What is Choro ?


Choro is a musical genre born in Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century from the mixture of elements of the European ballroom dances (as schottische, waltz, minuet, polka and the habanera) and influences of African rhythms (like Lundu and the Batuque). Choro is considered the first Brazilian urban popular music. In the beginning rather than a music genre it was an emotional way of playing a melody and a more syncopated way of interpreting any other music. It was only during the first decades of the 20th century that Choro has became an established and consolidated music genre.

There are several theories about the origin of the name “Choro”. For some musicologists the name comes from the melancholic sonority of the instruments and how they perform the melody that reminds a cry or lament (Choro means Cry or lament in Portuguese). Others say that the name has its origin in “choromeleiros” or “Chorumelas” (small orchestras from the colonial period). Other historians say that the origin of the name Choro comes from the term “xolo” (a kind of dance of the slaves).

The Chorões (those that play Choro) gather in small groups to play, the so called “regionais”. The basic Choro setting is one melodic instrument (like the flute, clarinet, saxophone, cavaco or mandolin), one harmonic instrument (such as the 7 or 6 strings guitar or piano) and a percussion instrument (usually the pandeiro). Some of the great musicians that developed and enriched Choro are: Chiquinha Gonzaga, Ernesto Nazareth, Joaquim da Silva Callado, Pixinguinha, Waldir de Azevedo, Jacob do Bandolim, Garoto e Radamés Gnatalli.


To know more… - First Choro School outside Brasil!