Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pixinguinha 120 - Choro Day

Pixinguinha (1897-1973)
April 23rd is the official Dia Nacional do Choro in Brazil since 2000 in honor of the birthday of Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Filho, better known as Pixinguinha (1897-1973) - one of the all time greatest Brazilian artists, who helped creating and shaping Choro in its present form. This year is a special year, as Pixinguinha would have turned 120 years of age, and this fact will be celebrated in several ways all over Brazil. For instance, the Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS) has kept the archieve of Pixinguinha since 2000 - accessible here - and yesterday a new site dedicated to the 120 years of Pixinguinha was launched by IMS, here 
The new site dedicated to Pixinguinha at IMS
Here at the Choro music blog we will celebrate the 120 years of Pixinguinha and his importance in Brazilian music culture by giving access to some of his music as played by skilled musicians from uploaded video performances at You Tube. - Here is first a live performance of Cochichando as played by Nailor Proveta, Pedro Amorim and the Regional Imperial in 2012

From the same live performance, here is Proveta and Regional Imperial's interpretation of Pixinguinha's Quem é você? 

From a 2011 concert, Regional Imperial accompanies bandolinista Luis Barcelos in a reading of Pixinguinha's Minha Gente 

From the same concert, Luis Barcelos and Regional Imperial play Pixinguinha's Acerta o passo 

From an Instrumental SESC Brasil live performance 2010, Danilo Brito and ensemble play Pixinguinha's Ingênuo 

Finally, from the same live performance, Danilo Brito and ensemble play Pixinguinha/Benedito Lacerda's 1X0 (Um a Zero) 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Trio Choro Moderno

Trio Choro Moderno - l-r: Pedro Ramos (cav, violão tenor), Paulo Ramos
(violão 7 cordas), Diego Pereira (dm)
Trio Choro Moderno was formed in 2013. Before the trio was formed, the brothers Paulo (7 string guitar) and Pedro Ramos (cavaquinho/tenor guitar)  had a duo together. Since 2009, Pedro Ramos is a professor at Souza Lima Music College in São Paulo.  He first met the drummer Diego Pereira there as a drums student in 2013. Pedro was very impressed by Diego's musicianship and invited him to join the duo along with his brother Paulo. - Since 2013, the trio has played in music bars, jazz clubs and theaters in the São Paulo music scene and the interior of São Paulo state as well. In mid 2014 Trio Choro Moderno did their first international tour in Portugal. - In 2017, Trio Choro Moderno  has released their first CD, called Bolo de Fubá (Corn Cake). The CD presents original compositions and features special guests Sizão Machado on acoustic bass, Vitor Alcantara on tenor and soprano sax and Guilherme Ribeiro on accordeon. The compositions explore the vast choro music universe, with its various rhythms such as samba, maxixe, schotish, waltz and frevo. (info excerpted from official website, here )
CD front: Trio Choro Moderno, Bolo de Fubá (independent, 2017)
The CD was recorded in 2016 and contain twelth tracks, most of them arranged and composed by members of the trio (- for details, see Discos do Brasil here) -  Here's the title track of the cd from a YouTube video

There are a couple of new arrangements of well known choros, i.e. Arranca Toca (Meira) and Cristal¨by Jacob do Bandolim, the last mentioned also available in a YouTube video

The CD by Trio Choro Moderno is recommended and available for purchase as digital download here 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Messias Britto - Baianato

Messias Britto - Baianato (2014, independent)
I like to point you to an amazing CD of virtuosic cavaquinho playing, the above shown Baianato by Messias Britto. The CD was originally released 2014 in Brazil, but has now been re-released internationally last month, more info here and here.  The CD is available for purchase as digital download here 
Messias Britto (photo by Stela Handa)
Messias Britto (b 1989) is a self-taught cavaquinista from Bahia (North-East of Brazil). At age 12 he saw a cavaquinho for the first time, two years later he discovered Waldir Azevedo, who became his greatest inspiration. At age 19 he was invited to give lessons at Clube do Choro de Bahia in Salvador where he also was part of the Grupo Mandaia. In 2011, he went to live in São Paulo and in 2012 and 2013 he won the Bahia Educative Radio Music Festival as "Best Instrumental Interpreter". In 2014, he launched his first album, Baianato, in which he presents 10 instrumentals, most of them selfpenned and reflecting the many different musical styles of North-East of Brazil. In 2016, he won the Mimo Instrumental award. 
CD tracklist
Below I'll insert some examples from the studio recording of the CD, which have been uploaded at YouTube. - Here is first Pingo no Ó, first track at the CD

The title track of the CD, Baianato

Tatu e Eu is heavily inspired by the frevo tempo/rhythm

To end this small presentation of Messias Britto and his debut CD, I'll insert a live performance of the well-known Espinha de Bacalhau, which also gets a reading at the CD


