By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the music-rich culture of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, the genre of choro, often called chorinho (“little cry” or “little lament”), has been recognized with The National Choro Day (April 23rd), and this year will be celebrated with the opening of the Casa do Choro (House of Choro) on Rua da Carioca in Centro.
The holiday was established in 2000 in honor of the composer Alfredo da Rocha Vianna, known as Pixinguinha, who was born on this date in 1897. This year however, the celebration will not be held today (Thursday), because of St George’s Day, the state holiday in Rio de Janeiro.
On Saturday, April 25th and Sunday, April 26th, organizers have planned an outdoor festival and inauguration of the Casa do Choro, the first heritage center dedicated to the music genre in the city where it was created.
Choro is a Brazilian instrumental music genre which originated in the late 1800s in Rio de Janeiro. Yet it was the the early days of radio when bands performed live on the air (in the 1930s to 1940) that saw much of the mainstream success of choro.
The Casa do Choro resides in a townhouse in Centro built in 1902, with Moorish-inspired architecture that was in vogue at the time. The building, although listed by the State Institute of Cultural Heritage, was in ruins when granted by the government of Rio de Janeiro to the Institute Casa do Choro, responsible for implementing the cultural space.
The restoration had the financial support of R$3 million from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), Petrobras sponsorship and encouragement of the Rouanet Law. In the building there has been eight classrooms, a studio, a research center and an auditorium for concerts and lectures installed.
“The creation of space is, first of all, an attitude of respect toward the oldest and rich Brazilian instrumental music,” says the composer and cavaquinho Luciana Rabello, president of the Institute of the house crying. The executive committee also includes the composer, arranger and guitarist Mauricio Carrilho, the vice-presidency, the musicians also Jayme Vignoli, Paul Aragon and Pedro Aragon and the producer Cesar Carrilho.
Casa do Choro Institute has been responsible for more than 10,000 students so far. Currently, the institution maintains approximately 1,100 students enrolled in the workshops, promoted in the State of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio).
The opening at 11AM on Saturday (April 25th), marks the opening of the VI National Choro Festival, which will bring together free outdoor performances at Tiradentes Square, twenty groups, a total of 160 musicians from throughout Brazil. Among those who will be performing on Saturday and Sunday are the groups Galo Preto, Camerata Brasilis, Água de Moringa, Época de Ouro, Nó em Pingo D’água, Trio Madeira Brasil and Quarteto Maogani.