Choro: The Sweet Lament of Brazilian Music

Workshop: April 30-May 4, 2014
Concert: 7:30pm May 3, 2014


Fort Worden State Park
Faculty: Dudu Maia, Anat Cohen, Jovino Santos Neto, Douglas Lora and Alexandre Lora

choro-instructionOur popular Choro workshop is back, and better than ever. The 2014 faculty will again include the extraordinary clarinetist/saxophonist, Anat Cohen. Anat has been tearing up the jazz world for several years now, and people familiar with her work also know she loves to play Choro and has spent months in Brazil learning the nuances at their source. Master teacher and performer Jovino Santos Neto will return on accordion, piano and flute; and back by popular demand will be the members of Trio Brasileiro; Dudu Maia, mandolin; Douglas Lora, 7-string guitar; and Alexandre Lora, pandeiro/percussion. All are master teachers and outstanding performers who will show you first hand how much fun it is to play Choro.

The Brazilian musical style of Choro represents the coming together of European melodic and harmonic traditions with African rhythms and sensibilities. Emerging in Brazil in the middle of the nineteenth century, Choro is a cousin of jazz, with a sense of yearning that is often described as a “sweet lament.”

“I found the entire workshop a highlight. A very amazing, wonderful group of people.
Within 15 minutes of settling into our room we were playing tunes in the living room with
our new house mates.”  – 2013 participant

Many ethnomusicologists believe that the name Choro comes from the Portuguese verb chorar—that is, to weep or to cry. It often seems bright and happy on the surface, but if you dig deeper you’ll find a kind of sadness, a longing that Brazilians call saudade. Something about the combination of Portuguese and Italian influences resulted in melodies with a strong romantic feeling. When joined with its African influences, Choro has an irresistible groove and rhythmic momentum that is uniquely Brazilian.

class-choro-concertChoro is a great way for both jazz and classically oriented musicians to meet on common ground. There are written charts with lovely and lively melodies accessible to any competent player. There’s also room for improvisation, and in a vein that’s a great way for classical musicians to expand their skills in this. This workshop is limited to forty-five people and is open to strings, woodwinds, accordion/piano and hand percussion (rather than drum set). Some others are also accepted; call if you have a question about your instrument.

The workshop will focus on daily rehearsals and coaching combined with instrumental master classes, plus film and audio sessions of Choro innovators and masters. Participants attend group sessions as well as playing in ensembles.

Housing is in beautiful, large Victorian “officer’s houses” at Fort Worden State Park. Some of the most delightful moments of the weekend happen after dinner, when faculty and participants gather in the large living room and jam to their hearts’ content.

Participants will receive free admission to the May 3 performance in the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater.

Who should attend the workshop?

choro-classBoth classical and jazz musicians will feel comfortable in this workshop, and will enjoy expanding their skills through this style. You should be proficient on your instrument, i.e. comfortable with the mechanics of playing. There will be people of different backgrounds and abilities and we’ll be sure to match you up.

How do I register?

Register online.

What will the schedule be?

Wednesday, 4/30/14

  • 3:30 – 5:30pm Check-in, Centrum office
  • 6 – 7:00 Dinner
  • 7:00 – 9:30 First session
  • 9:30 Welcome reception

Thursday, 5/1/14

  • 8:00 – 9:00am Breakfast for those who registered for it
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Group session
  • 10:45 – 12:15 Ensemble rehearsals
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm Lunch
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Master Classes
  • 3:45 – 5:00 Ensemble rehearsals
  • 6:00 Dinner
  • Evening: Open for jamming

Friday, 5/2/14

  • 8:00 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Group session
  • 10:45 – 12:15 Ensemble rehearsals
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm Lunch
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Master Classes
  • 3:45 – 5:00 Ensemble rehearsals
  • 6:00 Dinner
  • Evening: Open for jamming

Saturday, 5/3/14

  • 8:00 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Ensemble Rehearsals
  • 10:45 – 12:15 Master Classes
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm Lunch
  • 2:00 – 4:00 Ensemble coaching
  • 5:30 Dinner
  • 7:30pm Concert by Faculty in Wheeler Theater

Sunday, 5/4/14

  • 8:00 – 9:00am Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 10:30 Final session, participant performances
  • 11:00 Checkout

What are the costs?

Tuition: $395
Room/board: $490