Friday, January 27, 2017

Revival of Music by Ireneu de Almeida And The Ophicleide

Ireneu de Almeida
Irineu de Almeida (1873-1916), also known as Irineu Batina was an important figure in the early days of choro. He was a member of the famous Banda do Corpo de Bombeiros de R.J. founded and led by the renowned Anacleto de Medeiros. In this band Ireneu de Almeida played the trumpet, tuba, trombone and ophicleide. In Brazil the ophicleide was the first instrument to play the counterpoint bass lines or baixarias; over time the role of this instrument was taken by other low-range instruments such as the euphonium, the tuba, the contrabass and, eventually, the seven-string guitar.
The ophicleide is a keyed brass wind instrument, the bass member of the family whose soprano is the keyed bugle (it is classified as an aerophone, as it has a mouth piece similar to that of a bass trombone). It was patented by the French maker Halary (Jean Hilaire Asté) in 1821. (More info about the ophicleide here) 
Pixinguinha and Ireneu de Almeida
Ireneu de Almeida was Pixinguinha's music teacher and they performed together in Ireneu's choro ensemble named Choro Carioca. In 1911 the ensemble recorded a number of compositions including Pixinguinha's São João debaixo d’água. Pixinguinha played the flute and Ireneu played the counterpoint melody on the ophicleide.

Irineu’s approach to playing the counter-melody, which has an improvised character, had a profound influence on how Pixinguinha would compose and perform throughout his career. When Pixinguinha later took to playing the tenor saxophone in favour of the flute, his primary musical reference was Irineu’s way of playing the ophicleide. Maurício Carillho has put it this way, quote: "(...) Pixinguinha’s teacher at the beginning of the twentieth century, Irineu de Almeida played the ophicleide. When Pixinguinha played the saxophone he was thinking of the ophicleide, his reference was the ophicleide, right up to his sound of his tenor saxophone sounded more like a ophicleide than that of a tenor saxophone. When one hears the recordings of Irineu de Almeida with Pixinguinha, who was only 13 or 14 years old, playing the flute, you understand Pixinguinha the musician, the sound of Pixinguinha’s saxophone, the contrapuntal language, where all this came from..." (quoted from this sourcesee pp 23-24, The ophicleide and baixarias, from which the above info is excerpted)
CD front: Irineu de Almeida e o oficleide - 100 anos depois (Biscoito Fino, 2016)
Last year the shown CD was released by Biscoito Fino (- more info here and here) featuring music composed and/or recorded by Ireneu de Almeida exposing the ophicleide in an ensemble setting similar to the original recordings made by Ireneu's Choro Carioca ensemble mentioned above. The CD was produced by Maurico Carrilho in collaboration with Mariza and Joana Adnet, and the ensemble playing at the fourteen tracks contained at the CD consists of Everson Moraes (ophicleide), Aquiles Moraes (cornet), Leonardo Miranda (flute), Lucas Oliveira (cavaquinho), Iuri Bittar (violão), Marcus Thadeu (ritmo) and a couple of tracks have extended personnel including Mauricio Carrilho (violão 7 cordas), Beatriz Stutz (clarinet) and Thiao Osória (tuba).
Everson Moraes ensemble performing - Everson is playing the ophicleide
The repertoire of the disc has updated arrangements of music by Ireneu de Almeida and features examples of tango brasileiro, polca, choro, maxixe, a.o., very enjoable to listen to. Everson's ophicleide is featured in all fourteen tracks and is skillfully mastered and showing off the instrument's contrapuntal role in interplay with the cornet and flute which have the melody lead. Below I'll insert some examples from the release live performance of the disc to give you an impression of the featured music. - Here is first Everson Moraes and his ensemble performing São João Debaixo dÁgua (tango brasileiro)

From the same live performance, here is the ensemble's version of Ireneu de Almeida's choro titled Pisca-Pisca 

Finally, here is Everson Moraes' ensemble performing the choro Qualquer Cousa 

I highly recommend the disc by the Everson Moraes ensemble, the music is enjoyable throughout and the contributions by all involved are magnificent recreating the music repertorire by Ireneu de Almeida, an important figure in the evolution of the choro. The CD is available for purchase here 


