« Here are nine of my favorite rhythms, which I cherish as much as the songs I enjoy
performing on my piano or in my head. Because they hold within them the identity of a
region, a country, a people or a music. I first discovered them through the
“Tambor y Canto Encounters” at the Cité de la Musique in Marseille. I then started to
master them, slipping them in on my keyboard between percussionists and singers.
Then I brought them home with me and showed them to my jazz collaborators… My most
cherished rhythms ” will have surely changed since the beginning of the voyage, but no
matter, just as long as we make it there, to listen to the album and undertake the musical
journey through America, the one in the South, the one that speaks Spanish and
Portuguese, the one with llaneros, boleristas and candomberos, where music is dance,
danzón, côco and huayno. »
As a pianist, composer, arranger with training in classical and jazz music, Simon
Bolzinger is passionate about traditional music from South America and the Caribbean,
which he transcribes to the piano, or re-writes for orchestras, always respectful of
traditions and striving for authenticity.
Artistic Director of the PICANTE Association in Marseille, he organizes the “Rencontres Tambor y
Canto” (“Tambor y Canto Encounters”), which revolve around traditional music and hold
international exchanges that might lead to the production of shows and records.
A classically-trained musician, he discovered South American music singing in choirs after joining
the university choirs of Caracas under the direction of Alberto Grau and Maria Guinand. His two
years in Venezuela (1989-90) provided him the opportunity to learn about Afro-Venezuelan salsa
and polyrhythms. He earned the Gold Medal in the jazz class at the Conservatoire de Marseille,
under the direction of Guy Longnon (1992).
Following his studies in Physics Engineering and his PhD in Acoustics (1995) under the direction of
composer Jean-Claude Risset, he decided on becoming a professional musician and trained the
salsa group ZUMBAO through fifteen years of tours to international recognition, confirmed by the
opening of the Feria de Cali (2006). A connoisseur of traditional Venezuelan music, he also
studied in the Cuban tradition, in which he founded the ensemble “Galarumba” with the singer
Martha Galarraga and percussionist Gustavo Ovalles (2003).
He started the annual “Tambor y Canto” encounters on traditional music at the Cité de la
Musique in Marseille (2005), where traditional music from the South American countries of Cuba,
Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay get presented and revisited. Many
creations and collaborations with the tradition’s artistic heirs were to follow. The most
accomplished is unquestionably the Tambor y Canto Company, which mixes traditions from four
countries, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina and Peru, with jazz (CD “Tambor y Canto”, 2017 / Quart de
Lune – Rue Stendhal).
In 2010 he turned back to instrumental jazz, first in a quartet with saxophonist Olivier Temime on
the album “Cantos Queridos”, then as part of a trio on a new work “Ritmos Queridos” (2020).
He could also be found composing for the vocal ensemble “Voix de Strass” in Strasbourg, and
doing arrangements and accompaniment for mixed-tradition songs: “Nougarôtrement”
performances with Jean-Philippe Trotobas, “Wayaj” with Elsy Fleriag, “Barbara Jazz” with Katy
Bolide, “Hispano América” with Choune and Sylvie Paz, “Cabaret Eldorado” with Gil Aniorte,
“Agua” with Regina Celia, “Nina, une évocation” with Corinne Vangysel.