Tonight, I saw a musical documentary on choro music, something I had briefly read about here and there but never really had any true exposure to. I can say I have an appreciation for it now thanks to Brasileirinho, as the documentary is titled. Here’s the description from the official site…
“Brasileirinho is a 90-min musical documentary film about Choro, the first genuinely Brazilian urban music. It was back in the late 19th century in Rio de Janeiro when Brazilian musicians started to blend European melodies, Afro-Brazilian rhythms and the melancholic interpretation of the Brazilian Indians’ music to create Choro. Choro is credited as being the first musical expression of Brazil’s melting pot and had a prominent place in the development of Brazil’s cultural identity. Choro remained a major popular music style until the 1920s, leading directly into Samba and later to Bossa Nova. After a slight decline in popularity, Choro music has made a remarkable comeback over the past few decades.
The film remembers the history but shows, above all, a colorful picture of Choro’s vitality today. The guiding line of the film is the combo “Trio Madeira Brasil” composed of three of Brazil’s outstanding Choro musicians. During a “Roda de Choro”, a traditional Brazilian kind of private jam session, the Trio brings up a concert project. During these sessions or at their homes, some of the most interesting Choro musicians play and remember key events in the history of this Brazilian urban music. A look into a Choro workshop with over 450 participants of all ages illustrates the off-hand genuine Brazilian way to play. “Playing” interviews with well-known Samba and Bossa Nova artists like Zezé Gonzaga, Elza Soares and Guinga illustrate the reciprocal inspiration with Samba and Bossa Nova music. A final show of the “Trio Madeira Brasil” with their guests in one of Rio’s traditional music halls show once more the opulence of rhythms and melodies in Choro that has evolved over the past 130 years into a fascinating form of modern tropical sound.”
On the official site, there’s an interview with the filmmaker, Mika Kaurismäki where he talks about how he came up with the idea for the documentary. It turns out he is also behind another great Brazilian musical documentary.
“Question. When and how did you get the idea for the film? Can you remember when you heard Choro for the first time?
MK: I had made another documentary about Brazilian music, “Moro no Brasil” before this one. It happened that I was in Lausanne, Switzerland, I think it was in May 2003 at the Swiss premiere of “Moro no Brasil” and, after the film, there was this Q&A session. One gentleman – obviously a Choro fan – asked me why I didn’t have Choro in my film. I tried to explain that there is so much music in Brazil that it was impossible to include everything in one film. I said that I liked Choro very much, but “Moro no Brasil” was more about samba and that Choro deserved a film of its own. The gentleman said that he’d produce that film. And that was what actually happened; Marco Forster, who had never produced a film before, kept his word and we started to develop the film.”