Choro is a Brazilian music style, very popular in the 1920s and 1930s, but still popular nowadays. This blog wants to share our passion for this music and its musicians like Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim and Garoto, but also the contemporary generation of young talented musicans like Yamandú Costa.
Friday, July 27, 2007
String Music of Pernambuco
Great choro players like João Pernambuco and Luperce Miranda influenced the Carioca version of choro by incorporating compositions, conception and rhythmic elements reflecting the musical traditions of their native Pernambuco homeregion, Northeast of Brazil. If you are interested in learning more about the music traditions of Pernambuco related with choro, I recommend you to start your investigation by listening to two recordings by Henrique Annes, a contemporary arranger, composer and erudite violãnista keeping the Pernambuco string music tradition well alive.
Henrique Annes (b 1946) is - according to info by Alvaro Neder in AMG - the founder of the Orquestra de Cordas Dedilhadas de Pernambuco (Orchestra of Fingered Strings of Pernambuco), the Oficina de Cordas do Recife (Recife Strings Workshop, another group), and of the Orquestra Armorial (Armorial Orchestra). He has been performing as a soloist of chamber and symphonic orchestras both in Brazil and the U.S. As an educator, he created and has long since been involved with the Music Conservatory of Recife (Pernambuco), where he created the chair of violão erudito (classical guitar).
In 1996 Kuarup records released an album, Henrique Annes & Oficina de Cordas de Pernambuco KCD 085), containing plucked string music of Pernambuco arranged and with musical direction by Henrique Annes and Marco César. The 16 tracks of this album reflect the various musical string traditions of Pernambuco and have compositions by Nelson Ferreira, João Pernambuco, Edgard de Moraes, Luiz Bandeira, José Menezes, Alfredo Medeiros, Nonato Luiz, Adalberto Cavalcanti besides pieces by Henrique Annes for solo guitar, further a version of Luiz Bonfá's 'Manhã de Carnaval' arranged for string ensemble. The string ensemble consist of Henrique Annes (Violão), Marco César (Bandolim), Ledjane Sara (Cavaquinho), Adalberto Cavalcanti (Bandola), Claúdio Moura (Viola sertaneja), Fernando Rangel (Contrabaixo), Raimundo Batista (Percussão) - on a couple of tracks guest performance by Jorge Cardoso (Cavaquinho) and Jean François (Contrabaixo). The music is well arranged and performed, a great listening experience and an album worth replaying to explore nuances and - in some cases - extremely varied rhythmic structure. Highly recommended, indeed.
The shown 'Violão Pernambucano' (Kuarup, KCD 163, iss. 2002) is dedicated to Henrique Annes' interpretations of his own works. To give you an impression of the music, I'll quote Alvaro Neder in AMG:
"Diverse influences permeate the compositions. "Caribeana No. 1" evokes the Southern border of Brazil with echoes of Argentinean milongas and chamamés; "Caribeana No. 2" brings in the reminiscent Renaissance lute, played in minor key. All of the four "Caribeanas" are decidedly marked by a fluent, evenly distributed stream of notes, while the vivid rhythm accompaniment pushes the movement forwards. "Choro Para Maurício Carrilho" has a different, pre-bossa nova character, with overtones that suggest Garoto's compositions and harmony. The three prelúdios (preludes), on the other hand, are infused with a melancholic, doleful feel. Annes is joined on some tracks by an impressive array of some of the best Brazilian choro musicians. "Angelical" is played solo by Joel do Nascimento, "Mesclado" by Altamiro Carrilho, and "Lembranças de Gravatá" by Paulo Sérgio Santos, while the regional choro accompanying group is provided by Maurício Carrilho (guitar), Luciana Rabelo (cavaquinho), and Jorginho do Pandeiro (pandeiro)."
Both of the mentioned albums by Henrique Annes are worth looking for and highly recommended, if you would like to explore the Pernambuco music tradition related with choro.
To illustrate the violão Pernambucano tradition, I found a couple of video performances on YouTube. The first is a composition by Getúlio Cavalcanti, "O Bom Sebastião"
The second video is a performance of Nelson Ferreira's "Evocação N.1" - unfortunately the filmed sequence is not the best, however, great music and playing. Hope you to enjoy, anyway
On the 15th of July the Hamilton de Holanda Quintet Brasilianos gave a concert at the Murray tent at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam. His band features Hamilton de Holanda of course on the bandolim 10 cordas, the ten string bandolim, Gabriel Grossi on harmonica, Daniel Santiago at the guitar, André Vasconcelos at the bass and Marcio Bahia on drums. Hamilton de Holanda, who dedicated one of his tunes to his newborn son, born a few days before this concert, played the music of his album Musica das nuvens e do chao in an energetical way. He also played some pieces from his new solo CD 01 Byte 10 Cordas - Hamilton de Holanda Ao Vivo No Rio, I will discuss later.
