'Brasileirinho' Revisited

Mika Kaurismäki's excellent documentary on Choro in Rio, Brasileirinho (2005), deserves to be viewed more than once - the atmosphere of the film, the great performance by contemporary stars of choro is spellbinding and persuades you to watch the movie over again. At least, this is the way I felt after watching the film for the first time, since then I have seen it two or three times more - last time during this week of Christmas. I am not going to give you an abstract of the film, the story and its background may be found at the official website of the film, click on headline to learn more. Instead I'll insert three scenes of great performance from the film that have been uploaded at YouTube. But before doing so I have a proposal to our readers and regular visitors of this blog.

The Choro-Music blogspot started in June 2006 inspired by Mika Kaurismäki's documentary and has aimed to collect and share available info on essential artists and choro recordings, up till now more than 130 entries have been posted by the editors of the blog. However, if the blog is going to be continued on a regular basis, we need a little help from our readers. I propose you to be a guest contributor of the Choro-Music blog, if you have info, stories, pictures, recordings, comments etc. you would like to discuss and share with our readers. Also, if you are doing research on certain aspects of choro and related music, please feel free to share your work or work-in-progress with the readers of this blog. Send your proposals, contributions or comments to keepswinging@live.nl and be a guest contributor of the Choro-Music blog! Maybe you're first in line to have your contribution published here!

As mentioned above, I have revisited Mika Kaurismäki's Brasileirinho this week. Below I insert three scenes from the documentary that have been uploaded at YouTube. The first scene is from the beginning of the film, Trio Madeira Brasil performing Jacob do Bandolim's "Santa Morena"

The next scene is from an outdoor roda de choro featuring the contemporary stars of choro in a performance of Pixinguinha's 'Cochichando'

The last scene is from the concert hall featuring Yamadu Costa and Trio Madeira Brasil a.o., a performance of the tune 'Machcando'

A Happy New Year - Um feliz Ano Novo


Uma História do Choro

During the past week I finally had my copy of the 2-cd set, 'Uma História do Choro', released earlier this fall by the Deckdisc label. The cds are produced by Henrique Cazes, cavaquinho player and choro historian, and the Japanese musicproducer, Katsunori Tanaka, who has produced several recordings by Brazilian artists - the cd-set was issued in both Brazil and Japan at the same time during October.

In the accompanying booklet the producers tell about the idea of the project, which was to re-create notable music of the choro tradition in a contemporary setting performed by contemporary choro musicians to exemplify choro as a living tradition in Brazil of today. The aim of the project has succeeded, the music performed on the two discs is a strong document in favour of the fact that choro is still very much alive, I think. It's a thrill to learn that Brazilians seriously take care of their musical culture through projects like this.

The two cds have 28 tracks in all, 14 on each, and the tracks are organized in a chronological order so that the musical examples tell the story of choro from the beginning till now. Each track has desricptive notes on the background of the chosen music in the accompanying booklet, further a list of personnel of participating musicians - the booklet is in both Portuguese and English. The choice of musical composers and compositions represent notable examples from the story of choro and are a result of a compromise, as not all branches of choro and variations can be contained in a project like this - thus, the title of the cd-set is singular and stresses the fact that other stories could be told, too. Among represented composers of choro there are examples from Patápio Silva to Anacleto de Medeiros, Joaquim Callado, Ernesto Nazareth, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Pixinguinha, Luperce Miranda, Waldir Azevedo, Garoto, Jacob do Bandolim, Radamés Gnattali, a.o. Among more than 30 participating contemporary musicians are Henrique Cazes (cavaquinho, violão tenor, el-g), Alexandre Maionese, Leonardo Miranda (flute), Paulo Sérgio Santos, Rui Alvim (clarinette), Maria Teresa Madeira (piano), Silvério Pontes (trumpet), Zé da Velha (trombone), Zé Paulo Becker and Marcello Gonçalves (6 & 7 string guitar) - the list is too long to quote here. Click on picture to read the tracklist.

As mentioned above, I think the project of telling the story of choro in music by contemporary performers has succeeded, the cd-set is highly recommended and essential, if you are seriously interested in choro and its tradition in a contemporary setting.

The first track of the cd-set is a reading of Joaquim Callado's "Flor Amorosa", a composition that ranks among the first of the genre, from 1870. Below I insert a video performance of "Flor Amorosa"

Merry Christmas - Feliz Natal!

Villa-Lobos - Guitar & Choro

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), the world-famous Brazilian composer of more than 800 works in the field of classical music, was heavily inspired and influenced by the choro, which he once described as the integral translation of the Brazilian soul in the form of music.
Villa-Lobos began studying music at an early age, when his father, an amateur musician, taught him to play cello, viola, and guitar. These early influences later became evident in the orchestration of some of his more prominent works. Although he intended to enter school to study medicine, Villa-Lobos soon found that he preferred spending time with the local popular musicians, becoming familiar with the various musical styles native to Rio de Janeiro's street and night life. Among other skills, he learned to improvise guitar melodies by observing and studying choro guitarists, and he would actually develop a five finger playing teqnique in the right hand to obtain a richer sound of the instrument than usually made possible by applying a traditional classical right-hand technique. - To give you an impression of his ability and skills as a guitarist, I found a short film fragment showing Villa-Lobos playing a part of one of his own compositions for guitar, the Prelude No. 2

From the ages of 18 to 25 Villa-Lobos traveled extensively throughout Brazil and the African-influenced Caribbean nations, collecting themes and assessing the major style characteristics of the local musics. When he returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1912, Villa-Lobos briefly attempted to receive a more formalized education, but his personality and musical practice proved ill-matched with the academic establishment and, although he made important connections with the faculty, he soon left classes. He spent the next ten years composing and playing freelance cello in cafes and cinemas to earn a living. - From 1923 to 1930, Villa-Lobos found himself centered in Paris, where he was a huge success, his music being widely published and frequently performed. It was during his stay in Europe that he met with Segovia, the great maestro of the classical guitar, who would play and promote Villa-Lobos' guitar compositions to an European audience. - I found a video of Segovia performing Villa-Lobos' Study No. 1 in Em

Villa-Lobos eventually returned to Brazil, becoming one of the most esteemed artists of the new Nationalist regime, which lasted until 1945. During the 1930s, Villa-Lobos involved himself deeply and enthusiastically with public music education, once again traveling throughout Brazil to offer his services as a teacher and school coordinator. In 1945, his passion reached the ultimate fruition when he founded the Brazilian Academy of Music. He spent the last ten years of his life traveling and conducting, primarily in New York and Paris.

