Last year Rio de Janeiro officially was elected the host city of the 2016 Olympic Games, the event took place in Copenhagen and the picture above shows a snap-shot of the enthusiasm of the Brasilian delegation when the result was announced. The large Brasilian delegation was headed by the president of the nation - the popular Mr. Lula - and representatives and officials of the Brasilian sport games, among these people the worldfamous football icon, Mr. Pelé, also participated. The Brasilians had made proper preparations for the victory of Rio de Janeiro as host city of the 2016 Olympic Games in competition with the city of Chicago, thus, the delegation also consisted of a band of musicians to support the spirit of the enthusiastic delegates and to help celebrating the supposed victory. When the vote result of the Olympic Committee was announced, these musicians naturally participated in the event and during the celebration festivites afterwards a group photo featuring president Lula fronting the six members of the band was shot, acknowlegding the importance of music as the heart and soul of Brasilian culture, I suppose.
The six band members - here fronted by president Lula and the two ladies - were officially chosen to represent the best of Brasilian music in Copenhagen during the crucial week before the choice of the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games. The name of the band is CARAIVANA and the six members of the ensemble, coming from different Brasilian cities, met in 2005 while on holiday in a small village in southern Bahia and became friends. Before they met in the Bahian coast, CARAIVANA's members were already renowned individually. Douglas Lora, from São Paulo, is a songwriter and guitarist. Dudu Maia , from Brasilia, bandolinist, has been standing out in Brazil and abroad as a performer, composer, arranger and producer. Alexandre Lora , also from São Paulo as his brother, is a percussionist and drummer. Alex Souza, from Brasilia, is an actor, singer, songwriter and guitarist. Fabio Luna , from Rio de Janeiro, is a flautist, percussionist, composer and performer. Juninho Billy Joe , from Bahia, is a singer, percussionist and composer. As mentioned, these musicians met in 2005 and soon they all developed a great friendship and understanding between them, and as the game started to get serious, French producer Daniel Vangarde invited them to record a cd, shown below.

The cd offers different rhythms such as samba, choro and forró. Jacob do Bandolin, Edu Lobo, Noel Rosa, Sivuca and Gonzaguinha are some of the composers chosen to form this mosaic, which also includes Pixinguinha and Ary Barroso. Tracklist and more info about the music including streaming audio to be found at the official website of CARAIVANA, accessible here - Below I'll insert a couple of the uploaded videos made at the presentation concert of the cd in Rio de Janeiro to give you an impression of the magnificent music included on the cd. - Here is first a live performance of 'Tico-tico no fúba'

From the same live-performance, here is a rendition of Noel Rosa's 'Conversa de Botequim'

Finally, to end this small presentation of CARAIVANA, here's a live-performance of the forró 'Cabaceira mon amour' - enjoy!

I recommend a visit at the official website of CARAIVANA to get more info about the group and the activities it has participated in so far, including great photos and video material - also from the Copenhagen event.


Feliz Natal & Feliz Ano Novo 2011/ A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year 2011!



The emergence and development of choro in the late 19th century was affected by three forms of Brasilian popular music: the modinha, the lundu, and the maxixe. The lundu, an early song and dance genre, and the maxixe, an instrumental dance form that arose concurrently with choro, exhibit African influences. The wildly popular maxixe made an especially strong impression with its close couples dance style and sinuous movements. From its emergence in the late 1870s to its decline in the 1920s, few genres of popular music were as wildly popular, and controversial, as the maxixe. The music accompanies a fast paced couples dance in which the dancers' bodies are pressed together and the legs are often intertwined. - Here's a contemporary performance of the maxixe dancing

The habanera rhythm is a characteristic feature in the music accompanying the maxixe dancing, the music accompaniment in the video above is Chiquinha Gonzaga's "Corta jaca" - the original recording of the piece by Grupo Chiquinha Gonzaga from 1908 is available at Instituto Moreira Sales and may be accessed by clicking here. - The other important precursor to the maxixe was the polka, which arrived in Rio de Jaineiro in the 1840s. Structurally, the maxixe is similar to the polka, however, the maxixe is distinguinshed from the polka by its rhythm and fast tempo, a strong bass line on the beat and syncopation is common.

Few popular dances caused as much moral outrage as the maxixe. Shortly after it took the dance clubs of Rio de Janeiro with storm, it was publicly condemned as a lower-class, vulgar, and lascivious dance that took place in halls frequented by loose women and unscrupulous men. Periodically, members of cultured society became so morally outraged by the maxixe that they insisted the police close down the dance halls where it was practiced. The minister of war even banned music labeled as maxixe from performance by military bands. Despite the attitudes of the elite, the dance was quickly adopted by instrumental ensembles of the day. Listen to an example by the famous Banda do Corpo de Bombeiros playing Ernesto Nazareth's maxixe "Brejeiro" by clicking here. - In 1895, the maxixe attained a degree of social respectabillity with the opening of an operetta called "Zinzinha maxixe" that included popular maxixes with added lyrics. The operetta featured twentythree pieces by Chiquinha Gonzaga including "Corta jaca", a piece that quickly became part of the choro standard repertoire. Ernesto Nazareth also composed maxixes, but he preferred to label the pieces 'tango brasileiro', allthough his "tangos" exhibit all the characteristics of maxixe in rhythm, melody, and tempo markings. Listen to Nazareth's maxixe "Dengoso" as played by Banda da Casa Edison, click here

