Friday, August 17, 2007

Trio Surdina Story

The formation and music of the Trio Surdina is an important chapter in the story of choro and MPB as an example of the transition from the classic choro tradition of the 1940s developed by Pixinguinha & Lacerda a.o. to the bossa nova style of the 50s and early 60s invented and refined by Brazilian artists like João Gilberto and Jobim. Now the story of the Trio Surdina has been documented in detail by the Brazilian researcher and musician, Jorge Mello, in a well researched article, published and translated from the Portuguese into English by Daniella Thompson at her Musica Brasiliensis website.

The article by Jorge Mello sets focus on both the formation of the Trio Surdina and the music recorded by the trio - the latter a hitherto complicated matter due to lack of exact discographical info, now finally uncovered. Trio Surdina was formated in 1951 and consisted of Garoto (Aníbal Augusto Sardinha, 1915–1955), guitar, Fafá Lemos (Rafael Lemos Junior, 1921–2004),violin, and Chiquinho do Acordeón (Romeu Seibel, 1928–1993), accordion.
The trio was invented and brought together on the initiative of Paulo Tapajós, then a musical director of Rádio Nacional and hosting a program named 'Música em Surdina' (- meaning Music on the Quiet). The concept of the program was to take excellent soloists hired by the station from the orchestral mass and putting them in small groups. So, Tapajós created the Trio Surdina, they would entertain the listeners, playing refined instrumental music live during the broadcasts. Jorge Mello gives a detailed outline of the sceduled programmes featuring Trio Surdina starting in March 1951 and lasting until 1953 with Garoto, Lemos and Chiquinho. The programmes were well received by the public and by the critics, and this also led to recordings of the Trio Surdina. The trio was recorded by the Musidisc label and four 10 inch LPs featuring some of the trio's repertoire were issued 1953-54; detailed discographical info and reviews documented in Mello's article, too.
The recordings by Trio Surdina have not been re-issued on cd, unfortunately. The original LPs are hard to find and have become collectors items due to the high artistic standard of the performed music. You have an opportunity to listen to some of the recorded tracks in a rather poor audio issue using the online facility at Instituto Moreira Salles

The music recorded by Trio Surdina was a mix of Brazilian and international standards, also incorporating compositions by members of the group. Garoto's contributions to the trio's repertoire contained more of his later famed compositions. I insert a couple of video performances below featuring music by Garoto to illustrate the spirit of the repertoire of Trio Surdina.

One of Garoto's compositions, "Gente Humilde", also recorded by Trio Surdina, here performed as a solo guitar piece

Another solo guitar piece by Garoto, "Jorge do Fusa"

The last video this time features Marco de Pinna (violão tenor) and his group performing Garoto's "Meditando"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review about Jorge Mello's Article! Videos are both awesome as well!
I've started recently a series about "lyricized" music of Garoto. It's intended to review more than 50 tunes (some of them totally new and unreleased) in weekly articles, offering plenty of rich content: histories, rare images and audios.
Unfortunalety it's avaliable only in portuguese by now (an english version is due to be published as soon as possible):

Congratulations for Choro Music's weblog. I always read it and it's included in my RSS feeds! See ya!

20 August, 2007  
Blogger Jo said...

Dear Zé Carlos,

Thanks a lot for your comment. It's great to learn that Garoto's legacy is being researched properly. I suggest readers to learn more about your project consulting the articles following the link in your comment:
I'll be looking forward to the the translation in English later, please notify me at this blog when available, ok?

Best regards,


21 August, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Some material by Trio Surdina has recently been reissued by the French label Fremeaux on their 3 CD set "Accordion In Americas 1949 - 1962" (FA 5620) along with other Brazilian music, American jazz and material from central America and the Caribbean. Check out the label's website at

09 May, 2016  

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