Multi-instrumentalists David French and Louis Simão make their music at the cultural crossroads where the samba of Brazil meets the fado of Portugal; where the rhumba of Cuba joins the gnawa of Morocco. French and Simão celebrate the sounds of the world as they combine the power of folkloric music with the improvisational spirit of jazz.
French and Simão's debut recording Faia captures the sonic grace of their live performances and the rhythmic intensity of their original compositions. From the lilting samba of Poeira and the folkloric maculelê of Saber Cair to the haunting fado Canção do Mar, this album pays homage to musical traditions around the world. A highlight of this unusual blend of folk traditions is Louis' poetic Portuguese lyrics, which explore the sounds and stories of the Portuguese-speaking diaspora.
The duo began their musical association as founding members of world-music ensemble Pedras da Rua. Their debut album, Pra Voce, is a mixture of classic Portuguese songs and original material. They have opened for Cesaria Evora and Celso Machado, been featured on CBC Radio's Bandwidth One and shared a night with Brazilian reggae stars Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro at The Blueprints Arts Festival 2000; this performance 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.
With the improvisational som livre (free sound) at the heart of their musical philosophy, French and Simão's melodious mosaic places an emphasis on an intimate small-ensemble acoustic approach. The result is a hypnotic world music tapestry full of warmth and beauty - a virtuosic and compelling performance that is fascinating for both the eyes and ears.
"Dave is a no-holds barred player with every note pushing into unexplored territory. Good stuff!"
[Richard Bourcier, Jazzreview]
Multi-instrumentalist David French works with such diverse projects as Jacksoul, Mo'Funk artists One Step Beyond, and The Clayton/Scott Group. French has also performed and recorded with noted Canadian artists such as Peter Murray (Ron Sexsmith), Rick Shadrach Lazar and the Montuno Police and jazz bassist Jordan O'Connor's award winning Cash Cow.
In addition to composing for French and Simão's debut release Faia, David plays tenor, alto and soprano saxophones and percussion and shares vocal duties. French has also studied with trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has since expanded his musical palette to include the clarinet, bass clarinet and flute.
In 2001 French traveled to Brazil to take part in a capoeira batizado (capoeira is a Brazilian martial, cultural and musical art; the batizado is the initiation into this art form.) He reported on the batizado and his participation for CBC Radio's Global Village.
David is also a founding member of the Gulf Port Island Trio, who recently released their blues-infused roots album "Last Fair Deal Gone Down". French currently teaches jazz at Humber College in Toronto and has conducted jazz workshops throughout Canada and across Asia.
Composer and lyricist Louis Simão performs with an eclectic array of groups in Canada, the U.S. and Europe for over a decade. His love for music allows him to move freely through a range of genres; he is also an accomplished musician who displays phenomenal facility on bass, piano, accordion, guitar, pandeiro, surdo, cavaquinho and vocals.
The Toronto native studied jazz piano and acoustic bass at York University then honed his skills abroad with bossa nova guitarist Alfredo Machado at Escola de Música Vila Lobos in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His love for folkloric music has also taken him to Cuba, Morocco and his parents' native land of Portugal.
Highly in demand as a session musician, Simão performs and records in Canada and abroad with artists like Nelly Furtado, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Eliana Cuevas, Michael Occhipinti and Fritz McIntyre of Simply Red. Louis has also worked with such talented musicians as guitarists Jake Langley and Andrew Scott, saxophonist Harry Allen (John Pizzarelli), Rob Thaller's Ritmo Azul, jazz vocalist Bonnie Brett, Njacko Backo and Kalimba Kalimba, percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar and The Montuno Police, and pianist Mark Eisenman.
As a composer and producer Simão has scored for OLN's In from the Outpost, done sound design for Rogers Productions and can be heard on the movie soundtracks of Maya Gallus' Erotica and Bill Robertson's Apartment Hunting (Alliance Atlantis).