Patrick Fitzsimons- electric & nylon-string guitars, vocals

Irish-born guitarist and singer, Patrick Fitzsimons, actually began his musical career as a percussionist. Since the mid-90s, Patrick has studied rhythmic traditions of Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Within the Interdisciplinary Studies department of Appalachian State University, Patrick designed a quasi-ethnomusicology degree, studying photojournalism in addition to music of West Africa and the Middle East. From 1999 to 2000, Patrick studied Cuban percussion at jazz & latin music school, Taller De Músics in Barcelona, with conguero, Alberto Cabello (Jerry González, Orquesta Canaima). Soon after, he moved to Asheville, NC to study the dunun ensemble music of Guinea with Tiani Tarr. Patrick helped form Ballet Warraba, an African drum & dance troupe based in Asheville, and performed on the djembe, sangban, and dunun. This experience led to Patrick performing with the likes of Guinean masters, such as Bolokada Conde and other members of the national ensemble, Les Percussions de Guinée. Patrick also played congas with various salsa bands, including Blue Montuno. Through all of these experiences, he learned the primordial connection between music and dance.

Meanwhile, Patrick honed his skills as a guitarist, developing a knack in particular for fingerpicking blues and ragtime. It was those styles that Patrick eventually hung his hat on as a full-time musician. On May 20th, 2006, Patrick’s music earned him 1st prize at Lenoir, North Carolina’s Multicultural Arts Festival. He’s released three albums since 2004. Patrick’s latest album, Full Circle, was released in November of 2012. Along with his guitar, Patrick has shared the stage with a great diversity of musicians & bands, including Doc Watson, The Kruger Brothers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Kofi Burbridge, and Toubab Krewe, among others.

Now focusing his energies principally as a guitarist, Patrick has continued his studies within the African diaspora, in particular styles of Mali, Congo, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, and Cuba.

In addition to Zansa, Patrick manages and performs with another afro-influenced group, Mande Foly, which plays the music of the Mandingue people of West Africa. This group has a decidedly more acoustic feel and features kamale ngoni & balafon player, Arouna Diarra from Burkina Faso, as well as Zansa bandmate, Adama Dembele.  Patrick also sings, plays bodhran and rhythm guitar for Irish band Gypsy Dargle. He continues music as a solo guitarist and singer as well, performing fingerstyle jazz, blues, ragtime, and a host of other styles. See for more.