Friday, November 28, 2008

'Edinho no choro'

Recently I was pointed to a recording that seems to be a pioneer recording of the electric guitar used in choro. I got curious and searched the online discoteque at Instituo Moreira Salles hoping to find the recording there and having the possibility of listening to it. I was lucky, I found the record searching the title stated in headline above. If you are unfamilar with the search facility at Instituto Moreira Salles, you have the possibility to listen to 'Edinho no choro' by clicking here or headline - the musicplayer available at Instituto Moreira Salles opens in a new window and then you can listen to the streaming audio after it has loaded.

'Edinho no choro' was released on a Continental 78 rpm in 1945 (Continental, 15.337) and it is performed by Pereira Filho playing the electric guitar accompanied by his Conjunto. Comparing the recording with recordings of the electric guitar from the same time made in the USA or Europe the sound of the instrument is rough and distorted in certain sequences caused by problems with an adequate volume control during recording, anyway, a lot of early recordings of the electric guitar suffer from the same problem, refining of pick-ups at the guitar, amplifiers and recording equipment had to wait another decade to be solved sufficiently. Never mind, the recording of 'Edinho no choro' is a valuable historical document of the electric guitar used in choro, especially considering the fact that choro traditionally has been performed using acoustic instruments only. Of course, there are other early examples of an electric instrument used in choro - i.e. Garoto (Anibal Augusto Sardinha) made recordings of choro and related music 1943 playing the electric lap steel guitar accompanied by pianist Carolina Cardoso de Menezes (- like in the USA the electric lap steel guitar seems to have been the first electric string instrument used in Brazil).

No photo and not much info available on the main performer of 'Edinho no choro', however, here is an English summary of the profile in Dictonário Cravo Albin - the main source in Portuguese about Brazilian MPB artists.

Pereira Filho (João Pereira Filho) (1914-1986) was born in Rio de Jaineiro as a son of a professor of the violão, João Pereira. Already as a kid of 4 years of age he started playing the cavaquinho and he had bandolim lessons with his father even before he could read. While at primary school he formed small conjuntos with his school mates and performed at private parties, soon deciding to study the violão as his main instrument. At 11 years of age he participated in a festival promoted by Istituto Nacional de Música and soon after he was featured in a spectacle at Teatro Lírico, "Reisados e cheganças", promoted by the city Hall of the City of Rio de Janeiro. He composed his first piece for solo violão,"Variações sobre cateretê", in 1929, and in 1930 he became a member of Orquestra de Napoleão Tavares. In 1932, he joined Orquestra de Ioiô, where he stayed as a member the following eight years. In 1933, he recorded his first solo record for Victor of his own compositions, "Jongo africano" and the waltz "Áurea". In 1936, he recorded "Variações sobre cateretê" for Victor, and in 1937 he recorded the samba canção, "Tua partida", together with Mário Morais and vocal by Francisco Alves, also for Victor. - In 1941, Pereira Filho formed his own Conjunto. In 1944, he accompanied singers Dircinha Batista and Déo in two recordings, and in 1945 he recorded "Edinho no choro" for Continental. In 1951, Pereira Filho e seu Conjunto accompanied Pedro Raimundo in five recordings for the Todamérica label, and in 1953 Pereira Filho recorded his own "Conversa fiada" and "Serenata havaiana" for Todamérica. Accompanied by his Conjunto he also recorded the bolero "Garoa" and the dobrado "Borba gato" for Continental the same year. In 1959, Pereira Filho recorded his own "Noite sem rumo" for Todamérica, which seems to be his last solo recording.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This week my friend, Hans - co-editor and supervisor of this blog - is celebrating that his keepswinging-blogspot has reached the magical number of 1000 entries since its start in February 2006. An amazing effort considering the fact that he has been posting always well researched and engaging posts on a daily basis about music and other passions that keep him swinging and have attracted readers from all over the world to visit his blog regularly. I congratulate you, dear Hans, with the blogentry no 1000 that has been published today, and I sincerely want to encourage readers of the choro-music blogspot also to pay your keepswinging blog a visit - a list of all posted subjects is to be found by clicking here

