WEEKEND: Brazilian choro to spice up Fort Worden’s stage Saturday

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Four Brazilian musicians will join Israeli jazz artist Anat Cohen for a night of choro, Brazil’s street music, at Fort Worden State Park’s Wheeler Theater this Saturday night.

Seats are $28 for this concert presented by Centrum, Port Townsend’s host of music, art and writing festivals throughout the year, so tickets are available via www.Centrum.org or 360-385-3102, ext. 117. They’re also on sale an hour before the 7:30 p.m. performance at the Wheeler Theater, just inside the Fort Worden campus at 200 Battery Way.

Choro, a blend of European melody and harmony, African rhythms and South American spice, is one of Brazil’s oldest traditional styles.

It will be practiced Saturday by five choro masters: mandolinist Dudu Maia; seven-string guitar virtuoso Douglas Lora; percussionist Alexandre Lora; pianist, accordionist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto and clarinetist Cohen.

Maia is known in Brazil for his reshaping of the choro tradition, and for his playing of the 10-string bandolim, Portuguese for mandolin.

Neto, meanwhile, brings this Brazilian sound to the Pacific Northwest as leader of the Seattle-based group Quinteto, as a teacher at Cornish College of the Arts, and as a collaborator with symphony orchestras and big bands. He is also a three-time Latin Grammy nominee.

“There is a wonderful bittersweet quality about [choro],” said Andy Connell, a music professor at James Madison University and choro expert.

“But if you dig deeper you find a kind of sadness, a longing that the Brazilians call saudade . . . gives the music its emotional power.”

Since the late 19th century, Connell notes, choro music has been a dazzling part of Brazilian nightlife.

“Rio de Janeiro burst with inspired choro musicians, and the musical arena was uniquely tolerant of the mixing of classes,” he said. “Slaves and freed slaves played alongside, and often surpassed, conservatory-trained musicians.”

For more about the choro concert and other Centrum events this spring and summer, see Centrum.org.

Last modified: May 01. 2014 6:22PM
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