As mentioned above, Villa-Lobos was heavyly influenced by choro in his own work as a composer, and throughout his career he composed 12 pieces of music in the genre, 5 of them for solo guitar, the remaining for small ensemble or full symphonic orchestration. His choros for solo guitar have become standards within the repertoire of classical master class guitar performance. To give you an impression of Villa-Lobos' choro compositions for solo guitar, I insert a video performance by David Russell playing Choro tipico no 1



This time of the year record retailers and online-stores offering cds/music for sale are busy handling orders from people to be supplied before the Christmas holidays later this month. This often means that you have to be a patient customer to have your ordered items, I know the situation, as I have been waiting for some time to have a couple of interesting items for my collection of choro, not yet received.

Recently I read a small preview of a double disc, 'Uma História do Choro', released by the Deckdisc label late October. According to the info available this two cds are a result of a project initiated by Henrique Cazes, cavaquinho virtuoso and choro historian. The aim of this project has been to relive the story of choro through 28 recordings of examples of notable choro composers by contemporary musicians excelling their skills in the choro genre. Learn more about the item by clicking the picture.

Another item that has caught my interest is a recently published Songbook, 'Choro volume 1', by journalist Sérgio Cabral and the composer and musician Mário Séve, containing 97 choros in written music and accompanying text. The book is published by Lumiar and definitely may be a crucial item to add to your collection of choro, if you like to play choro yourself. Learn more about the contents by clicking the picture.
If this small pre-view of the two mentioned items has caught your interest, both items are available through the online facility of Samba Store
Searching YouTube for examples of choro or related performed on solo guitar, I found a video I like to share this time to fill in the interregnum between news at this blog spot. The video is uploaded by an American - an accomplished guitarist, who has his contribution uploaded under the name of troubleclef. - Enjoy troubleclef's rendition of "Aristocrática" (Schottisch-Choro). Music by Paulo Bellinati


Zé Menezes Relendo Garoto

Earlier this year InterCDRecords of Brazil re-issued the shown cd by Zé Menezes, 'Relendo Garoto' ( cd 789550923504-5) licensed from the RGE-Som Livre label and originally released 1998. The 14 tracks on the cd were recorded during January 1998 and contain music composed by Garoto (Anibal Augusto Sardinha, 1915-1955), the great Brazilian master of all plucked instruments. Zé Menezes (b 1921) is one of few recording artists I've heard, who has managed to revive Garoto's music in a way that recreates the atmosphere of the original recordings, maybe because Menezes himself is a master of both the violão, the violão tenor, bandolim, cavaquinho and the electric guitar and uses most of the mentioned instruments in this recording. Zé Menezes has made the arrangements of the performed music, and on half of the tracks he is accompanied by a string ensemble consisting of violin, viola and double bass plus rhythm, the remaining tracks are solo renditions. The cd is a great tribute to Garoto's music, fortunately made available again, highly recommended!

Tracklist inserted below. Click on headline for further discographical info; info about the career of Zé Menezes to be found clicking here

1. Quanto Dói uma Saudade; 2. Gente Humilde; 3. Meditando; 4. Vivo Sonhando; 5. Tristeza de um Violão; 6. Meditação; 7. Gracioso; 8. Duas Contas; 9. Improviso; 10. Desvairada; 11. Esperança12. Inspiração; 13. Voltarei; 14. São Paulo Quatrocentão

It's a thrill to learn that Zé Menezes at age 86 is still an active performer, participating in shows and making recordings with a new generation of skilled Brazilian musicians. I found a short video clip, recorded at a concert recently. Unfortunately, sound and image qulity is not the best, however, hope you to enjoy anyway.


'Tico-Tico' Celebration

2007 has been a year of several celebrations regarding choro, notable choro composers like Pixinguinha and Chiquinha Gonzaga have been brought into the spotlight and officially celebrated in Brazil through various events - yet another sign that choro is kept well alive and being a living tradition in contemporary Brazil. However, outside Brazil choro and choro music still is rather unknown to the general public - except for one single composition. Everybody seems to know a version of Zequinha de Abreu's "Tico-Tico no Fubá", which may be the most performed choro ever. If you click on headline, you have the possibility of downloading and listening to 61 different versions of the tune, compiled by an American radio station - a good example of the composition's ability of surviving various musical attempts.

"Tico-Tico no Fubá" was composed by Zequinha de Abreu in 1917, which means the tune has been around for 90 years. It was first recorded in 1931 by the Orchestra Colbaz and later made famous through Carmen Miranda's recordings and performances of the tune in movies and on stage in the USA, introducing a craze for Latin Amerincan music and performers in the States throughout the 40's and early 50's, a decade before bossa nova and the new wave became a trend in the Western world. - Let's celebrate 'Tico-tico' and choro enjoying one of Carmen Miranda's performances of the tune:

Perhaps the most well known recordings of "Tico Tico" in America were those made by the first lady of the organ, Miss Ethel Smith on the Hammond. I found an example of a filmed performance by Ethel Smith:

As mentioned above, "Tico-tico" seems to be a tune known by everybody, the music has challenged all kind of musicians to make their own contribution of the music. Here is a contribution by a performer of the ukulele:

Dutchmen seem to have their own way of performing "Tico-tico" judging from the last video this time celebrating the tune's 90 years. Have a healthy laugh enjoying "The Flying Dutchmen":


Isaías e seus Chorões

Isaías e seus Chorões of São Paulo first appeared in 1970. The group was formed by two brothers, Isaías Bueno de Almeida (b 1937) and Israel Bueno de Almeida (b 1943) . Isaías took to the bandolim as a self-taught student at age ten, and soon became a member of a regional. Israel started in music a little after his brother, taking to the cavaquinho and later violão 7 cordas. The two brothers started to play together in amateur shows in 1953, but soon was professionally involved with the music scene.

