezuelan can agree on, 1. loving are arepas and 2. Simón Diaz. The latter, is my favorite singer and father of the Venezuelan folklore.

El tío Simón (uncle Simon), as everyone likes to call him, made it his life mission to share the Venezuelan folk music with the world.  Gypsy Kings, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana, and many more artists won awards for adapting el tío Simon's music. He also has a few Grammys under his belt. 

It's funny - I have always loved him; even as a little girl, but the older I get, the more I love his music. I cannot say that about any other artist.

His songs quench my nostalgia and at the same, make it hurt even more. In any case, I  hope there is heaven where Simón Diaz is hanging out with my grandparents, waiting for me with a matching liqui-liqui. 

THE SCOOP  

SIMON: Simon Diaz dedicated his life to bringing the music from los llanos (Venezuelan plains) to the people. He ventured in music, radio and television throughout his career. He recorded more than 70 records and gave countless  performances worldwide. His stint in television was cherished, his show about teaching children popular culture landed him the nickname "tío Simon" (uncle Simon).

MUSIC: His music was typical from the area of the llanos (plains) in Venezuela thus making it folk music. The musical arrangements include the harp, maracas and Venezuela guitar among others. Super cool chill music. 

THE END: After killing it on the scene from 1948-2007 our beloved tío Simon began a battle with Alzheimer's that crippled him quite a bit. After struggling with the disease for 7 years he passed on February 19, 2014.

THE IMPACT: His musical styling has influenced major artists around the globe. Talents such as The Gipsy Kings have been greatly inspired by his music. They even redid his song "Caballo Viejo" which ultimately led to their hit "Bamboleo". His songs have been featured in movies by Almodóvar and performed by symphonies and orchestras around the world. Even Placido Domingo has fallen prisoner to this llanero's charm. And let's not forget Devendra Banhart's major man crush on Simon Diaz. 

"Con la muerte de Simón Díaz me siento como si una de las ultimas luces culturales se ha ido, al menos en términos de alguien con una voz que se escuchaba a través de los canales establecidos y oídos por la mayoría de la población.

Quiero seguir con mi punto, pero en verdad todavía no puedo ni siquiera hablar/escribir de Simón. Sólo he estado escuchando su música día y noche. Todavía no puedo expresar su significado en mi vida; como escritor, cantante, comediante, todo y tanto que fue, y que que todavía es y siempre será, para tantos, para mí. De alguna manera ha sido mas fácil hablar con amigos y mi familia acerca de mi abuelo, quien murió en Caracas dos días después de Simón…"

Devendra Banhart (Read more here

CONCLUSION: Without a doubt Simon Diaz was a visionary. I listen to his music every day, it makes me feel so much closer to Venezuela. I wish he were still around, but I'm also glad that he didn't have to see his beloved Venezuela like it is today. 

FINAL REMARKS: If you have happen to be at a dinner party with a bunch of Venezuelans, blast "Caballo Viejo" and watch the magic happen. 


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