The maxixe was taken to Paris, where it became one of the first forms of Brasilian popular music to be legitimized abroad. It was introduced in Paris in 1905 by a dance couple named Derminy and Morly, and was modified when it was successfully re-introduced in 1912 by Monsieur Duque (- the stage name of Brazilian dancer and composer Antonio Lopes Amorim Diniz, who moved to Paris in 1909).After the success, Duque traveled back to Brazil ten years later to see what the latest version of the dance looked like and he found that it was now bouncier, had some new variations, and was sometimes called samba. During the season of 1922-23, he introduced the Brazilian samba, next evolutionary stage of the maxixe, at his Montmartre dance hall Shéhérazade. The famed Afro-Brazilian orchestra Les Batutas (Os Oito Batutas) led by none other than Pixinguinha provided music for the premier.

Also Pixinguinha composed maxixes, an early example of a very beautiful maxixe by Pixinguinha titled "Morro do pinto" as performed by Grupo do Pixinguinha in 1908 is accessible by clicking here

The maxixe also reached the U.s. and had a short-lived success during the 1910s. It was introduced by the highly popular dance couple Irene and Vernon Castle, you can watch a short film fragment of the couple dancing the American version of maxixe here

There was even composed a maxixe as a tribute to the Castles' success, "The Castlewalk", here performed by contemporary couples

By 1930, the maxixe dance began to decline in popularity in Brazil, it was supplanted by the urban samba and new imports such as foxtrot and the Charleston. The maxixe, however, remained in the choro repertory as an instrumental genre.
The above info is excerpted and quoted from the book "Choro, A Social History of a Brazilian Popular Music" (2005) by T.E. Livingston-Isenhour & Th.G.C. Garcia, pp. 17-37.
Additional info on the Parisian maxixe success quoted from article by Richard Powers, "The Maxixe" (1983;2005) to be launched


Yamandú & Dominguinhos: Lado B

The critically acclaimed first cd by Yamandú Costa and accordionist Dominguinhos from 2007 (Biscoito Fino, BF690) has now had its follow-up, titled 'Lado B', and containing 15 tracks of wonderful music by the duo, recorded in just three days. Guitarist Yamandú Costa and Dominguinhos had only met once before teaming in studio to record their first cd, nonetheless the teamwork and mutual understanding between the two musicians resulted in outstanding recordings of great music covering a variety of genres showing off elaborate arrangements and magnificent interplay that otherwise only may be expected from musicians who have been playing together for a long time. The great interplay certainly continues on the new cd, shown below.

The repertoire of the new disc again covers a variety of genres, you can listen to the duo's interpretation of choro ('Carioquinha' by Waldir Azevedo, 'Doce de Coco' by Jacob do Bandolim and Herminio Bello de Carvalho, 'Naquele Tempo' by Pixinguinha, 'Choro do Gago' by Yamandú and 'Chorando em Passo Fundo, by Dominguinhos), a bolero ('Solamente una Vez', by Agustín Lara), further some examples of tunes connected with the North Eastern part of Brazil, 'Pau de Arara' a successful hit by 'the king of baião', Luiz Gonzaga, and 'Fuga pro Nordeste' by Dominguinhos. The North Eastern tradition is also detected in further presented compositions by Dominguinhos, 'Noites Sergipanas', 'Sanfona de Cordel' and 'Homenagem a Pixinguinha' written in co-operation with Anastácia. The remaining tracks cover titles like 'Da Cor do Pecado' by Bororó, 'Homenagem a Chiquinho' by Dominguinhos and Guadalupe, 'Felicidade' by Lupicíno Rodrigues and 'No Rancho Fundo' by Ary Barroso and Lamartine Babo. - In all, the music presented on the cd is a delightful selection of tunes that convincingly demonstrate great interplay and a deep, mutual understanding and respect between the two musicians, highly recommended, if you already enjoyed the duo's first release from 2007.

Both albums are accessible in streaming audio from Radio UOL, click here. The new cd is available for purchase at the website of Biscoito Fino, click here

To give you an impression of the interplay between Yamandú and Dominguinhos, I'll insert a couble of videos, here is first a fragment from a live-performance at Auditório Ibirapuera

To end this, here is a recording from a TV-performance by the duo - enjoy!