As a Jacob do Bandolim protégé, Isaías had the necessary attention to develop his artistry, becoming the most important bandolinist of São Paulo. At the same time, he had to fight Jacob do Bandolim's authoritarian character, as do Bandolim was expressly adverse to improvisation in choro, and Isaías was an enthusiast of that musical expression. By his turn, Israel developed interests in different genres like jazz and bossa nova, the result of which shows underneath his elaborate harmonic accompaniments, not common in traditional choro.

They both joined the famous Conjunto Atlântico beginning in 1955, participating in several choro programs at the state-run TV Cultura in São Paulo. In 1970 they formed Isaías e seus Chorões, as mentioned. The ensemble soon became São Paulo's most important choro group.

Isaías e seus Chorões has accompanied Elizeth Cardoso, Paulinho da Viola, Altamiro Carrilho, Sílvio Caldas, Nelson Gonçalves, and Arthur Moreira Lima, among others. The group also participated in important historic events such as a celebration of Waldir Azevedo's career at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo.

"Pé na Cadeira" (Kuarup, KCD122, iss.1999) is a representative album by Isaías e seus Chorões. - Tracklist inserted below:
1) Sofres Porque Queres (Pixinguinha/ Benedito Lacerda); 2) Fricotes de viúva (Amador Pinho); 3) Choro Triste Nº 2 (Garoto); 4) Salomé (Callado); 5) Valsa do Além (Mario Moretti Filho); 6) Tão Só (Isaias); 7) Pé na cadeira (Viché); 8) Músicos e Poetas (Sivuca);9) A César o que é de César (Bonfiglio de Oliveira); 10) Soros (Israel Bueno de Almeida); 11) Carnaval duvidoso (Carramona); 12) Cuidado com Ele (Nelson Alves)
I found a video of a live-performance by Isaías e seus Chorões from 2005, here playing "Lamentos" by Pixinguinha - hope you to enjoy!


"Vamos Acabar com o Baile" [Let's stop the dance]

Garoto (Anibal Augusto Sardinha) (1915-1955) remains a constant icon in Brazilian music thanks to his musical legacy, documented through the recordings he made and the compositions he wrote towards the end of his life. Garoto has had a lasting impact on the concept of playing the violão in Brazil being the first to explore new directions in choro and samba, inspired and influenced by American jazz harmony and classical composers like i.e. Debussy. Moreover, Garoto was a multi-string virtuoso devoting his skills to almost all plucked instruments: violão (6 string acoustic guitar), electric guitar, tenor guitar, banjo, cavaquinho, bandolim and even the Hawaiian steel guitar. Such a multi-faced tallent is hard to cope with, only few other figures in Brazilian music have dared to explore his tallent in all aspects. However, this does not mean that Garoto's music haven't been played and recorded by other artists, on the contrary, notable examples being Paulo Bellinati's recording of Garoto's guitar works from 1991, the various contributions by Raphael Rabello and the tribute release by Zé Menezes from 1998 a.o..

Just recently a new cd featuring musical compositions by Garoto has been released, 'Vamos Acabar com o Baile' by Henrique Cazes & Marcello Gonçalves on the Deckdisc label (click headline). The cd is a result of a project initiated by Henrique Cazes, cavaquinho virtuose, producer and music historian. To cellebrate his 30 years in music Henrique Cazes has joined forces with 7-string guitar virtuoso Marcello Gonçalves of Trio Madeira Brasil in an excellent tribute to Garoto's music by recording 13 of Garoto's compositions in a duo setting. The mentioned cd has Henrique Cazes playing both the cavaquinho and a tenor guitar similar to the one played by Garoto - it took Cazes 15 years to get this instrument he told in a recent interview. The interplay between Cazes and Gonçalves is just marvellous, the two musicians know each other in and out from an earlier collaboration devoted to Pixinguinha's music, the result being a recording that without doubt will rank among the highest rated of 2007 in the instrumental category. Highly recommended! - Tracklist inserted below.

1 - Gente Humilde; 2 - Vamos Acabar com o Baile; 3 - Sempre Perto de Você; 4 - Desvairada; 5 - Gracioso; 6 - Benny Goodman no Choro; 7 - Amoroso; 8 - Jorge do Fusa; 9 - Puxa - Puxa; 10 - Meditando (incidental: Esperança); 11 - Sinal dos Tempos; 12 - Duas Contas; 13 - Lamentos no Morro

This contribution is the 125th entry at the Choro Music blogspot.


Luíz Bonfá

One of the best known Brazilian musicians probably is Luíz Bonfá (1922-2001), composer, arranger, singer and exceptional guitarist.
Bonfá was born on October 17, 1922 in Rio de Janeiro. He began teaching himself to play guitar as a child; he studied in Rio with Uruguayan classical guitarist Isaías Sávio from the age of twelve.
Bonfá first gained widespread exposure in Brazil in 1947 when he was featured on Rio's Radio Nacional, then an important showcase for up-and-coming talent. He was a member of the vocal group 'Quitandinha Serenaders' in the late 1940s. Some of his compositions were recorded and performed by Brazilian crooner Dick Farney in the 1950s. It was through Farney that Bonfá was introduced to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, the leading songwriting team behind the worldwide explosion of Brazilian jazz/pop music in the late 1950s and 1960s. Bonfá collaborated with these and with other prominent Brazilian musicians and artists in productions of de Moraes' anthological play 'Orfeu da Conceição', which several years later gave origin to Marcel Camus' legendary film, 'Black Orpheus'.
As a composer and performer, Bonfá was at heart an exponent of the samba-canção style that predated the arrival of João Gilberto's bossa nova style.
Bonfá lived in the USA from the early 1960s until 1975. He worked with American musicians such as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Stan Getz, and Frank Sinatra, recording several albums while in America. Bonfá remained well-connected in the US after returning to Brazil, but his profile receded into relative obscurity during his final decades.
Bonfá died in Rio de Janeiro on January 12, 2001, 78 years old.
Bonfá's major legacy continues to be his compositions from the 'Black Orpheus' soundtrack, most notably the instantly recognizable classic 'Manhã da Carnaval.' But Bonfá's huge discography also attests to his uniquely inventive mastery of various Brazilian guitar styles.
--- above info excerpeted from a profile article in Wikipedia ---
Recently the radio feature 'O Violão Brasileiro' by Fábio Zanon devoted a program to the music and guitar playing of Luíz Bonfá, the program may be downloaded from Fábio Zanon's blog, click here to download.

