This post refers to our 2010 Choro program. Stay tuned for information on our 2011 Choro offering.
Before there was bossa nova, there was choro, a uniquely Brazilian form of high-energy improvisational music that blended European and African traditions.
And on Saturday, April 24, 2010, for only the second time in its 38-year history, Centrum will present the music of choro at the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater, featuring Mike Marshall and Choro Famoso. (And, to whet your appetite, we've got great videos, below!)
Choro Famoso consists of Andy Connell on clarinet and saxophone, Colin Walker on the 7-string guitar, and Brian Rice on percussion.
Tickets are available online, as well as at the door beginning an hour prior to the 7:30 start time.
By the late nineteenth century, choro music was dazzling Brazilian nightlife, says noted clarinetist and ethnomusicologist Connell.
“Rio de Janeiro burst with inspired choro musicians, and the musical arena was uniquely tolerant of the mixing of classes,” he says. “Slaves and freed slaves played alongside, and often surpassed, conservatory-trained musicians.”
Between the 1870s and the 1920s (when North American jazz greats like Louis Armstrong played with choro musicians), makeshift choro bands worked the all-night party circuit and were paid in food and drink, moving from place to place as wanted or needed.
“This is the sound!” Mike Marshall said he thought when he first heard choro music. “I knew about samba and bossa nova, but to go to Brazil and discover this whole genre was just mind-blowing.”
Mike Marshall is known as one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians—a master of mandolin, guitar, and violin. Able to swing from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin styles, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an inspirational blend of intellect and emotion.
Andy Connell has played in ensembles ranging from jazz to classical to Brazilian music. In addition to his work as a performer, Connell is an ethnomusicologist whose primary research focuses on issues of musical identity and globalization in Brazilian popular instrumental music. He is currently an assistant professor of music at James Madison University in Virginia, working on a book about Brazilian jazz.
Specializing in the seven-string guitar, Colin Walker has studied both in Brazil and in the U.S. with Mauricio Carrilho, Arnaldino do Cavaco and João Junqueira, among others. Building on a close study of samba and choro masters, he has developed a nuanced accompaniment style reflecting his diverse stylistic background.
Brian Rice is a much-sought-after percussionist for his wealth of experience and skill in a multitude of styles. He is the founder of Samba Seattle, a ninety-member escola de samba, and has played everything from Brazilian, Cuban, and Middle Eastern music to jazz, klezmer and Celtic. In 2003, Rice traveled to Brazil to study with renowned pandeiro player Marcos Susano.