Although the circumstances for this performance were not very good, the group gave an excellent concert. Due to a delayed flight they were too late in Rotterdam and arrived just one hour before their concert at the festival. A guest appearance for Hamilton de Holanda with the Richard Galliano Tangaria Quintetwas cancelled due to that fact. It was the last concert at the Murray stage for a partial filled tent with a lot of back ground noise from an adjoining concert. What a shame !
Hamilton de Holanda, born in 1976 in Rio de Janeiro, was raised in the choro tradition and became the most important bandolim player of the world nowadays. Critics in Brazil compare him with Jacob do Bandolimand that is, of course, a great compliment. His bandolim was rebuilded for him to a 10 string instrument. During the concert he showed that he is a skilled bandolim player that knows how to entertain the audience, most Brazilian immigrants, who wanted to hear their popular Brazilian instrumentalist. In Europe he is a rising star, especially popular in France. He is one of the musicians that play on the great film Brasileirinho, the documentary about choro music made by Mika Kasurismäki, a film everybody should have seen. Hamilton de Holanda made several albums that should be obtained, although still hard to find in The Netherlands, but available on the internet. I found myself two of his last CDs in Rotterdam and I enjoyed the release of Hamilton de Holanda titled Musica das Nuvens e do Chao ( Song of the clouds and the earth) that contains twelve tracks with compositions of Brazilians composers like Baden Powell, Astor Piazzolla and Egberto Gimonti, but also an excellent played tune like Estacoes, he also performed during the concert. On this number Yamandu Costa plays as a guest on his violao 7 cordas, seven string guitar. Yamandu Costa is one of major choro instrumentalists of Brazil nowadays. It is a great CD that learns that this man and his music is a rising star. Try to find yourself a copy of this great album. The second album is a solo album, titled 01 Byte 10 Cordas - AuVivo No Rio and will be reviewed in a coming blog.
Hamilton de Holanda will be back for a tour this fall. He is to be heard in Groningen, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Find the dates at his website.
I love to share with you some film fragments of performances I found, solo as well as with his quintet. You can find more fragments on a previous Keep swinging contribution. Please, enjoy it.
These are the Hamilton de Holanda CDs in my collection:
hamilton de holanda - grupo dois de ouro/a nova caro do velho choro
hamilton de holanda/(2002)
hamilton de holanda/brasilianos
hamilton de holanda/samba do aviao
hamilton de holanda/musica das nuvens e do chao
hamilton de holanda/01 byte 12 cordas - au vivo no rio
A few weeks ago I got a message from Fernando Gelbard, who is, except a great admirer of the music of Oscar Aleman, also a choro fan. He shared with me three versions of the great tune Noites Cariocas, composed by Jacob do Bandolim.
Noites Cariocas, which means Cariocan Nights, was composed by Jacob do Bandolimin 1957. It became a standard in choro music and it is nowadays on the repertoire of every choro band. The tune is also strongly related to Jacob do Bandolim, like Tico-Tico No Fuba which belongs to Zequinha de Abreu and Carinhoso to Pixinguinha. Remember that playing choro music is a social event. A rodas de choro is a meeting of musicians, who want to play together, and sit in a circle, so they can see each other and make eye contact if necessary. When the musicians want to play, one of the solo instruments starts playing ( the clarinet or bandolim) and the other instruments fill in. If you have an instrument and you like to join the roda de choro, do so - that are some unwritten rules.
It will be clear that in these spontanious improvisations, well known tunes, like Noites Cariocas are used - tunes every participant, skilled or starter, can use as a steppingstone for their musical interactions. In fact this kind of improvisations have the same roots as jazz music and that's what I like in choro music.
Fernando pointed me to three fragments - I will share two of them. You'll see Yamandu Costa and Armandinho in duet and Armandinho and Raphael Rabello playing Noites Cariocas. The third fragment I found and is played by a young guitar player and simply named himself, unpretentious, Eu, which means Me or I His name could be Ederson Moares, as he posted the fragment.
Armandinho and Raphael Rabello playing "Noites Cariocas" by Jacob do Bandolim (Jacob Pick Bittencourt) (1918-1969)
In 1974 Antonio Carlos Fortura made a documentary on choro, "Chorinhos e Choros", for TV in Brazil to be used for education of young people in knowledge of a crucial chapter of the nation's cultural legacy. Now this documentary (- about 10 min of length) has been uploaded at YouTube and inserted below to share with our regular visitors. The speak is in Portuguese, but if you don't understand the words, the film has great footage of legendary choro legends like Luperce Miranda, Jacob do Bandolim, Época de Ouro a.o., however, the message comes through clearly in the music of the soundtrack.
Enjoy Antonio Carlos Fortura's "Chorinhos e Choros"
As a follow-up to the documentary above I insert two more videos uploaded at YouTube. Here it's a performance by Grupo Samba Choro at bar Calaf, Brasília, entertaining an enthusiastic public
The last video this time features a group of young choro musicians demonstrating new horizons in this fascinating music style, recorded in Rio 2001