Friday, December 30, 2016

Mestrinho & Nicolas Krassik

Nicolas Krassik (v), Mestrinho (acc) (photo by Rodrigo Ramalho)
I'll end 2016 at this blog by pointing you to a terrific CD released earlier this year featuring eleven tracks of virtuosic interplay and great music by the Mestrinho and Nicolas Krassik duo. The CD was released by Biscoito Fino and you can find more info here  and here
CD front, Mestrinho & Nicolas Krassik (Biscoito Fino, 2016)
Nicolas Krassik should be well known to readers of this blog. The French violinist (b 1969) has resided in Brazil since 2001 and is a highly respected musician on the Brazilian popular scene today. Nicolas Krassik has both conducted  a solo career in Brazil and  participated in performance and recordings by Brazilian artists such as Yamandú Costa, Hamilton de Holanda, Carlos Malta, Marisa Monte, Beth Carvalho, João Bosco, Gilberto Gil a.o.. It was during Krassik's collaboration with Gilberto Gil he met and became friends with accordionist Mestrinho, who also was a member of Gil's band. Mestrinho (b 1988) is from a musical family, and at the age of 6 he was already playing accordion and at age 12 he started performing on band tours in the area where he lived. Since childhood he has been influenced by the music of Dominguinhos, Sivuca, Oswaldinho do Acordeon, Hermeto Pascoal, Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Elba Ramalho, a.o.. Mestrinho has accompanied Dominguinhos in several shows throughout Brazil, and he has worked and recorded with Elba Ramalho and participated in Gilberto Gil's shows and recordings, in addition he also works as a producer and arranger and has recorded under his own name. 
Mestrinho & Nicolas Krassik (photo by Rodrigo Ramalho)
The CD by Mestrinho and Nicolas Krassik has eleven tracks of music by the duo, the musical style is influenced by the modern forró tradition known from works by  Dominguinhos a.o. - a composition by Dominguinhos opens the CD, Nilopolitano, and world famous accordionist Sivuca is represented through two of his co-compositions, João e Maria and Feira de Mangaio. Mestrinho is represented through two self penned compositions, Um sorriso de esperanca and Em minha alma, and Nicolas Krassik also contributes two of his own compositions, Cordestinos and Serelepe. The remaining repertoire comprises the duo's interpretation of Formosa by Baden Powell, Diabinho maluco by Jacob do Bandolim, Desvairada by Garoto and Villa-Lobos' Melodia sentimental. The interplay by the duo is terrific and leaves plenty of space for improvisation and attentive accompaniement by both artists, the result is an integrated and magnificent CD that showcasts both musicians' skills as great performers of a repertoire of fascinating and almost mesmerizing music. Highly recomended for repeated listening! - The CD may be purchased in mp3 format here 
Nicolas Krassik and Mestrinho in performance (photo by Renata Samarco)
The photo above was shot at a live performance by the duo last year presenting the material of the CD for an audience at the choro club of Brasilia. From this live performance  the duo's interpretation of 'Feira de Mangaio' has been recorded and uploaded at YouTube, inserted below 

To end this small review of the Mestrinho and Nicolas Krassik CD, I also like to point you to a TV presentation of the duo made earlier this year. The program is almost one hour, has some spoken info in between music and contains excellent performance by the duo of music from the CD, to be watched at You Tube here 
A Happy New Year 2017 - Um feliz ano novo 2017!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Abismo de Rosas - A Perennial Classic

Americo Jacomino 'Canhoto'
Americo Jacomino 'Canhoto' (1889-1928) is considered the founder of the violão brasileiro tradition and was elected 'Rei do Violão Brasileiro' after participating in the first officially organized contest of guitarists in Rio de Janeiro 1927 sponsored by the Correio da Manhä newspaper. Canhoto (- meaning 'lefthanded' in English) was one of three finalists, the other two were the blind guitarist Manoel de Lima and a 10 years old girl named Ivonne Rebello. Canhoto contributed with three of his own compositions, Marcha triunfal brasileira, Abismo de rosas and Marcha dos marinheiros and was awarded the first prize which bore the name of 'João Pernambuco' - another of the early Brazilian guitarists of importance and fame in the foundation of the violão brasileiro tradition. All three compositions played by Canhoto at the contest have since belonged to the classic repertoire of the violão, however, the most often performed piece probably is the waltz titled Abismo de rosas - a perennial classic and a stepstone for aspiring guitarists, even today.
Odeon 122933, Abysmo de Rozas
According to available infoCanhoto composed Abismo de Rosas in 1905 following an outburst of a broken heart because he had just been abandoned by his girlfriend. He made three recordings of this waltz: the first, with the name Acordes de violão, was launched at Odeon 121249 in mid-1916 (- available at the two cd-set devoted to solo guitar recordings by Canhoto c.1913-28 on Revivendo, PVPC 008, vol. 1, track 10 or for listening in streaming audio at Instituto Moreira SalLes); the second time, now with the title Abysmo de rozas, the waltz was launched at Odeon 122933 (-see above) in 1925 (- some sources mention 1926) - probably the best known version. The third time Abismo de rosas was added lyrics (by Joäo do Sul) and issued on Odeon 10021 in August 1927, one of the first electrically recorded discs in Brazil. - Below is inserted the audio of Odeon 122933 uploaded at YouTube (- also available in streaming audio at Instituto Moreira Salles)