Had it not been for my friendship with this remarkable man and blogger extraordinaire, this blogspot devoted to the Brazilian choro music probably would not have been published in this part of the world, I guess. It was Hans' idea to make a blog about choro music, which he loves just as much as I do, following an unstopable enthusiasm for new inputs regarding swinging affairs. By coincidence I happend to be the person, who had the pleasure of introducing Hans to the subject, but had it not been for his encouragement and belief in my limited knowledge and ability, I had not dared to join in and write about a culture I only know of as an outside spectator, inspecting my own reactions from meetings with a musical universe of joy and passion, an authentic culture almost unknown in the Western part of the world dominated by American culture. Thank you, Hans, for your back-up and for the passion we are sharing here regarding choro music!
Last week I received the shown cd, "The Best of Ernesto Nazareth", just released by, a sample-cd promoting the project of spreading knowledge about choro music by publishing written scores and enclosed recorded music to be used by musicians interested in getting started with playing choro. I have mentioned the project by earlier, an excellent effort encouraging serious musicians to get involved with choro taking advantage of the written music and the play-along cds accompanying the sheet. If you are a musician interested in choro, this is a fairly good way to engage into choro by using the music-minus-one (- you're the soloist) method, I recommend a visit at the website of to learn more about the project and music already published, click logo below

The shown cd should be available from shortly, I had my copy sent from their division in São Paulo, Brazil (- thanks a lot to Isabella Leite for manufacturing my request and to Daniel Dalarossa, president of, for directing me a free copy) - the cd is being released both in Brazil and the USA at the same time. Even though you are not a musician, this cd is worth your money, the music and arrangement of 16 compositions by Ernesto Nazareth, Rei do Choro are just excellent and well performed by a team of skilled musicians. Among featured soloists are Daniela Spielmann (soprano & tenor sax), Izaís do Bandolim & Milton Mori (bandolim), Nailor Proveta & Luca Raele (clarinet), Daniel Allain, Daniel Dalarossa & Toninho Carrasqueira (flute). The soloists are accompanied by a regional featuring Arnaldinho do Cavaco (cavaquinho), Edmilson Capelupi (violão de 7 cordas), Lula Gama (violão) and Betinho Sodré (pandeiro). The recorded compositions by Nazareth include famous pieces like 'Ameno Resedá', 'Apanhei-te Cavaquinho', 'Brejeiro', 'Odeon', 'Escorregando' and 'Batuque' - all composed for the piano, but here arranged for choro ensemble from the original scores. Moreover, two unpublished compositions by Nazareth, 'Zizinha' (1889) and 'Ideal' (1905) are also included - both very well arranged and performed like the rest.
To end this, I insert a couple of videos celebrating some of Nazareth's most popular pieces - here is a solo guitar version of 'Odeon'

Finally, here is Marco de Pinno Quarteto from a live-performance playing 'Apanhei-te cavaquinho'


Friday, November 14, 2008

Saudade que passa

Choro, samba and other popular genres of Brazil often seem to be categorized as 'Latin', when you browse through career profiles of artists in various sources available at the web or in short articles in printed books designated to give an overview of the musical background of a certain artist. This procedure seems to be the norm regarding musicians having their main career in jazz or popular music in the USA, however, the word 'Latin' does not state the tradition of the various musical sources supposed to be contained in the concept - in short, the 'Latin'-concept is unclear and without a precise meaning, making the word easy to use by journalistst and writers appealing to a public more interested in the colour of the underwear of the artist than the musical background. I was reminded of this, when I recently tried to look up information in English about the early career of Laurindo Almeida (1917-1995), the well-known Brazilian guitarist having his main career in the USA. In the general public, Almeida is known as a 'Latin' guitar player, who had his breakthrough in the States late 1940s as a member of Stan Kenton's big band, later in the 1950s he would be the first to inspire jazzmusicans to be interested in Brazilian music styles through a co-operation with Bud Shank, with whom Almeida made some now famous recordings in 1951, introducing 'jazz samba' to an American public. When Almeida moved permanently to the USA mid-1950s, his career spanned both jazz, classical and popular music - his work as a composer, arranger and guitarist is impressive, he made more than 800 compositions and participated in a great number of recordings - info about this chapter of his career is easily found in articles written in English. Anyway, here I like to put some focus on his early career in Brazil by pointing to his first solo recording, made 1938.

