Few days ago, I met Cesar Garabini, Brazilian 7 string guitar player, well known as choro musician. Later in the afternoon, Grant Ziolkowski joined him on bandolim, performing several choros in a duet setting. Cesar explained me that ‘choro’ is the Portuguese word for ‘crying’ and the name refers to the immigrants longing for their land, after moving to Brazil. Generally, choro has a 3 parts form A,B,C, (presented as A,A- B,B,A- C,C- A). We can distinguish several sub-genres of choro, including:
- a straightforward choro where the melody is based on the subdivision of eight notes, miming the pandeiro rhythmical pattern (a tambourine with little plates around it)
- a more syncopated samba-choro, popularized by Jacob do Bandolim
- waltzes, very important part in choro tradition
- polka- choro
- a less known sub-genre of choro called schottische, coming from the immigrants from Scotland.
Few days after meeting Cesar and Grant, I went to listen them playing a choro session in a tiny, crowed bar. It was a Sunday afternoon and the group featured Cesar Garabini on 7 strings guitar, Grant Ziolkowski on bandolim, Eduardo Belo on double bass and Sergio Krakowski on pandeiro and reco- reco.
Today I met another great Brazilian musician. His name is Vitor Gonçalves and he is a pianist and accordion player. He played few choros for me and we also discussed some important musical aspects that can be related to choro and Chiquinha’s music as well. These include: pronunciation, feel, rhythmical interpretation and more.
Thanks to the conversation with Vitor I came to some conclusions:
- The score it doesn’t capture some vital aspects of the music.
- The score cannot be read ‘literally’. Many aspects need to be implied (including pronunciation, feel and rhythmical interpretation) for a ‘correct’ performance of the music.
- The score is a ‘canovaccio’ that often includes improvisation and it can be re- interpreted and modified according to the ensemble and the social contextualization (café versus theater performances.)
- A pianist with a classical background interprets Chiquinha’s music differently from a choro musician. This is what makes her music sound always fresh and open to a new interpretation.
Today I had a very interesting conversation with renowned pandeiro player Sergio Krakowski. He talked about the pandeiro instrument and its different usages throughout the history, including religious rituals. He also talked about the choro tradition, the differences between choro and samba and the ‘concept’ of groove, giving many examples and ways to approach it. Sergio also mentioned the development of his technique.