Fábio Zanon also points to three video performances featuring Luíz Bonfá, inserted below.

The first video is from an American TV-program hosted by Perry Como and recorded 1963, Bonfá plays 'Sambolero' and his arrangement of 'Tenderly':

From another TV-program hosted by Mike Douglas in 1966, Bonfá plays his composition 'Menina Flor':

Also from the 1966 TV-program, Bonfá plays 'Batucada' and performs 'Manhã de Carnaval' together with Mike Douglas:


Nicolas Krassik - Caçuá

Caçuá, a word with Tupi (Indigenous Brazilian Language) origins, is a wicker or vine basketused to carry provisions and is transported by beasts of burden in the inland parts of theBrazilian Northeast. It is also an inspired baião by João Lyra and Maurício Carrilho whose name Caçuá baptizes the second CD by French violinist settled in Rio since 2001, Nicolas Krassik.
These words by Luís Filipe de Lima introduce a review of the cd "Caçuá" (Rob Digital, 2007) quoted at the official web of Nicolas Krassik.
I have now had an opportunity to listen to this cd and I highly recommend it to others interested in Brazilian roots music - it's a thrill and an engaging experience to be listening to. Krassik is accompanied by his regular trio: Nando Duarte (7 string guitar), João Hermeto (percussion) and Fabio Luna (drums) - the quartet is expanded with guest performance on some tracks by Carlos Malta, Chico Chagas, Eduardo Neves and João Lyra a.o..
The repertoire of the performed music is a mixture of genres like choro, samba, baião and xote, framed by arrangements that highlight the sound of the quartet. One of the CD’s highlights is the participation of Seu Luiz Paixão, a rabequeiro (= rural folk fiddler) from Pernambuco who dialogues with Nicolas’s violin on the last track of the CD, recreating the atmosphere of a Northeastern fair. The repertoire of "Caçuá" is also the first registration of Nicolas Krassik as a composer in the cheerful "Meu Maxixe" and in the dense and slow samba, "Petite Maman", dedicated to his mother. Among the remaining repertoire is a reading of Jacob do Bandolim's waltz, "Santa Morena", introduced through exerpts of traditional Turkish music. Further, performance of choros like "Murmurando" by Fon-Fon, "Um Choro em Cochabamba" by Eduardo Neves, a baião "Na Casa do Zezé" by Chico Chagas and Noel Rosa's "Último Desejo".
Full tracklist and sound clips available clicking here
To give you an impression of Nicolas Krassik as a performer, I found two short fragments inserted below. The first is from a live-performance with his quartet playing "Ginga do Mané" by Jacob do Bandolim

The secound fragment is from a live concert with singer Beth Carvalho, a performance of "Folhas secas" by Nelson Cavaquinho


César Faria (1919-2007)

On October the 20th, César Faria (Benedito César Ramos de Faria) - one of the most important figures in the choro revival of Brazil, violonista and founder of the Época de Ouro ensemble - passed away, 88 years old. César Faria started as a professional musician at age 17 playing the 6 string acoustic guitar. He joined Jacob do Bandolim in 1939 and later founded the Época de Ouro ensemble in the early 1960s to accompany do Bandolim until his demise in 1969. Época de Ouro dissolved after Jacob do Bandolim's demise, but was reassembled in 1973 by César Faria. Época de Ouro played an important role as a catalyst of the tradition during the choro revival of the 1970s. The group was reorganized with new members several times and has continued performing ever since. As a musician César Faria had a lasting impact on the way the six string guitar participates in a choro ensemble to the benefit of the overall musical expression.
César Faria was the father of Paulinho da Viola and the grandfather of João Rabello.
In memory of César Faria the Choro Music blog wants to share two video-performances featuring Época de Ouro, inserted below.
The first video features singer Marisa Monte performing "DANÇA DA SOLIDÃO" by Paulinho da Viola together with Época de Ouro:

The secound video features Época de Ouro playing "Noites Cariocas" by Jacob do Bandolim


Antonio Adolfo

During the past week I have enjoyed listening to a couple of cds featuring music by Chiquinha Gonzaga and João Pernambuco to celebrate the anniversaries of two important composers who were pioneers in creating and shaping the Brazilian choro. Both Chiquinha Gonzaga and João Pernambuco are still important names in Brazil, their works as composers continue to inspire and challenge contemporary musicians to re-create the music in new versions, which underlines the durable quality of the compositions.
One of the contemporary musicians in Brazil, who has recorded new versions of music by both Chiquinha Gonzaga and João Pernambuco, is pianist Antonio Adolfo (b 1947). In 1983 Antonio Adolfo recorded an album together with the Nó em Pingo d'Agua choro ensemble dedicated to the music by João Pernambuco celebrating the composer's 100th anniversary. I have commented this album in an erlier blog entry. However, I encourage anybody interested in choro to listen to these marvellous renditions of João Pernambuco's compositions. The cd is available in full audio version at Canal Funarte

