One of the most versatile artists in Venezuelaand one of the most beloved, Simón Diaz (b. 1928) began his career in the Venezuelan música llanera tradition (music of the plains), seeking to renew a national interest in the genre while recording over seventy albums.
For more than 50 years, Simón Diaz has been a fixture in Venezuelan culture as a singer, composer, poet, actor and all-around cultural icon. As a composer, Diaz' music has been recorded and performed internationally by artists including Caetano Veloso (whose version of Diaz's "Tonada de Luna Llena" was featured in the Pedro Almodovar film La Flor de Mi Secreto), and many of his works have been adapted by symphonies and choral ensembles throughout Venezuela.
In the 1960s, Diaz began an illustrious career as a comedian and actor in television, theater and film, and went on to produce several nationally renowned television shows, all with the commitment to preserving and disseminating traditional Venezuelan folk music and culture. The prestigious Latin American TV channel A&E Mundo produced a documentary dedicated to Simon under its acclaimed Biography series in 2004, honoring his many contributions to Venezuelan culture.
Diaz' compositions reflect the pride and affection for his Venezuelan countryside, in particular of the plains region and its music. His most celebrated songs include "Caballo Viejo," which became a smash hit in a crossover genre known as charanga vallenata, and "Bamboleo," recorded by the Gipsy Kings and Celia Cruz. His works have been performed and recorded by a who's whom of international music, from Plácido Domingo to Ivan Lins. Well into his 70s, Diaz maintains an active artistic life, and continues his performing and touring career with appearances throughout Latin America and the United States, including a slated performance in 2006 at Carnegie Hall. Rebeca Mauleon