Laurindo de Almeida was born 1917 in a small town in the state of São Paulo as a member of a large musical family. His father held an occupation as a railroad worker, but spent his leisure time as an amateur musician participating in serestas (- in English: serenade sessions). His mother was an amateur pianist, who taught Laurindo the basics of music, and a sister taught him to play the violão in secret, an instrument he was attracted to already as a kid. At the age of 12 he would accompany his father and brothers in the serestas, by 15 he moved to São Paulo to find his fortune as a musician and to take part in the political riots of the city. In 1932, he met and got aquainted with Garoto while staying at a hospital, and they would later become partners, when Laurindo moved to Rio de Jainero and in 1936 joined as a staff musician at Rádio Mayrink Veiga. Garoto and Laurindo worked together as studio musicians accompanying various popular artist of the time, i.e. Carmen Miranda, and they also recorded together as a duo accompanying other vocalists and instrumentalists.

Together with guitarist Gastão Bueno Lobo and Garoto Laurindo had success with programs at Rádio Mayrink Veiga performing as Conjunto Hawaiano for some time, displaying a string ensemble influenced by the Hawaiian way of playing the (slide) guitar, probably inspired by the experience of Gastão Lobo, who had had success playing the Hawaiian slide guitar with Oscar Alemán in Argentina and Europe some years earlier. In 1938, Laurindo and Gastão had a co-work as composers of the choro 'Inspiracão', which was recorded for Odeon on a 78 rpm with Gastão playing the lead on Hawaiian guitar accompanied by Laurindo on violão and Tute, violão 7 cordas. The flip-side of this record (Odeon, 11649) contains the first recorded solo by Laurindo Almeida under his own name of his composition 'Saudade que passa', a waltz that reflects the tradition of choro as the musical background of Laurindo Almeida. - Listen to 'Saudade que passa' by clicking here

Friday, November 07, 2008

Regional do Canhoto

The evolution of choro into a musical genre as we know it today owes a lot to the 1930s and 1940s house bands of the Brazilian national and regional radio networks, the various Conjuntos Regionais, that helped shaping and spreading the concept of the genre through countless live broadcasts and recordings of popular music of the time, including choro. Some of the Conjuntos Regionais raised to national fame, one of them being the Regional of flutist Benedito Lacerda that had Pixinguinha as a member and co-leader for some time during the 1940s, now famous in the story of choro for the recordings made for Victor 1946-1950 featuring Lacerda as soloist on flute and Pixinguinha providing exceptional accompaniment on saxophone besides being the composer and arranger of several immortal pieces recorded by this group.

However, when Lacerda left the group around 1950 after the successfull co-work with Pixinguinha, the leadership was taken over by the group's left-handed cavaquinho player, Waldiro Frederico Tramontano known as Canhoto (1908-1986). The group began their professional activities in 1951, accompanying great artists at Rádio Mayrink Veiga and recording for Victor. The members of Regional do Canhoto included, besides the leader on cavaquinho: violonistas Dino and Meira, flutist Altamiro Carrilho, accordionist Orlando Silveira, and pandeirista Gilson de Freitas (see picture above). The Regional do Canhoto was the first regional to record written scores, which were produced by Radamés Gnattali a.o., and the group had success through several recordings that covered a vast repertory of popular music of the time. One of the hits by the group was a piece titled "Gingando", composed as a co-work between Dino and Canhoto - you have the opportunity to listen to this by clicking here

In 1957, flutist Altamiro Carrilho left the regional to form his own Bandinha de Altamiro Carrilho, being replaced first by Arthur Ataíde, soon substituted by Carlos Poyares. They continued to play at Rádio Mayrink Veiga until the early '60s, when the radio station was closed and the group dissolved. Canhoto continued to be a highly requested cavaquinho player during the '70s.

During the 1950s the Regional do Canhoto was concidered the model par excellence of a Regional, and today the group may be remembered for the co-work with Jacob do Bandolim, who used Regional do Canhoto as studio accompaniment in recordings made 1951-1961. This co-operation led to several successfull and now famous recordings, one of the first being the choro "Doce de coco". Listen to Jacob do Bandolim playing "Doce de coco" accompanied by Regional do Canhoto, click here