The secound cd by Antonio Adolfo I have been enjoying this week is his 1997 recording of music by Chiquinha Gonzaga, "Chiquinha com Jazz" (Artezanal/Kuarup ARCD 3002), a contemporary reading of 11 compositions by Gonzaga in a jazz setting celebrating Chiquinha Gonzaga's 150th anniversary. The music is updated with jazz you may say, however, as ragtime in the US was an important element in the evolution of jazz and as such is still a source generating new inspiration in mainstream jazz, so the choros and waltzes by Gonzaga from a bygone era contain material suited well for adding jazz harmony to sound contemporary when taken care of by an accomplished arranger like Antonio Adolfo. All 11 compositions by Gonzaga have arrangement by Adolfo, who performs the pieces on piano together with a skilled trio, Gabriel Vivas (acoustic bass), Ivan Conti (drums), Claudio Spiewak (acoustic guitar). The cd may be hard to find, but it's defintely worth searching, tracklist inserted below:

1) Atraente; 2) Cordão carnavalesco; 3) Lua branca; 4) Angá; 5) Gaúcho (Corta-Jaca); 6) O Forrobodó; 7) A côrte na roça (balada romântica para A côrte na roça); 8) Satan; 9) Ismênia; 10) Faceiro; 11) Ô Abre Alas

Learn more about Antonio Adolfo from his offical website, click headline or here


Immortal choro

In the long story of choro there are several pieces that have become immortal compositions and continue to challenge and be a part of the standard repertoire interpreted and performed by new generations of choro groups. Among these compositions belongs a piece by the great female choro composer, Chiquinha Gonzaga - her "Corta-jaca" from 1897 became an instant success with the public and other choroães and has since been performed and recorded by numerous artists devoting their chops to choro. Originally a piece for solo piano, the "Corta-jaca" some times also is known as "Gaucho", as the music is inspired by and incorporates elements of a dance style associated with rural gauchos dancing. - I found a solo piano reading of "Corta-jaca", here performed by a female pianist, enjoy it!

Francisca Edwiges Neves Gonzaga, known as "Chiquinha", (1847-1935) was the first important female composer and performer of popular music in Brazil. Gonzaga was the first female to be allowed attending the social and musical fraternity of choro musicians, helped by her friend Joaquin Calado - the first composer of music in the choro style. Chiquinha started composing in the choro style too and had success with the piece "Corta-jaca", as mentioned above. Later she would be engaged in composing and arranging music for the popular theater. By the time of her death in 1935, her musical works included a great number of theater pieces as well as sacred music, besides popular music including maxixes, marches and choros. Her legacy as an important composer of Brazilian popular music continues today.- Learn more about Chiquinha Gonzaga at the official website devoted to her legacy, click here

Let's celebrate the 160th anniversary of Chiquinha Gonzaga on October the 17th by enjoying a performance of two more of her compositions. I found two video fragments featuring pianist Talitha Peres recorded in concert. The first video is a performance of Gonzaga's "Atraente"

The secound video featuring pianist Talitha Peres from the same concert is a performance of the piece "Faceiro"

João Teixeira Guimarães (1883-1947), known as João Pernambuco, is another immortal choro composer, especially renowned among guitarists for his delightful pieces for the violão. His composition "Sons de Carrilhões", a choro-maxixe, has become a standard with guitarists exelling in playing choro solo guitar. Let's remember the 60th anniversary of the passing away of João Pernambuco on October the 16th by enjoying two different versions of the immortal "Sons de Carrilhões", inserted below. - More info on João Pernambuco is to be found in a recently uploaded website, devoted to his legacy (- in Portuguese and Italian language only, unfortunately), click here
The first performance of "Sons de Carrilhões" features classical guitar by Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Berta Rojas in a duo version of the piece

The secound performance features the Diego Figueiredo Trio in a 'hot' version of "Sons de Carrilhões" - hope you to enjoy!


Som de Bandolim - Jorge Cardoso

Today there are so many accomplished bandolinists excelling their tallents and devoting their skills to playing choro. Last night I listened to the shown cd,´'Som de Bandolim' by Jorge Cardoso (1996), an excellent example of the high level of performance in contemporary choro. The cd was recorded 1996 under the musical direction of Mauricio Carrilho and was later nominated as best instrumental album for the prestigous Sharp price. The music on the cd has mainly compositions by Jorge Cardoso (see tracklist below) and he is accompanied by a choro ensemble featuring Maurício Carrilho (violão); Tony (violão 7 cordas); Luciana Rabello (cavaquinho); Jorginho (pandeiro); Paulo Sérgio Santos (clarinet & sax soprano); João Lyra (viola 10 cordas & percussão). Arrangements by Cardoso and Carrilho.

Tracklist: 1.Gingando no chôro (Jorge Cardoso), 2. Modulado (Jorge Cardoso), 3. Quanto dói uma saudade (Garoto), 4. Melancolia cigana (Emile Proudome), 5. Uma rosa para ela (Jorge Cardoso ), 6. Espinha de bacalhau (Severino Araújo), 7. Para eu ser feliz (Amador Pinho), 8. Trocadilhando (Jorge Cardoso), 9. Impressões digitais (Jorge Cardoso), 10. Moto perpétuo ( Paganini), 11. Quando me lembro (Luperce Miranda), 12. Perna de alicate (Jorge Cardoso), 13. Lembranças do Recife (Rossini Ferreira), 14. Minha Terra (Jorge Cardoso)

Jorge Cardoso (Jorge Antônio Cardoso Moura) (b 1969) started to play the guitar and the cavaquinho at 14, then took up the bandolim at 15. During the commemoration of the 60 years of the Pernambucan Conservatory of Music (Recife, Pernambuco), in 1990, he was the soloist on Radamés Gnattali's "Retratos" suite, accompanied by the Orquestra Sinfônica do Recife. In the same decade, he performed Gnattali's "Concerto for Bandolim and Orchestra," dedicated to Jacob do Bandolim. Cardoso recorded for the first time on the 1993 CD Pernambuco's Music. He made his debut on record as a bandolinist in 1994, with the CD Viagem Musical Pelo Nordeste do Brasil. He has participated in CDs and shows of several artists of Brazilian Popular Music and in 2001 he won the Rio de Janeiro’s Choros Festival promoted by the Museum of Image and Sound of Rio de Janeiro with his composition entitled "Balançadinho", written for bandolim and group set. Cardoso has taught cavaquinho at Raphael Rabello´s School of Choro (1998 until 2000) and he was a professor of Brazilian popular bandolim in the Brasilia’s School of Music (2002 until 2004). Since 2004, he lives in Italy and has performed in Italy, France and Germany.
Sound clips from the shown cd available in mp3 available following the link in headline. On YouTube you have the opportunity to view a TV presentation of Jorge Cardoso, below I insert a part of it featuring a performance of Nazareth's "Odeon"