Duo Choro na Manga

Choro was born in Rio de Janeiro late 19th Century and has since evolved into one of Brazil's most prominent and popular instrumental music forms. Today choro also has a significant presence outside of Brazil, in many countries there are choro clubs, concerts and rodas featuring both amateurs and professional musicians devoting their chops to choro. In the city of Turin, an important cultural center of northern Italy, the duo Choro na Manga do their part by helping to spread choro. Choro na Manga has Brasilian bandolinist Marco Ruviaro and Italian guitarist Fabrizio Forte as its members, the duo was born in September 2007. After a short period of weekly meetings, Marco Ruviaro and Fabrizio Forte had an extensive repertoire of instrumental music with sophisticated arrangements and a unique style of playing, the duo Choro na Manga was born. According to the official website of Choro na Manga, choro for a duo is more than just a simple combination of a soloist and an accompanist, the two musicians seek to exploit the resources of the two instruments and broaden the horizons to the maximum musically. Last year, January 2009 the debut cd of the duo was released containing 10 recordings made during 2008 in Turin.

The repertoire of the cd covers well-known choros by prominent composers like Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, João Pernambuco, Garoto a.o. (see tracklist at Choro na Manga's web), and the arrangements and execution of the chosen material are terrific. The duo does a great work to sound like a unity, the interplay between Marco and Fabrizio is excellent and elaborate - the cd is highly recommended as an example of the art of the duo in the field of choro. The cd is avialable for download in mp3 at Amazon, and you may also have access to the music at iTunes, for more info and audio examples check the website of Choro na Manga here

Marco Ruviaro was born in São Paulo (Brazil) and started studying music at age 11. He studied guitar and has a BA in guitar from the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). He is self-taught in choro but has participated in several workshops of choro led by teachers like Pedro Amorim, Joel Nascimento, Luiz Otavio Braga, Jayme Vignoli, Mauricio Carrilho and Luciana Rabello. In Turin, Marco conducts the Choro Club and is a member of the club's quartet besides taking part in choro events around the world; an interview with Marco (- in Portuguese) is to be found here

Fabrizio Forte, a native of Turin (Italy), started in music at age 15 when he began studying guitar and bass as a self-taught. After several years playing blues and jazz, in 1997 he had his first contact with Brasilian music by the noted composer and singer João Gilberto and has since devoted himself almost exclusively to Choro, Bossa Nova and Brasilian music in general. Fabrizio now teaches guitar at the Conservatory of Novara.

To give you an impression of duo Choro na Manga's interpretations of choro I'll insert some video extracts from a live concert earlier this year at Auditorio di Vinovo, Turin. - Here is first a performance of "Coralina" by Albertino Pimentel

Here's a performance of "Segura ele" by Pixinguinha

The duo also has a performance of João Pernambuco's "Sons de carillhões" extended with a quotation of "Asa Branca"

Finally, the last video from the mentioned concert has a rendition of Garoto's "Desvairada"


Announcement: Choro Rio de Janeiro In Concert

To promote the present exhibition of paintings in The Brazil Series by folk/rock icon Bob Dylan the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, presents a choro concert on Sunday 19 September at 3 p. m., 2010 in co-operation with The Brazilian Embassy in Copenhagen. The concert features the choro ensemble named Choro Rio de Janeiro and participating musicians are: Marcilio Lopes (bandolim), Jayme Vignoli (cavaco), Mauricio Carrilho (guitar), Oscar Bolão (pandeiro) and Martin Heap (violão de 7 cordas). - The event is free, no reservations. Place: National Gallery of Denmark, Sølvgade 48-50, Copenhagen.


Nordic Choro

Some weeks ago my good friend, Hans, forwarded a link to the inserted video below as a kind gesture according my birthday - enjoy this performance of a tune titled "Happy Birthday To Me"

The composer of this tune is Jarmo Romppanen, who plays the bandolim in the video and is the main soloist in the trio that is officially named Nordic Choro. The Nordic Choro trio is from Finland, Scandinavia, and the ensemble has a profile on MySpace including video performance and audio files of some of the music played by the group, most of it composed by Jarmo Romppanen, who also has a website about his various projects here. - Nordic Choro was founded in the Autumn of 2008 and consists of Jarmo Romppanen (10-string bandolim), Anders Perander (percussions, cavaquinho, banjo) and Fabio de Oliveira (7-string guitar).The repertoire of the ensemble consists mainly of contemporary compositions by Jarmo Romppanen. According to the info of the group-profile, Jarmo has been inspired by Brazilian choro music and musicians, and also influenced by nordic folk-fiddle styles. In the profile of Nordic Choro Jarmo also points to the background of the trio, quote: "If choro music would have been born in the Nordic countries in the late 19th century, it might be sounding like this at the beginning of the 21st. However – excepting the European ones – we didn´t have the same influences here in the North, so this is just a vision and nordic choro is an imaginary genre. Nonetheless, the group Nordic Choro is a real representative of the genre and there is no need to be too serious about different music styles. After all, music is for playing ;-)"

I really like the music played by the Nordic Choro trio, a positive surprise addition to the choro genre with a Nordic folkmusic-touch played by devoted and highly skilled musicians. The trio has just released their debut cd that I should like to have and review later; links to online-retailers of the cd are notated at the MySpace profile of Nordic Choro.

