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Rogério Souza (guitar), Edinho Gerber (guitar), Ami Molinelli (percussion) survey the history and evolution of the genre of choro, revealing its rhythmic and harmonic permutations. In the process, they create a performance that is coherent in timbre and vision while marvelously varied in its nuances.

In Duo Violão’s choro music, you will hear over 150 years of music history, beginning with influences from rhythmic styles such as the tango-habanera, all the way to the bossa nova and samba.




What is choro music? From its inception, the instrumental music that emerged in the cafés and house parties of downtown Rio de Janeiro brought musicians of both African and European ancestry together, and these musical venues became a space of vibrant cultural fermentation in a city still defined by brutal exploitation of slave labor. (Brazil did not abolish slavery until 1888.) The music they created would eventually become known as choro.



The tango-habanera is based on the rhythmic form that came out of Havana in the second half of the nineteenth century - to change the world. The habanera rhythmic form (which can be expressed as a 123-123-12 count across two measures) is the bedrock of several Afro-Atlantic genres that came out of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Its influence includes Cuban son and rumba, Argentine tango, Brazilian maxixe, lundu and choro, as well as strongly shaping U.S. ragtime, jazz, and ultimately the genre of rock and roll.



This music evolved from several composers. One of these was Chiquinha Gonzaga, who is a legend in Brazil for being a pioneer. She was the first professional female musician, the first female conductor, the first choro pianist, and composed the first carnaval marchinha with lyrics. Gonzaga also composed and performed for the variety shows that characterized popular theater in the late nineteenth century. She was best known for writing maxixes (although usually under the less “suggestive” moniker, tango brasileiro). Another was the great Pixinguinha, Alfredo da Rocha Viana, Jr., who emerged as a flautist in the early 1910s, and even as a teenager began composing short pieces that would re-shape choro and define it for decades. Pixinguinha’s unforgettable melodies and his inventive counterpoint made the genre more ambitious and capacious. Jacob do Bandolim was one of the first composers to explore combinations of choro and samba, and Radamés Gnattali bridged the worlds of classical and popular music. The legacies of these composers continue to shape generations of composers and musicians to this day.

Choro Novo

Rogério Souza, long known as a contemporary arranger, producer, and master of the seven-string guitar (violão) in choro and samba, has performed with the best musicians in Brazil and also is instrumental for a contemporary style of choro, “choro novo” with his Brazilian “grammy” or “premio” award winning “No Em Pinga d’Agua.” His compositions take choro from the twentieth century into the twenty-first.

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