Inéditos de Jacob do Bandolim

In 1980 bandolinist Déo Rian (b 1944) released a LP album featuring 12 unpublished compositions by Jacob do Bandolim, "Inéditos de Jacob do Bandolim" (Eldorado, 31.80.0360) arranged for his choro ensemble, Conjunto Noites Cariocas. Just recently Déo Rian has released a volume 2 of hitherto unpublished compositions by Jacob do Bandolim on the Rob Digital label.
Déo Rian is accompanied by a new Conjunto Noites Cariocas: André Bellieny (violão de 7 cordas); Márcio Almeida (violão de 6 cordas); Ubyratan de Oliveira (cavaquinho); Darly Guimarães (pandeiro). Some tracks have guest performance by Aline Silveira (flauta), Bruno Rian (bandolim), Dirceu Leite (flauta & sax tenor) & Quarteto de Cordas: Felipe Prazeres/Pedro Mibielli/Ivan Zandonade/Marcus Ribeiro. Among the arrangers are Cristovão Bastos, Mauricio Carrilho, and Luiz Otávio Braga. The material used for the cd has been archieved at the Instituto Jacob do Bandolim and it contains 14 previously unpublished compositions including 4 pieces, which were recorded on volume 1 also. Tracklist inserted below:
1 - Sapeca Iaiá 2 - Novos Tempos 3 - Maroto 4 - Para Eu Der Feliz 5 - Maxixe na Tuba 6 - Sereno 7 - Primavera 8 - Velhos Amigos 9 - Adylia 10 - Lembranças 11 - Já que não Toco Violão 12 - Bisbilhoteiro 13 - Preciosa 14 - Saltitante
As mentioned above, the unpublished material used for the cd has been archieved at the Instituto Jacob do Bandolim. This institution has also more material regarding the biography and musical legacy of Jacob do Bandolim and does a great work to research and keep the interest of Jacob do Bandolim alive. On YouTube I found a contribution from the Instituto Jacob do Bandolim featuring a short filmed sequence where you can watch Jacob interviewed by a journalist - the only fragment known to exist of Jacob on screen, inserted below


Alessandro Penezzi

I found this great CD made by the Brazilian guitar player Alessandro Penezzi, titled Abismo de Rosas. Alessandro Penezzi was born in Piracicaba, a large city near Sao Paulo February 1974. He started to play the guitar when he was just a kid and when he was 13 years old he became a professional. He studied the cavaquinho, a kind of ukulele, but the guitar became his major instrument. In 2001 he became part of the Quintessencia Trio with Aleh Ferreira on the bandolim and Julio Cerezo Ortiz on the violoncello. With this trio he won an important Brazilian music price in the instrumental category.
With the trio he toured to the USA, Russia and Angola, where he performed. He became a sought after arranger and guitar player in groups like the Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo

In 2001 he recorded his album Abismo de Rosas which contains several classical Brazilian choro tunes like Brasileirinho originally composed by Waldir Azevedo, O vôo da mosca a Jacob do Bandolim composition and Primeiro amor a Patápio Silva tune.
Being fasinated by choro music I loved this album very much and I'm happy I can show you some fragments of this great guitar player.
I found four fragments, I love to share. The one I like the most is, maybe, the last one as it shows a ronda, an informal social meeting of Brazilian musicians who play the choro. This one was made during a birthday celebration. I like that !!. The first one is a small documentary (in Portuguese ) about Penezzi's career, and he plays some great music on it. The second and third fragment are from a performance of his trio, ( Ricardo Herz on the guitar, Alessandro Penezzi on the violão 7 cordas (seven string guitar) and Danilo Brito on the bandolim.) You can hear 1 x 0, a popular Pixinguinha compostion and Cochichando. I hope you'll become as fascinated as I am about this great choro music.

This contribution was also posted in the Dutch and English language at the Keep swinging web log.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert


Armandinho - Choro & Soccer

Armando Neves (Armandinho) (1902-1974) is regarded as one of the most important figures of choro developed in the city of São Paulo. Learning to play the violão by ear, he never learned music theory. Initially a soccer player, he worked as a professional for Ponte Preta and Guarani. When he switched to the Corinthians he was relocated to the city of São Paulo, and in 1919 abandoned soccer. In that city, he studied violão with his brothers, José Matoso and Joaquim Matoso, and in 1926 with Larosa Sobrinho. Musically illiterate, his gifted intuition allowed him to write sophisticated compositions.
In 1926, Sobrinho took him to Rádio Educadora Paulista, where Armandinho formed the first regional of the city of São Paulo. The group participated in the first radio broadcast between Rio and São Paulo that year. The next year, he joined 'Os Turunas Paulistas', a group led by violão virtuoso Canhoto (Américo Jacomino) who was considered the best of the period. In 1928, he performed with João Pernambuco, João dos Santos, Levino da Conceição, and others. In this year he assumed direction of the Rádio Record group, remaining there until 1956, a period when the radio enjoyed local projection. In 1930 he played for Paraguayan virtuoso violonista Agustin Barrios and recorded two 78 rpms through Parlophon with Larosa Sobrinho. An accomplished accompanist, Armandinho recorded just one solo album, a 78 for Decelith, in 1938.
Above info excerpted from a profile by Alvaro Neder in AMG.
Examples of the compositions by Armandinho are available in one of the programs by Fábio Zanon for Rádio Cultura of São Paulo in the series 'O Violão Brasileiro', the program may be downloaded in MP3 from Fábio Zanon's weblog, click here

As mentioned above Armandinho had a career as a professional soccer before devoting his interest and talent to music. From Zanon's radio feature on Armandinho I learned that one of his choro compositions, 'Choro nº11 - O Dono da Bola', is dedicated to the worldfamous Brazilian soccer virtuoso, Edson Arantes do Nascimento aka PELÉ. I found a video performance of this piece, unfortunately audio and image quality is not the best, but this is what is available. Hope this performance by Danilo Oliveira of "O dono da bola" may give you an impression of the Armandinho choro, anyway.