To give you further impressions of the music played by Nordic Choro, I'll insert a couple more of the videos uploaded at YouTube recorded during a live performance of the trio in April 2009 at the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland). Here is a performance of another composition by Jarmo Romppanen, "Backas the better"

The next tune is also composed by Jarmo Romppanen, "Safe & warm"

Finally, to end this small presentation of Nordic Choro, here is a performance of a composition by the Brasilian 7-string guitarist of the trio, Fabio de Oliveira - the title is "Atras do Prejuizo"


Paulo Moura (1932 - 2010)

Returning from a break without internet and news media I learned late last night that Paulo Moura has passed away on July 12 following a cancer desease (lymphoma), 77 years of age. The sad news was announced at his official website by André Vallias the following day and since then obituaries and appraisal articles have been published both in Brazil and the rest of the world. The music world has lost one of its greatest instrumentalists on the contemporary scene.

Paulo Moura was born in the interior of the state of São Paulo on July 15, 1932, as one of 10 siblings who all were taught to play different instruments by their father, himself a reed player. As a teenager Paulo moved to Rio de Jaineiro to study at the National School of Music and at the same time started to play in night clubs and on radio. By the late '50s he had won a spot as lead clarinetist in the orchestra of the Municipal Theater in Rio and at the same time he worked as an accompanist to visiting international artists. In 1978 he decided to quit the orchestra and from then on dedicated himself exclusively to a solo career. Over the next 30 years he made numerous recordings both under his own name and as an accompanist, he also composed music for television and films and occasionally appeared as an actor, in addition he further served as director of the Museum of Image and Sound for two years in the 1980s.

Paulo Moura was a master of both the clarinet and the saxophone excelling in different music styles covering jazz, choro, samba, bossa nova and classical. In 1992 he won a prize as best soloist in classical music, and in 2000 his live album dedicated to Pixinguinha was awarded a Latin Grammy. In 1962 Paulo Moura helped introducing the bossa nova in the US during a famous concert at Carnegie Hall together with Sergio Mendes a.o.. Later he had a close co-work with pianist Cliff Korman introducing their special mix of Gafieira and Jazz to an international public, and during his solo career he toured major parts of the world successfully. Marcello Gonçalves has expressed the versatility of Paulo Moura in short: "No matter where he was playing, he always maintained the same posture and this just added to his elegance."

I first learned about Paulo Moura from Mika Kaurismäki's documentary 'Brasileirinho, Choro in Rio' (2005) where he is featured as a soloist in sequences showing the gafieira/ballroom tradition alive, here is one of the memorable scenes showing Paulo Moura in great interplay with Daniela Spielman on soprano sax - the tune performed is "Chorinho pra Voce"

Paulo Moura had a distinct sound thanks to his Buffet Crampon Clear Lucite clarinet as documented in this video featuring a rendition of K-Ximbinho's "Ternura"

In remembrance of a great musician who has played an important part in the revival of choro on the contemporary music scene, here is a performance by Paulo Moura playing " Pro Paulo"

More info, discography, music and video material to be found at Paulo Moura's excellent website, click here


Fred Hersch plays Jobim

Fred Hersch, a US jazz piano player, released last year an album that fascinated me. The album is entitled Fred Hersch plays Jobim. Although not a pure Choro album, Fred Hersch dedicated it to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the great Brazilian composer. In the liner notes Fred tells that he is a great fan of chorinhos - this fascinating for Choro music is to be heard in some of the tunes - enough reason to introduce you to this album.
Fred Hersch is one of those jazz piano players who fascinate me. Although he plays and records since the early 1980s I learned about him and his music only a few years ago, thanks to the documentary Let Yourself Goes - The lives of Fred Hersch - a fascinating portrait of a gifted musician in his fight agains his HIV-infection. Last year I heard him in a concert with his Fred Hersch Trio + 2 at the North Sea Jazz Festival, in Rotterdam. For this performance Fred had invited two horn players, Ralph Alessi on trumpet and flugelhorn and Tony Malaby on tenor saxophone. The photos used in this contribution are made, with a simple digital camera, during this concert.

Fred Hersch ( North Sea Jazz Festival ( Rotterdam) July 2009 ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Last year Fred released a solo album dedicated to Antonio Carlos Jobim. But few people won't have ever heard the music of Jobim. His bossa nova styled songs like the Girl from Ipanema, Desafinado or Meditation, to list some well known themes, are well known and where all part of the pop charts of the 1960s. The bossa nova, a mix of Brazilian music and jazz, to keep it simply, was introduced by musicians like Astrud Gilberto, Charlie Byrd, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz. I told about this period in a contribution about Eliane Elias' tribute to 50 years Bossa Nova In the liner notes Fred tells that he was introduced to the Bossa Nova by a local guitar player Kenny Poole. This men died a few years ago and I found a fragment where you can here him playing.

