Friday, August 22, 2008

Armandinho - Retocando o Choro

One of the characteristics of the traditional choro performance is the fact that the participating musicians usually are seated in a circle or around a table to create an intimate atmosphere and leaving the opportunity to watch each other while playing. This was the ideal setting for a roda de choro, and this is continued to this day in small clubs or at private gatherings whenever choro musicans get together to play for their own pleasure. You could say that the mentioned setting of a roda de choro is well suited for this kind of chamberish music that demands concentration, great technical skills and the presence of a common feeling to recreate the spirit of choro as a multi-voiced unity.- However, today a choro performance often takes place in a concert setting with the musicians placed on a stage fronting an audience, which usually excludes the possibility of a traditional roda de choro setting, as all participating musicians are supposed to be fronting the audience. On the other hand, the stage setting leaves the opportunity of individual solo performance a better chance to reach the audience, a fact to be taken advantage of whether it may be a classical symphonic orchestra with a soloist performing, or a band performing popular music with changing solo voices.
The world is a stage according to Mr. Shakespeare and especially a younger generation of musians has understood this dictum as a demand of acting as an individual soloist when the music plays, the success of a performance depending on the abilities of the individual fronting the audience and supported by a band in the background. The soloist's role has become the most important part of the act on stage. This is truly a phenomenon reflecting the ideological and social values of modern Western society, expected to be the norm by audiences and accepted as such by musicians, who go for a successfull career in music business. In fact, the success of a modern jazz or rock'n'roll concert seems to depend on the soloists' personal abilities, the reputation and stardom often applied to the musician's ability to invent and create surprising personal solos by mastering the instrument with special effects and unexpected improvisation skills. This is the constant demand resting on the career of individual musicians heading for a star role on-stage today.
When choro and choro performance had a revival in Brazil during the 1970s one of the problems to front by choro musicians was that the choro was considered to be the music of old folks with outdated values of social behaviour. The gap between a young generation looking for an indivudal platform in the world and the preserving of old values by the elder generation created a cultural vacuum, in which the choro easily was considered an anachronic left-over from a world of yesterday. However, devoted individuals among the young generation of families, where the choro had been a part of the cultural identity for generations, faced the challenge and tried to put the choro on stage in a new setting, considering the music to be just as appealing as rock'n'roll when performed by devoted musicians. One of the pioneers of the young revivalists of choro was Armandinho.
ARMANDINHO (Armandinho Macêdo) was born 1953 in Salvador, Bahia, in a musical environment - his father, Osmar, was the inventor of the Electric Trio (sound truck made famous in the Carnival of Bahia and later generalized throughout the country). He was taught to play by his father at age nine. He was already performing one year later with his own Trio Elétrico Mirim (Junior). After a stint amidst the Beatlemania craze adapted in Brazil as Jovem Guarda, he was hired by TV Tupi (Rio) and recorded his first album after winning an important novice show (Flávio Cavalcanti). His second single and first LP soon followed. In 1973, he recorded O Trio Elétrico de Dodô e Osmar with Caetano Veloso. In 1974, he was included in his father's Trio Elétrico, which was renamed Trio Elétrico de Armandinho, Dodô e Osmar. With Moraes Moreira as producer and singer, he recorded a series of LPs with the Trio Elétrico after 1975. In that year, he formed a group that accompanied Moreira, later being named A Cor Do Som, which performed internationally (in 1978 at the Montreux Festival, Switzerland, and in 1981 in New York, U.S.) and recorded several LPs with an innovative blend of choro, music from Bahia, and pop/rock. Based in early (around the '40s) prototypes designed by Dodô prior to the invention of the electric guitar, called the "pau elétrico," Armandinho designed the guitarra baiana, which is similar to an electrified cavaquinho. The guitarra baiana then became commercially produced by Dodô. In 1984, the Trio Elétrico performed in Rome, Italy, and, in the next year, in Toulouse, France. In 1986, they performed in France and Mexico and, in 1990, in Paris, France. In 1987, Armandinho shared a show with Raphael Rabello in Rio and, in the next year, played with Moraes Moreira in the U.S. In 1994, a live recorded show with A Cor do Som was awarded with the Prêmio Sharp (1996). In 1996, he also performed in the Jerusalem Music
Festival, Israel, and, with the Trio Elétrico in the Montreux Festival and Tübingen Festival (Germany). In 1997, he recorded an album with Raphael Rabello, Rafael Rabelo e Armandinho Em Concerto, and participated in the Free Jazz Festival (Brazil). In 2001, Armandinho performed in the Rock in Rio Festival with Pepeu Gomes. (excerpted from profile by Alvaro Neder in AMG)

Armandinho has been proclaimed by the Brazilian media as The King of Choro, The King of Mandolin, The King of Bahian Carnaval, and The Modern Jacob do Bandolim. His career has held a place in the history of Brazilian popular music as he bridged the gap between classical and popular music. Great mandolinist innovator, his music fuses the styles of Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, Waldir Azevedo, Radamés Gnatalli with the more recent artistry of Tom Jobim, Caetano Veloso, and Gilberto Gil, in addition to the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Ranked among the most important Brazilian instrumentalists in the Brazilian history, he has earned a place of honor alongside Pixinguinha, Hermeto Pascoal, Raphael Rabello, and Paulo Moura. (excerpt of profile on MySpace, learn more by clicking here

As an example of a performance by Armandinho I recommend listening to the shown cd with recordings from a live-performance in Rio de Jainero 2002. The music performed contains choro
classiscs in an updated version, appealing to a young audience of today used to attending rock'n'roll concerts. Learn more about the contents of the cd by clicking
I found a couple of live-performances on YouTube that shares the atmosphere of the mentioned
cd recordings. - Here's a performance by Armandinho and Yamandú Costa playing 'Apanhei-Te

Finally, from a TV-show, also featuring Yamandú Costa, here's a live-performance of Jacob do Bandolim's 'Assanhado'



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heres a site on the work of Armandinhos father Osmar Macedo, the inventor of the guitarra baiana and the trio eletrico:
Guitarra Baiana

09 January, 2009  

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