Choros by Paulinho da Viola

Paulinho da Viola (b 1942) is a renowned and highly respected exponent of the original Brazilian samba tradition, a successful performer and recording artist. He is also a well known producer of musical shows and recordings besides being a composer and an accomplished songwriter. Paulinho da Viola is the son of Cesar Faria, renowned guitarist with Epoca de Ouro - the handpicked choro ensemble accompanying Jacob do Bandolim during the 60s. From an early age Paulinho was influenced by the music of choro greats like Pixinguinha and Jacob do Bandolim, who would gather at his father's house playing music and socialising, however, his own career as a musician and songwriter was directed by the samba schools he attended as a youth, and to the public he is generally known as a contemporary sambista playing cavaquinho, guitar and singing his own samba ballads. Nevertheless, during his long career Paulinho da Viola has been strongly involved with choro, too. In 1973 he wrote and produced a musical show, 'Sarau', which re-introduced the Epoca de Ouro ensemble to the public with great success - this show is actually considered by many to be the starting point of the choro revival in Brazil during the 1970s. Moreover, he became close friends with Chico Soares (aka Canhoto da Paraíba) and launched his come-back being a producer of Canhoto's solo album from 1975. In 1976 Paulinho issued a double album, which contained his own choro compositions together with compositions by i.e. Pixinguinha, and he has always been a tireless spokesman in favor of the original virtues of choro, combining tradition and contemporary influences in his own performance. Learn more about Paulinho da Viola's career from his official website in both Portuguese and English, click here

Recently I borrowed the shown cd, 'Choros de Paulinho da viola' (Acari, AR-16, iss. 2005) by Marcia Taborda containing 13 choro compositions of Paulinho da Viola arranged for solo guitar. The cd is produced by Luciana Rabello, who also participates as a cavaquinho player on some tracks together with Maricio Carrilho on 7 string guitar, Kiko Horta on accordion and Luciana Requíão on bass guitar accompanying the solo guitar playing of Marcia Taborda. The music has a relaxed atmosphere and is a sheer pleasure to be listening to, highly recommended. Marcia Taborda (b 1965), who has studied with Turibío Santos, is an excellent solo guitarist and an accomplished arranger of the pieces, which furthermore are available in written music as a pdf-file on the cd, pointed at guitarists, who would like to play these pieces, too. Tracklist and discographical info available, click headline or here

To give you an impression of the compositions on the cd I found a video performance featuring the arrangement by Marcia Taborda of Paulinho da Viola's "Valsa da vida", here performed by Ovidiov


A Homage To Jacob do Bandolim

The musical legacy of Jacob do Bandolim (1918-1969) is still an important part of the music scene in Brazil. Recently I learned from a Brazilian music news blog that a new cd featuring compositions of Jacob do Bandolim has just been released. The cd is the result of a co-work between the renowned arranger and pianist, Laércio de Freitas, and the talented young master of the violão, Alessandro Penezzi. Outside Brazil Laércio de Freitas is perhaps best known for his work as an arranger for the famous Orchestra Tábajara (- one of the World's oldest big bands still playing and touring) and from his co-operation with the Radamés Gnattali Sextet as a pianist. More info about the career of Laércio de Freitas is to be found in a short profile (- in Portuguese only) published in a preview of the cd fearuting music by Jacob do Bandolim, click here

Alessandro Penezzi (b.1974) has already launched a solo career as an excellent guitarist, often participating in rodas de choro and having released more cds that have been received well by critics as well as by the public. Learn more about Alessandro Penezzi from his official website (- in Portuguese only) including video and audio clips, click here
The cd by Laécio de Freitas and Alessandro Penezzi, "Homenageia Jacob do Bandolim" (Maritaca, M1023), contains 13 tracks including both well known pieces (i.e. "Ginga do Mané", "Velhos Tempos" and "Simplicidade") and lesser known ( i.e."Boas vidas", "Chorinho na praia") by Jacob do Bandolim - tracklist available clicking headline. The cd was released in Brazil in July and will be available in the US and Europe during September, however, you may order it already using the online facility of Samba Store.
I found a video on YouTube featuring de Freitas and Penezzi recorded at the release event of the cd paying homage to the music of Jacob do Bandolim. Enjoy it!


Garoto's Music In Words

In a comment regarding the previous entry on the Trio Surdina Story article by Jorge Mello Zé Carlos of Sovaco de Cobra , a great web-resource according Brazilian Music (in Portuguese only, unfortunately), has good news to all interested in the musical legacy of Garoto (Anibal Augusto Sardinha, 1915-1955).
Zé Carlos wrote: "I've started recently a series about "lyricized" music of Garoto. It's intended to review more than 50 tunes (some of them totally new and unreleased) in weekly articles, offering plenty of rich content: histories, rare images and audios. Unfortunalety it's avaliable only in Portuguese by now (an English version is due to be published as soon as possible." It's great to learn that Garoto's legacy in Brazilian music is kept alive and researched in articles as the mentioned, this is a proper way to reach a larger public interested in the subject but perhaps unaware of details regarding the works of Garoto.
Click on headline to read the introductory article by Zé Carlos and follow the links in the article to reach the first three contributions on musical compositions/"lyricized" music of Garoto. As mentioned, the text is in Portuguese only by now, however, readers of this blog will be notified when a version in English is available later.
The latest article by Zé Carlos deals with the tune "Amoroso", a composition originally recorded as an instrumental by Garoto and Carolina Cardoso de Menezes in 1944. On the original recording Garoto played the electric Hawaiian guitar accompanied by the piano of Carolina Cardoso de Menezes. I found a video performance of "Amoroso", here played on cavaquinho accompanied by guitars and recorded at a roda de choro in Rio's famous 'Bandolim de Oro' store