He learned to play the Brazilian rhythms by drummer Edison Machado. He was one of the first to transfer the rhythms of the Bossa Nova, the Samba, and the Baiao to the drum set. He met Edison at a gig at the New York club Cachaca: I was lucky to be taught on the bandstand by a real master: Edison Machado. During Fred's career he visited Brasil three times and played with Leny Andrade, the great Brazilian singer who often played with the Sergo Mendes band Sexteto Bossa Rio. In Brazil Fred Hersch learned more about Choro. I am a huge fan of chorinhos - the equivalent of Brazilian ragtime - and have learned many of them and written some of my own. Fred Hersch at the North Sea Jazz Festival - Rotterdam ( July 2009) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

Around 1870 in Rio de Janeiro ( Brazil) a new musical style emerged that would become one of the most creative musical manifestations in Brazil. Choro was primarily an instrumental form, and to a North American ear it might sound a little like a small Dixieland jazz combo playing with strange rhythms, extreme melodic leaps, unexpected modulations, and occasional breakneck tempos. Interestingly, choro's development in Brazil slightly predated the rise of ragtime and jazz in North America. Choro and jazz were both characterized in part by their use of improvisation and African-derived musical elements. ( source: Choro: Improvisation South of New Orleans in The Billboard Book of Brazilian Music by Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha p. 151 )

Fred Hersch at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam ( July 2009) ( photo courtesy: Hans Koert)

In the album Fred Hersch plays Jobim Fred didn't want to play only the well known tunes, already listed above, but also some of the lesser known Jobim compositions. One of those less known tunes is O Grande Amor, which he learned from Stan Getz, who recorded it several times ( like in Sweet Rain, March 1967). I played briefly with Stan Getz in the mid-1980s and it was from him that I learned O Grande Amor. It is now one of the tunes I like the best. It starts almost like a classical Debussy-etude before it developed into a more swinging rhythmical theme. Fred Hersch was allowed to make a choice from the hundreds of compositions archived in the Jobim estate. This album contains nine tracks - all tunes were composed by Jobim, but Fred's version is not a copy of the originals. He made a selection of lesser known tunes like Por Toda Minha Vida and Luiza and some more known themes like Meditacao, Insensatez and Desafinado. The latter surprises as it contains rhythms and harmonies you don't expect in this well known theme - Fred says that he was inspired by the Brazilian rhythms he had heard. His interpretation of the slow tunes are more like a meditation - almost introverted, like Bill Evans would have played it, but the more rhythmical up-tempo tunes like Desafinado and in Brigas Nunca Mais, one of the tunes that surprised me too, the rhythms and harmonies seem to be inspired by the Choro music. On this tune, Hersch is accompanied by percussionist Jamey Haddad. This album was recorded at Ambient Studio in Stamford CT and Hersch plays on a well tuned and great sounding Steinway piano. Love to share with you the tune Insensatez as played by Hersch on this album, dedicated to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Reading through so much of his music reinforced my belief that Jobim is one of the great composers of the 20th century regardless of genre. His bittersweet harmonies, fabulous melodies and superb craftsmanship are evident in everything he writes. ( Fred Hersch in the liner notes of Fred Hersch plays Jobim)

Ths contribution is also posted at the Keep Swinging blog.

Hans Koert

7 + 7 Cordas = Magic!

What happens when two aces of the violão sete cordas ( the acoustic seven string guitar) get together to make music? The answer to that question is the word 'magic', at least considering the contained recordings on the new cd featuring Yamandú Costa and Valter Silva, a marvellous example of preservation of the special and rare moments when mutual understanding and creative craftmanship reaches a level of magic leaving the listener with a feeling of endless happiness - and a gratitude beyound words. The cd has a special background according to the liner notes by Marcello Gonçalves, well known seven string guitarist of Trio Madeira Brasil, quote: " At a celebration for my birthday in 2004, besides all of the usual suspects, I invited Valter Silva, who still hadn't met Yamandu. (...) The two of them got to know each other, began playing and the party halted in its tracks as everyone stopped to listen. That magic, which we are always searching for, but never know when it will appear, appeared. After everything went back to normal, Yamandu and I looked at each other and said, "We have to record this." And that's exactly what we did. During the sessions we were always searching for that special magic. When it didn't appear, we would move on to another piece and come back to it on another day. It was a fast process but done without being in a rush.- This CD shows the energy of the 70-year-old Valter and the maturity of Yamandu's 30 years. It is an homage to the music of Rio de Janeiro, to the 7 string acoustic guitar, and to Valter himself, a true artist of this music and this instrument."

The cd is produced by Marcello Gonçalves and contains 13 tracks of delightful interplay between Yamandú and Valter, the music is well chosen from a repertoire of classic choros and features performance of compositions by Dilermando Reis, João Pernambuco, Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Canhoto da Paraíba a.o.. The set-up of the duo sessions has Yamandú playing the melody while Valter contributes accompaniment adding marvellous modulation and fill ins. Both musicians are left space for improvisation and embellishment and even though Yamandú is playing lead, Valter also gets the chance to show off his ability as a soloist and a great improvisator on the seven string guitar. The performances are very balanced, the two musicians have the ability to listen to each other while playing and create wonderful variations of the musical themes 'on the spot of the moment', the result is magic and a perfect cd, highly recommended. - The cd is available for purchase here and you also have the opportunity to listen to all tracks in streaming audio at Rádio UOL, click here

