Saturday, June 17, 2006


Choro is the soul of Brazilian music is one of those quotes that is used to write about this music.

It was founded in the late 1800s around Rio de Janeiro as a music style that combined European dance music, like walzes and polka's with African rhythms as played by former slaves from Africa.
If you read this, it gives me a feeling that I read these lines before in books about the origin of jazz. Choro means crying in Portugueze - what is the meaning of the word Blues?
Choro is mostly instrumental, it gives a lot of space for improvisation and virtuosity, like jazz music.
The typically Choro instruments are the guitar, the seven-string guitar (it is, in fact playing the bass part), the cavaquinho. a small guitar of Portuguese origin, used to play solos, the pandeiro, a kind of tambourine instrument, that gives the swinging rhythm. In the early times flute and clarinet were popular as solo instruments, later more instruments could be used for that part.

If you compare Choro with jazz music you'll find more interesting facts both styles have in common.
Maybe that's the reason that it felt very familiar when I heard a live choro band playing ( in my case Choro Brazil Scandinavia) for the very first time in July 2005 in Copenhagen.

Jørgen, who introduced me to that concert (thanks again Jo), wrote a very interesting article about this music. He introduces choro music using some of the recordings he has in his collection. If names like Pixinguinha, Jaco do Bandolim or Garoto make you anxious don't miss it. Enjoy it.

Guitar Choro by Jørgen Larsen

Another interesting link tells about a
history of choros in context by Marilynn Mair.

Another one about Garoto one of the great choro musicians.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a collection of Pixinguinha songs available on CD - I picked up a copy in Rio a few years ago while on a band tour. Very interesting, fun large combo (small Big Band ;-) things from the late 30's onwards - early examples of "choro."

I think that particular CD is still in print and there are many other Pixinguinha recordings available through on-line shops - even Amazon!

Dave Richoux (on the Dixielandjazz list)

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EMI box set of Villa-Lobos conducting his music includes a talk in French by the composer on "What is a Choros".

Unfortunately my French is not good enough to follow it.

Don Cox

6:22 AM  

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