Many of Garoto's compositions from his later years have since become standard repertoire with guitarplayers, one of them is "Lametos do Morro", here performed by an accomplished young guitarist

One of Garoto's compositions has become the piece-de-resistance among choro solo guitarists, the valse-choro "Desvairada", originally played on bandolim by Garoto. Here is a rendition by the guitar wizard, Raphael Rabello that leaves me speechless and running out of words


Trio Surdina Story

The formation and music of the Trio Surdina is an important chapter in the story of choro and MPB as an example of the transition from the classic choro tradition of the 1940s developed by Pixinguinha & Lacerda a.o. to the bossa nova style of the 50s and early 60s invented and refined by Brazilian artists like João Gilberto and Jobim. Now the story of the Trio Surdina has been documented in detail by the Brazilian researcher and musician, Jorge Mello, in a well researched article, published and translated from the Portuguese into English by Daniella Thompson at her Musica Brasiliensis website.

The article by Jorge Mello sets focus on both the formation of the Trio Surdina and the music recorded by the trio - the latter a hitherto complicated matter due to lack of exact discographical info, now finally uncovered. Trio Surdina was formated in 1951 and consisted of Garoto (Aníbal Augusto Sardinha, 1915–1955), guitar, Fafá Lemos (Rafael Lemos Junior, 1921–2004),violin, and Chiquinho do Acordeón (Romeu Seibel, 1928–1993), accordion.
The trio was invented and brought together on the initiative of Paulo Tapajós, then a musical director of Rádio Nacional and hosting a program named 'Música em Surdina' (- meaning Music on the Quiet). The concept of the program was to take excellent soloists hired by the station from the orchestral mass and putting them in small groups. So, Tapajós created the Trio Surdina, they would entertain the listeners, playing refined instrumental music live during the broadcasts. Jorge Mello gives a detailed outline of the sceduled programmes featuring Trio Surdina starting in March 1951 and lasting until 1953 with Garoto, Lemos and Chiquinho. The programmes were well received by the public and by the critics, and this also led to recordings of the Trio Surdina. The trio was recorded by the Musidisc label and four 10 inch LPs featuring some of the trio's repertoire were issued 1953-54; detailed discographical info and reviews documented in Mello's article, too.
The recordings by Trio Surdina have not been re-issued on cd, unfortunately. The original LPs are hard to find and have become collectors items due to the high artistic standard of the performed music. You have an opportunity to listen to some of the recorded tracks in a rather poor audio issue using the online facility at Instituto Moreira Salles

The music recorded by Trio Surdina was a mix of Brazilian and international standards, also incorporating compositions by members of the group. Garoto's contributions to the trio's repertoire contained more of his later famed compositions. I insert a couple of video performances below featuring music by Garoto to illustrate the spirit of the repertoire of Trio Surdina.

One of Garoto's compositions, "Gente Humilde", also recorded by Trio Surdina, here performed as a solo guitar piece

Another solo guitar piece by Garoto, "Jorge do Fusa"

The last video this time features Marco de Pinna (violão tenor) and his group performing Garoto's "Meditando"


Mike Marshall - Hamilton de Holanda

This time I want to share with you two great mandolin players that I found in a YouTube fragment: Mike Harshall and Hamilton De Holanda. Mike Marshall is a skilled musican, master of mandolin, guitar and violin in various styles from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin music. He is active for many years and performed a few years ago with Hamilton de Holanda, the young bandolim player from Brazil, who combines choro and jazz music to a new personal contemporary style in music. He was one of the musicians to be heard at the North Sea Jazz Festival. I really enjoyed the concert. The fragment of a performance I want to share with you was recorded some times ago during a concert. It became a spontanious kind of fight of the mandolins that you should see - a mandolin contest between to skilled musicians. Enjoy it.

This contribution will also posted at the daily Keep swinging blogspot.

Keep swinging

Hans Koert


Choro Frevado

Antônio da Silva Torres (1930-2005), nicknamed Jacaré (meaning 'alligator' in Portuguese), was a gifted, self taught cavaquinho soloist from Recife, Pernambuco. From an early age he was attracted to playing the cavaquinho, his father, an amateur musician, encouraged him to play. When his father died, he soon had to earn his living as a musician and spent most of his lifetime playing bar rooms and local venues in Recife. In 1984-85, however, he was discovered and his music documented in a recording produced by Maricio Carrilho as a part of a musical project devoted to the legacy of the famous Pernambucano composer, Nelson Ferreira. The music was released by the FUNARTE foundation and is still available on a cd, 'Jacaré, Choro Frevado', in the catalogue of Atracão Records. You are able to listen to the cd at CANAL FUNARTE, click here

Discographical details available at Discos do Brasil, click here

As a small follow-up to my contribution last week on string music from Pernambuco related with choro, I highly recommend you to listen to the shown cd, as the music contained is a splendid example of the Pernambucano mixture of different musical traditions. As the title of the cd reads, the music is influenced by both choro and frevo. Like choro, frevo is closely related to the samba, and has grown and adapted into a more modern sound. Musically the frêvo is in the form of a march but is distinguished by its characteristic fast syncopation played in a very fast, binary tempo. Frevo is most popular in Pernambuco state, especially in Recife.

To illustrate frevo I found a couple of performances at YouTube inserted below. The first is a fragment of a live-performance by Armandinho and his trio playing 'Duda no frevo'

The second video features Fred Andrade & Noise Viola performing 'Último Dia'

The last video performance here demonstrates the tight connection between frevo and modern jazz guitar playing. Fred Andrade & Rodolfo Rocha playing 'Lágrima de Folião'