I have not been able to find uploaded videos featuring Yamandú and Valter performing together, however, to give you an impression of Valter Silva's capacity as a master of the seven string guitar, to end this I'll insert a couple of examples where he is featured. - Here is a fragment of a rehearsel with guitarist Guilherme Lamas, the music performed is a composition by João dos Santos, "Paulista"

Here is a fragment from a live performance/roda da choro featuring Valter Silva, the music performed is Pixinguinha's "Um a zero"

Finally, here you have a performance of Pixinguinha's "Cochichando", Valter Silva in interplay with Ronaldo Santos (cavaquinho) and João Rafael (pandeiro)


Nailor Proveta: Brasileiro Saxofone

Nailor Proveta (Nailor Aparecido Azevedo, b 1961) is a highly estimated Brasilian reed player, composer, arranger and director, who has conducted a career in Brazil both as a sought after instrumentalist and as a founder and leader of the São Paulo based big band Banda Mantiqueira excelling in updated versions of Brasilian music. Proveta has a high place among the best musicians of Brazil. He learned the musical notes before he could write the letters of the alphabet, and at 6 years of age, he was already playing the clarinet. As mentioned, he is the leader and arranger of the big band Banda Mantiqueira, formed in 1991 and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance in 1998 and again in 2006. Proveta has been playing with some of the best artists in Brazil and also with international artists, such as Joe Williams, Anita O’Day, Bobby Short, Benny Carter, Natalie Cole, Ray Conniff,a.o.. Proveta has also been working intensively in recording studios as a player and arranger and has participated in hundreds of recordings of the most important Brazilians artists.- Musically, Proveta is deeply rooted in choro and the traditional styles of Brasilian music, and to give you an impression of Proveta performing in this context here is a live recording from a oncert arranged by Instrumental SESC Brasil. Nailor Proveta's quintet features Carlos Roberto (piano), Edimilson Capelupi (7 string acoustic guitar), Cléber Almeida (percussion), Jericó (trompet and flugel horn) and Proveta (clarinet and sax), the tune played is "Cochichando", a classic choro by Pixinguinha

Proveta released his first solo cd in 2006, "Tocando para o Interior" featuring arrangements of traditional Brasilian music styles, last year his secound solo issue, "Brasileiro Saxofone" (Acari Discos), was released.

The disc is a result of a project conducted by Proveta. For a long time he has cherished the idea of dedicating a whole album to the saxophone and its story in Brazil. The cd is a result of the project that also has included workshops and concerts to share information and experience with other musicians and a public interested in learning more about the instrument's role in Brasilian popular music. The repertoire of the disc ranges from nineteenth century pioneers such as Anacleto de Medeiros (1866-1907) to contemporary composers such as Christovão Bastos, Mauricio Carrilhos and Proveta himself and includes also a handful of great twentieth century musicians such as: Pixinguinha, Radamés Gnattali, César Guerra-Peixe, as well as a few others specially linked to the saxophone: Moacir Santos, K-Ximbinho, Luis Americano and Ratinho. A website devoted to the project (- both in Portuguese and English) is available clicking here , here you can also read more about the single tracks of the cd and listen to sound clips including two unissued compositions.

The saxophone in contemporary music is mostly connected with jazz and the great American performers of the instrument, however, the instrument has a story outside this field in compositonal/erudite music and popular music as well, and if you are looking for examples of the instrument's importance and story in Brazil, the cd by Nailor Proveta is a great source featuring arrangements of music of high quality challenging a jazz infected ear to take the advantage of a closer listening. The cd is highly recommended as an example of the serious work being maintained by great musicians to preserve and relive an important field of the rich Brasilian music tradition. - Below is inserted an example of the music at the disc from a live presentation at a concert last year at the IX Festival de Música de Ourinhos. Proveta (sax) is accompanied by Mauricio Carrilho ( ac.7 string guitar) and Paulo Aragão (guitar) and the piece performed is a composition by Radamés Gnattali, "Caminho da saudade"


Choro and Pixinguinha Day

On the 4th of September 2000 an official document of the Brasilian government announced that the 23rd of April every year shall be marked as Dia Nacional do Choro - National Choro Day. The 23rd of April was deliberatly chosen in honor of Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho - better known as Pixinguinha (April 23, 1897 - February 7, 1973), choro composer, arranger, flautist and saxophonist. Today it is Pixinguinha's 113th birthday - and Choro Day, all over Brazil and elsewhere music events are scheduled to celebrate choro and Pixinguinha. We also want to mark the day by inserting some videos below featuring music by Pixinguinha - Here is first a short film fragment of the Maestro with his regional recorded in the 1950s playing "1X0" - Enjoy!

From a live concert arranged by Instrumental SESC Brasil earlier this year featuring Zé da Velha (trombone), Silvério Pontes (trumpet), Alexandre Romanazzi (flute), Charlles da Costa (violão), Alessandro Cardozo (cavaquinho), Netinho Albuquerque (pandeiro) and Rodrigo Jesus (percussion) here is a rendition of Pixinguinha's "Ainda me Recordo"

From the same concert, here is Pixinguinha's "Os Oito Batutas"

Finally, to end this small celebration of Pixinguinha, here is a magnificent rendition of the tour-de-force for any flautist, "O Gato e o Canário", from the same concert - Enjoy!