As mentioned, Abismo de rosas is a perennial classic in the violão brasileiro repertoire, and the composition has been recorded by numerous Brazilian guitarists. Below I'll insert some examples of performance of the the tune by some of the renowned guitarists to celebrate the Centennial of the first recording of this classic
Garoto (Anibal Augusto Sardinha) recorded his version of the waltz playing the violão tenor accompanied by another guitarist in 1942 (Odeon 12201-A)

Next example is Dilermando Reis playing Abismo de rosas, which he recorded several times during his career (- first time in 1952 on a 78 rpm), the version below is probably copied from the LP issue of the tune (- dated 1968 at YouTube)

A live performance of Abismo de rosas as played by Antonio Rago has been saved from a TV show and uploaded at YouTube, inserted here

Raphael Rabello also performed Abismo de rosas in one of his live concerts

Before inserting the last video example this time, I'd like to point to a CD from 2003 recorded by the excellent erudite guitarist Gilson Antunes devoted solely to music composed by Americo Jacomino 'Canhoto'. Arrangements are drawn from the original manuscripts by Canhoto, and there are sixteen tracks at the CD - one of them moreover performed by Gilson Antunes at the guitar of Canhoto
Gilson Antunes, Obras Para Violão de Américo Jacomino (2003)
Gilson Antunes is a professor of the violão and a co-founder of the Violão Brasileiro website, an indispensible resource for research of the guitar in Brazil, accessible hereA career profile of Gilson Antunes (- in Portuguese only) is available at this resource site, hereand in the discography section of the profile you have the opportunity to listen to all tracks in full length of the mentioned CD. Gilson Antunes has further uploaded the CD for free download at his blog, hereand guitarists interested in the written music as played by Gilson Antunes have the opportunity to download a pdf of his transcription of Abismo de rosas, here
Gilson Antunes
To end this, here is Gilson Antunes' recording of Abismo de rosas from the above mentioned CD


Monday, October 31, 2016

New CD From Choro das Tres - Impressões

CD front, Choro das Tres - Impressões (Macole, 2016)
The fabulous Choro das Tres ensemble has just released their 6th CD in Brazil titled Impressões (in English: Impressions). The CD was recorded earlier this year and issued internationally in April on Pixinguinha's birthday (April 23th, Choro Day in Brazil and elsewhere) just in time to promote Choro das Tres' US tour this year. The liner notes inform on the background of the CD, quote: "We have devoted the last four years to producing never-before-recorded music that follows traditional Brazilian choro instrumental styles. (-) Now we have produced Impressões (Impressions). It incorporates our impressions of other styles of music, including forró (from northeastern Brazil), chamamé (from northern Argentina), European styles such as romance and musette, and even American jazz inspired by Benny Goodman." The repertoire consists of 14 new compositions, some of them composed by members of the ensemble, some by friends, a.o. Leroy Amêndola, who contributed two pieces, Forró Barroco and O Céu de Waldir, the last mentioned with participation of Danilo Brito playing cavaquinho solo. Accordionist Thadeu Romano and Elisa Meyer, bandolinista of Choro das Tres, co-composed Festa no Chiqueiro and Thadeu Romano also participates as accordionist in Floreio. Composer and cavaquinista Pacheco has contributed as composer and instrumentalist in three tracks: 7 Belo, Garota and No Velho 18. Choro das Tres members are Corina Meyer Ferreira (flute), Elisa Meyer Ferreira (bandolim, banjo, clarinet, piano), Lia Meyer Ferreira (violão 7 cordas) and their father Eduardo Ferreira (pandeiro). The CD is available for purchase here 
Choro das Tres, l-r:
Eduardo Ferreira (pandeiro), Corina (flute), Elisa (bandolim), Lia (violão 7 cordas)
As mentioned in the liner notes above, the music at the CD extends choro and i.e. also includes forró. The first track of the CD, Forró Barroco composed by Leroy Amêndola was performed by Choro das Tres during their US tour and recorded on video uploaded at YouTube

The romance for flute and piano, A Espera de Ti by Corina and Elisa Meyer available at the new CD was also recorded on video during the US tour and is inserted below

The magnificent production of the material recorded at the CD with participation of invited guest performers in some tracks convinces this listener that the flawless execution of the tunes and the virtuosic instrumental skills by the young members of Choro das Tres mark yet another successful CD album by this fabulous ensemble. To end this small review, here's another video recording from the US tour this year, a duo version of Luperce Miranda's Quando Me Lembro - not available at the new CD, but here a showcase for bandolim and violão 7 cordas - enjoy!