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!