Choro Rhythm Patterns For Violão/Guitar

If you are a guitarist excelling in choro and want to learn more about the various rhythm patterns in choro and how to accompany them on your instrument in a choro ensemble, then there is good news for you. An accomplished choro guitarist, Abdallah Harati, has prepared and uploaded several pedagogical examples on his website to teach you the right approach. - I'll insert a couple of examples below of the short videos (- also available at YouTube) to give you an impression of Abdallah Harati's lecture on the different patterns in accompanying choro on the violão/guitar. Each example has text in English to reach also non-Portuguese speaking learners, an excellent service to spread know-how and prepare you for Choro Day events later this week, I think. Learn more about Abdallah Harati at his website (- both in Portuguese and English) by using the link above or click here

Here's an example of the basic rhtyhm in choro and how you can accompany on the guitar, the chords used here are Dm and A7 and it will work with Pixinguinha's 'Ingênuo'

Here's an example of the tango brasileiro rhythm pattern, the chords used are G and D7, the key Gm - the accompaniement fits with Nazareth's 'Brejeiro'

Last example here covers the maxixe, the chords used are F6 and C7 and the music that fits the shown pattern is “Flor do Abacate” (Alvaro Sandim)

More examples at Abdallah Harati's website


Choro Bandido, An English Choro Ensemble

In recent years the popularity of choro has spread outside Brazil, musicians worldwide have opened their ears to the spellbinding sound of this original music of Brazil and now devote their chops to learning and playing choro. - An example of this movement is the English choro ensemble, Choro Bandido, located in Surrey, UK. In 2008 Choro Bandido got together to explore Chorinho. The members of the quartet have been involved in various musical genres in their time. Classically trained violinist Alison Hopper cut her teeth on classical and folk music. Multi-instrumentalist Dave 'the hat' Anthony has played in many contemporary rock bands. He plays keyboards, violin, bass & percussion but for Choro Bandido has added cavaquinho to his instrumental armoury. Guitarist and teacher Brian Bull, a huge Django Reinhardt fan, has a long background playing Gypsy Jazz. Having added a seventh string Brian is now studying the works of the great Yamandú Costa and Dino 7 Cordas. Percussionist Mick Pyke's musical path has been from blues rock through reggae into African music and has now finished up in Brazilian music. He co-founded the samba bloco, Bloco do Sul, (in Surrey, UK) more than 21 years ago and still runs it with Dave. - In 2009 Choro Bandido travelled to California Brazil Camp (CBC) where they spent a week learning from Ted Falcon who is now professor of violin at the "Escola Brasileira de Choro Raphael Rabello" in Brasilia.

Choro Bandido have just completed a 6 track EP CD, shown above. There are just a handful of Choro groups in the UK where choro is little known, so they have chosen some classic tracks to introduce choro to their ever growing audience.

The cd is available from the website of Choro Bandido where you also will find further info on the group including several uploaded videos and audio tracks. - To give you an impression of Choro Bandido in action I insert a couple of videos from live-performance below. The first was recorded recently and features a rendition of Jacob do Bandolim's 'Vibracoes' - enjoy!

Here's a rendition of Waldir Azevedo's 'Brasileirinho' from the same live-performance as above

More music by Choro Bandido in streaming audio available by clicking here

Nelson Latif, Tributo a João Pernambuco

The musical legacy of João Pernambuco (1883-1947) was almost forgotten for three decades after his passing away, only a small selection of his compositions was recorded by other musicians (i.e. Dilermando Reis and Jacob do Bandolim) in the 1950s and 1960s. However, with the essential release of some of Pernambuco's choros on two LPs by Turibío Santos in 1977 and 1979 featuring magnificent arrangements of some of his most well known and beloved pieces arranged for solo violão and choro group the music of João Pernambuco was relived and saved from oblivion. From then on Pernambuco's compositions have been considered a part of the choro standard book, and since the recordings by Turibío Santos several other artists have made recordings of his works both in Brazil and elsewhere. In 1983, the centennial Of Pernambuco was celebrated through a recording by pianist Antonio Adolfo and the choro ensemble Nó Em Pingo d'Aqua featuring new arrangements of some of Pernambuco's pieces, another essential recording that I have commented earlier. - There have also been several released recordings by solo guitarists featuring Pernambuco's compositions, some of them by Brasilian artists are mentioned in an earlier entry at this blog, and you can also find more info at Angelo Zaniol's website dedicated to Pernambuco's legacy, click here

