Registration for 2014 Choro is Now Open


This post refers to an event in the past. Please visit the Centrum homepage for links to current workshops and performances.


Explore the interplay between European melodic and harmonic traditions and African rhythms and sensibilities at Choro: The Sweet Lament of Brazilian Music, April 30-May 4, 2014. The popular Centrum workshop brings together musicians from Brazil and America for a long weekend of jamming and camaraderie at Fort Worden State Park.

We are excited to welcome back to the 2014 faculty 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 BrasileiroDudu Maia, mandolin; Douglas Lora, 7-string guitar; and Alexandre Lora, pandeiro/percussion.

Choro is immensely enjoyable to play. In fact, after playing at Centrum together for the first time in 2013, Anat and the rest of the faculty went on to perform a number of gigs together in 2013. These are great teachers who communicate the essence of Choro – we know you’ll have a great time.

So what is Choro? It’s a Brazilian musical style that 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.” 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.

The workshop is popular with both jazz and classical musicians, as well as traditional roots players. 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.

We hope you can join us in 2014 – the workshop is limited to 45 participants – so be sure to register before it fills up.