Based in Toronto, Canada, Louis Simão has been performing and recording as a multi-instrumentalist in a variety of genres for over fifteen years, and has traveled to Brazil, Portugal, Cuba, and Morocco in order to study the local music.
As a youth, Simão played accordion in Portuguese folk groups and ranchos. In Toronto’s local fado scene, he has accompanied Fatima Ferreira, Armando Jorge, Tony Camara, Sonia Tavares & Nuno Cristo. He has also had the opportunity to perform and record as a side musician with artists such as, Nelly Furtado, Dominic Mancuso (2010 JUNO Winner), Michael Occhipinti & The Sicilian Jazz Project (2009 JUNO Nominee), Justin Rutlidge and the Junction Forty, The Lester McLean Trio, Guinga, The Art of Time Ensemble, Patricia Cano, “MARIA SEVERA” at The Shaw Festival, Tapestry New Opera Works, Luanda Jones, Eliana Cuevas, and Fritz McIntyre (Simply Red).
As a songwriter, Simão's music draws upon his heritage of Portuguese folk songs and fado, as well as Brazilian and African music, as well as the improvisational sensibility of jazz. Described as “utterly unique” (CBC Radio One), he was the winner of the 2007 USA Songwriting Competition (World Music category) with his song, "Fado Torto", as well as the World Music winner of the OCFF’s 2005 "Songs From The Heart" competition, with his song, “Saber Cair”. Simão’s upcoming project is entitled “Chora meu Fado”; an exploration of choro and fado that features string quintet, guitar, flute and percussion.
As leader of the ensemble Pedras da Rua (1999-2003), Simão opened for Cesaria Evora and Celso Machado, while also sharing a night with Brazilian reggae stars Chico Cesar and Rita Ribeiro. He also toured Portugal (2006) and was featured in Toronto’s LuminaTO Festival 2007. In 2008, as the invited artist of the Portuguese Consulate and the Instituto Camões at the Festival de Printemps in Azzemour, Morocco, Simão and his Lisbon-based quartet played to an enthusiastic crowd of thousands. He currently leads a trio that includes flutist Bill McBirnie and drummer Silas Silva.
Simão's diverse skills have him in demand as a music educator and clinician as well as a panel juror for the Canada Council for the Arts and FACTOR.