Simón Díaz

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Simón Díaz
Simón Díaz en Boston.jpg
Simón Díaz in 2005
Background information
Birth nameSimón Narciso Díaz Márquez
Born(1928-08-08)August 8, 1928
Barbacoas, Aragua, Venezuela
DiedFebruary 19, 2014(2014-02-19) (aged 85)
Caracas, Venezuela
GenresVenezuelan folk music
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, composer
Years active1948–2007

Simón Narciso Díaz Márquez (August 8, 1928 – February 19, 2014) was a Venezuelan singer and Grammy Award-winning composer of EBV music.


Díaz endeavored to recover the folklore and musical traditions of the llanos, the Venezuelan plains. This style of music has since been performed by artists such as Argentina's Mercedes Sosa, Brazil's Caetano Veloso, Spain's Joan Manuel Serrat, Peru's Susana Baca, Puerto Rico's Danny Rivera, and Venezuelans Franco De Vita, Soledad Bravo, Juan Carlos Salazar, Carlos Baute and José Luis Rodríguez, among others.[1][2] Many of Diaz's works have been adapted by symphonies and choral ensembles throughout Venezuela,[3] as well as being incorporated into the orchestral and choral arrangements of conductors and composers of academic music.[4]

Artists from various other disciplines have utilized Díaz's work. For example, German choreographer Pina Bausch included some of Díaz’s songs in her work Nur Du. Also, the film director Pedro Almodóvar included Díaz's song "Tonada de Luna Llena" as part of the soundtrack for his film The Flower of My Secret, sung by the Brazilian artist Caetano Veloso.[1][2]

Díaz has also performed in theater, motion pictures and television. In the 1960s he became a comedian in Venezuela. He had the leading role in three plays, and in films like El Reportero[5] and Isla de sal;[6] has produced and hosted 12 different TV shows, all of them devised to promote Venezuelan music. One of these shows, Contesta por Tío Simón, was devoted to teaching popular culture to children. This children's show was on the air for 10 years, during which time Díaz's viewers began calling him "Uncle Simón".[1][7] Diaz had a daily radio show for twenty-five years which focused on folklore and Venezuelan music. He has recorded over 70 records[3][8] and CDs and has made innumerable performances throughout his career.[1][9]

Simón Díaz signature

Díaz is the author of "Caballo Viejo", which was recorded by the Gipsy Kings as the hit song "Bamboléo". His compositions have been performed by artists such as Plácido Domingo,[10] Ray Conniff,[11] Julio Iglesias,[12] Celia Cruz,[10] Rubén Blades,[10] Gilberto Santa Rosa,[10] Gipsy Kings,[10] Ivan Lins,[13] Joyce,[14] Cheo Feliciano,[15] Juan Gabriel,[10] María Dolores Pradera,[16] Martirio,[17] Tania Libertad,[18] Ry Cooder[19] and Devendra Banhart[1][10]

The Latin American TV channel A&E MUNDO produced a documentary dedicated to Díaz under its “Biography” program that honors Diaz's many contributions to Venezuelan culture, the program began airing in September 2004.[3]

After battling Alzheimer's disease for many years, he died on 19 February 2014.[20]


Serie Title Label Year
LP 6124 Parranda Criolla Palacio 1963
LP 6128 Lila + Hugo + Simón: Música de la Película "Isla de Sal" Palacio 1963
LP 6136 ¡Ya Llegó Simón! Palacio 1963
LP 6146 De Parranda con Simón Palacio 1964
LP 6154 Criollo y Sabroso Palacio 1965
LP 6181 Caracha Negro Palacio 1966
LP 6194 Gaitas y Parrandas con Simón Palacio 1967
LP 6221 Simón En Salsa... En Gaita Palacio 1968
LP 6253 Simón' 69 Palacio 1969
LP 6273 Artistas Venezolanos Solamente Palacio
LP 6275 Gaita 70 Palacio 1970
LP 6297 Simon 71 Palacio 1971
LPS 66299 Tonadas Palacio 1974
L.P.S. 109 Navidad Criolla con el Quinto Criollo Palacio/Guarura 1979
LPS 66333 La Gaita de las Cuñas: El Candidato Chévere ¡Vota por Él! Palacio/H.B 1973
LPS 66345 Las Gaitas de Simón: Enemigo Público N°1 Palacio/H.B 1974
LPS 66363 Las Gaitas de Simón: Culpable? Palacio/H.B 1975
LPS 66384 Tonadas Vol.2 Palacio 1976
LPS 66383 Las Gaitas de Simón: Cuñas, Locas, Borrachitos Palacio/H.B
LPS 66406 Las Gaitas de Simón Palacio/H.B 1977
LPS 66407 Canciones Criollas Vol.3 Palacio 1978
LPS 66430 Canciones y Tonadas Vol.4 Palacio 1978
LPS 66479 Golpe y Pasaje: Caballo Viejo Palacio 1980
LPS 66483 Música Folklórica y Popular de Venezuela en Contrapunto Palacio
LPS 66508 Tonadas Favoritas Palacio
LPS 66591 Sus Grandes Éxitos Palacio
LPS 2058 Amor Enguayabao Palacio/Rodven 1993
LPS 2067 Cuenta y Canta Vol.1 Palacio
LPS 2068 Cuenta y Canta Vol.2 Palacio

