By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Festivals throughout Rio de Janeiro will commemorate Dia Nacional do Forró (National Forró Day) today, Saturday, December 13th with City Hall sponsoring the main free celebration which will include over a dozen bands performing the best of the forró musical genre live in Praça Tiradentes, in Centro (Downtown).
December 13th was officially established by Brazilian Federal Law as National Forró Day in 2005 by then President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The date of the 13th was chosen in honor of famous Brazilian musician Luiz Gonzaga’s birthday.
Gonzaga was born in an rural area of Pernambuco, a Northeast state in Brazil, on December 13, 1912 and became major figure in Brazilian musical culture. He rose to fame as a singer-songwriter, accordionist, and poet who helped spread the popularity of Northeastern Brazil’s sounds throughout the country.
He was so well known and loved that samba school Unidos da Tijuca’s theme paying homage to Gonzaga on what would have been the year of his 100th birthday, helped to win the school the 2012 Carnival championship. Brazilian director Breno Silveira’s film “Gonzaga – Father to Son,” about Gonzaga and his son Gonzaguinha opened the 2012 Rio International Film Festival, Festival do Rio.
Known as “King of Baião,” baião being a sub-genre of forró, Gonzaga helped define and popularize forró, also known as forró pé de serra, throughout the country. The songs of the genre are typically produced by trios of musicians playing melodies and syncopated rhythms with accordions, triangles and zabumbas, double-headed bass drums.
The genre is closely associated with the very popular Festas Juninas (June Parties) that take place throughout the country yearly, following the rainy season. In Rio de Janeiro, the main celebration of National Forró Day began six years ago and 2011 the party officially moved to Praça Tiradentes in Centro, where it has taken place since.
This Saturday, beginning at 2PM, the party will include bands, Estopim, Sapoti, Trio Rapacuia, Mala e Cuia, Trio Remelexo, Chico Sales and Zé Calixto, Geraldo Junior of Terreirada Cearense, Trio Nordestino, Trio Pé de Serra, Trio Juazeiro Fidélis do Acordeon,and Mariana Mello perfomring live. Additionally, DJs Xeleléu, Sérgio Feijó, Messias, Darvyn Orlan, Edu Rio and Edu Thepoint will spin.
What: Dia Nacional do Forró (National Forró Day) Celebration in Rio, 6th Edition.
When: Saturday, December 13th, 2PM.