Last year guitarist and cavaquinho player Nelson Latif recorded the above shown cd, Tributo a João Pernambuco (NL002), that has been just released. The cd is recorded in Brasilia and Amsterdam from April to December 2009 and contains 12 tracks of both solo pieces and arrangements for choro ensemble - 10 tracks feature compositions by João Pernambuco, the 2 remaining are compositions by Latif and guitarist Bosco Oliveira, who accomponanies Latif in the ensemble tracks on the cd and further is a regular member of Latif's various ensembles excelling in different variations of Brasilian and world-music styles. The ensemble tracks have further participation by Flávio Sandoval on tenor and soprano sax and Rafael dos Santos on pandeiro. The cd takes off with a great arrangement of Pernambuco's 'Dengoso' featuring Latif on violão 7 cordas and cavaquinho overdub and solo contributions from Sandoval's reeds backed by Oliveira and Rafael dos Santos. This is followed by a duo recording of 'Sons de Carrilhões' by Latif on violão 7 cordas and Oliveira on violão including an improvisation by Latif reflecting the famous duet recording of the piece by Raphael Rabello and Dino Sete Cordas from the early 1990s. 'Graúna', 'Interroganda', 'Brasileirinho' and the Oliveira composition 'De João para João' are trio recordings featuring Latif on both violão 7 cordas and cavaquinho, the reed playing by Sandoval is featured again on 'Mimoso'. 'Sentido', 'Lágrima', 'Saudosa Viola', 'Rebolico' and the Latif composition 'Uma Toada para o João' are solo contributions by Nelson Latif on violão 7 cordas, the Pernambuco pieces reflecting the historical recordings from the late 1920s by João and Zezinho. - The cd is highly recommended as an example of the fact that João Pernambuco's musical legacy is taken good care of today and still challenges musicians to offer their best and as such relive the soul and heartbeat of true Brasilian music.
Learn more about Nelson Latif from his official website (in Portuguese, English and Dutch), the above mentioned cd and other released recordings by Nelson Latif are available from his website using the link in the Discography section.

To end this small review of 'Tributo a João Pernambuco' I found an uploaded video on YouTube from a live performance in Amsterdam last year featuring Latif on violão accompanied by ensemble, the title of the tune is 'Feira de Mangaio', the style is much in the vain of João Pernambuco - enjoy the music and have patience with the rather bad footage!


Sons de Carrilhões, A Popular Choro

João Teixeira Guimarães (- known as João Pernambuco) (1883-1947) was a self taught guitarist unable to read or write musical notation, nevertheless he composed over 100 pieces for guitar in various styles during his career, today many of them ranking among the standard repertoire for guitarists excelling in choro. João Pernambuco is generally considered the originator or founder of the guitar choro, and especially one of his compositions has become popular with guitarists worldwide, the choro-maxixe 'Sons de Carrilhões' ( - in English: 'Sounds of Bells').

According to the info available at the website by Angelo Zaniol dedicated to the legacy of João Pernambuco 'Sons de Carrilhões' was recorded by João Pernambuco (violão) accompanied by Nelson Alves (cavaquinho) for Odeon in 1926 and issued on a 78 rpm disc (Disco ODEON 123165). A musical notation of the piece was published for the first time in a collection titled 'A Guitarra de Prata' during the 1930s, a revised version by Turibio Santos and a second, revised version by Dilermando Reis was published 1978 through Ricordi Brasileira (0206, 1978). These revised versions have been republished by the German Chanterelle Verlag 1992 (ECH 761, 1992). An arrangment for trio (flute, violão and cavaquinho) by Angelo Zavinol is available at his website, another for solo violão notated in standard notation and guitar tablature is free available here

Numerous examples featuring a perfomance of 'Sons de Carrilhões' have been uploaded at YouTube, below I'll insert four different renditions of the piece. - The first video is uploaded just recently and features a performance by an anonymous amateur

Here's a faster version of the tune performed by Daniel Volovets

An arrangement by Carlos Barbosa-Lima excellently performed by the guitarist himself belongs to my own favourites:

Finally, the Argentine genius of jazz/swing guitar playing, Oscar Alemán, recorded a solo version of the piece in 1972, in Spanish titled 'Sonido de Carrillón'. Here is just the audio track of this recording uploaded, a convincing example showing that Alemán was deeply rooted in Brasilian music and not just the swing/jazz tradition of the 1930s - Enjoy!


Luz da Aurora, Yamandú & Hamilton live!

In 2008 was recorded a live concert featuring Yamandú Costa and Hamilton de Holanda from a performance at the Auditório Ibirapuera in São Paulo. The live recording has now been released on a cd, 'Luz da Aurora', through the Som Livre/Atracao company. I have not heard the cd yet, but judging from previews and already published reviews in Brazil it is worth waiting for in this part of the world. Contents of the disc according to the Discos do Brasil web service is to be reached here. The disc can be obtained from online retailers in Brazil, a good service is provided here.

The release of the 'Luz da Aurora' cd was covered by the TV Estadão, SP, through an interview with Yamandú and Hamilton. During the interview the duo played a couple of the tunes available on the cd. Both the interview (- in Portuguese, of course) and the recorded music has been uploaded at YouTube. Below I insert the two videos featuring Yamandú and Hamilton performing, here is their version of 'Samba do Véio', a composition by the duo - enjoy!

The other video features a version of 'Samba pro Rapha', a composition by Yamandú Costa excellently performed here by the duo at TV Estadão