Awards and recognition[edit]

Simón Díaz was awarded the highest recognition conferred by the Venezuelan state, "The Great Ribbon of the Liberator's Order". He was given honorary doctorate degrees by two major Venezuelan universities, Simón Rodríguez University[21] and Zulia’s Universidad Católica Cecilio Acosta.

On September 30, 2008, the Latin Grammy Awards announced that it would honor Díaz with a Lifetime Achievement Award, (El Premio del Consejo Directivo).[22] Diaz was awarded the 2008 Latin Recording Academy Trustees Award, presented by Venezuelan salsa singer Oscar D'León.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Diaz, Simón. "Simón Díaz". Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  2. ^ a b "Soundtracks for La flor de mi secreto (1995)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  3. ^ a b c "Simon Diaz". National Geographic Music. Archived from the original on 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2009-10-24."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."
  4. ^ Graci, Carl; Lindsay, Matt (2005-09-12). "GWU Press Release". George Washington University. GWU Division of External Relations. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  5. ^ "El reportero (1968)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  6. ^ "Isla de sal (1964)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  7. ^ a b "Honorary Latin Grammy Award for Simón Díaz". Udenrigsministeriet. Retrieved 2009-10-24.[dead link]
  8. ^ "Simon Diaz". The Daily Planet. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  9. ^ "Simón Díaz". The Guide to Venezuelan Music. Sincopa. Retrieved 2009-10-27. Lists details on 56 of Diaz's albums
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Simón Díaz". Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  11. ^ Caballo Viejo recorded by Conniff in his album, Fantástico! 1983 Brazilian release CBS-138578
  12. ^ "Julio Iglesias Latinamente - Bamboleo". Sony Bmg/Columbia. 1989. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  13. ^ "Ivan Lins - Simon Diaz". Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  14. ^ "Simón Díaz". Gracias Simón. Latin World. 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-27.Joyce. Ivan Lins, Cheo Feliciano
  15. ^ Steward, Sue. "Simn Diaz - Gracias". World Music journalist. Passion Music. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2009-10-27. Joyce, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Cheo Feliciano, Luis Enrique, Danny Rivera, Ivan Lins, Joan Manuel Serrat
  16. ^ "María Dolores Pradera / Habaneras de Cadiz / El becerrito". 1986 SERDISCO. Archived from the original on 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2009-10-27.Pradera performs El becerrito, written by Simon Diaz
  17. ^ CUBARTE, The Portal of Cuban Culture. 2009-10-06. Missing or empty |title= (help)link[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Amar Amando". Tania Libertad. T.H. Rodven. Retrieved 2009-10-27.Libertad performs Caballo Viejo on her album Amar Amando
  19. ^ "Simon Diaz". Global Rhythm. Retrieved 2009-10-27.Celia Cruz, Plácido Domingo, Ry Cooder and the Gipsy Kings
  20. ^ "Falleció el tío Simón de Venezuela — teleSUR" (in Spanish). 2014-02-19. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  21. ^ Finol, David (2009-07-29). "Doctorado Honoris Causa en Música al maestro Simón Díaz". El Nacional. Retrieved 2009-10-23.[dead link]
  22. ^ "Artists to Receive the 2008 Latin Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award". Latin Grammy. Latin Retrieved 2009-10-23.

External links[edit]