Winter 2020 Project: Brazil – Boêmia Terra

Good morning,

For the final video of my Winter 2020 Project I have chosen to celebrate a magnificent, very large country and one which I have a lot of love for; Brazil.

I have special memories of spending time in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro back in 2016, working with the Orquestra Sinfônica Jovem Municipal de São Paulo and Guri. I attempted some choro in a jazz/choro workshop when I was over there and was left both mesmerised and baffled! It has been lovely to revisit and explore further this gorgeous style of music.

Joining me for this music and helping to bring it alive, on the melodeon is Will Pound. Boêmia Terra has certainly succeeded in bringing cheer to us on gloomy winter days and I hope you enjoy it too!

I’d like to say a big thank you to Will as well for the loan of one of his microphones which has enabled me to make these videos sound quite a lot nicer than they would have done through a phone!

Many thanks to everyone who has been watching my videos over the last few weeks. I am so grateful for the kind comments and shares/likes and also for the motivation and focus this project has provided me with in these tricky times. I suppose since it will be winter for, oh I don’t know… another 4 months…?! I might be able to get away with posting a few more (the ones I didn’t get round to fitting in)! However I’ll be taking a break from the weekly video to focus on another musical project, which I look forward to sharing with you soon.

Take care and I wish you all a safe, peaceful and Happier 2021,

Px

Choro translates from Portuguese as ‘little cry’ or ‘lament’, yet the character of this Brazilian popular music genre is much more lively and happy than the name would suggest – with upbeat rhythms, virtuosity, improvisation and subtle modulations. Originating from Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, choro was often played by a trio consisting of flute, guitar and cavaquinho (a small Portuguese, four stringed instrument). It later developed to include mandolin, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.

The style of music was born out of European dance music (such as polka, schottische, waltz and mazurka) and African rhythms (like the lundu and batuque). Similarly to ragtime in the United States, tango in Argentina and habanera in Cuba, choro springs up as a result of influences of musical styles and rhythms coming from Europe and Africa. Several classical composers have taken inspiration for their works from choro, most famously Heitor Villa-Lobos and Darius Milhaud.

The Brazilian singer Aquiles Rique Reis describes choro as:

“…classical music played with bare feet and callus on the hands”

I think that sums up the style perfectly; this music has challenged me technically (with the melody on the violin) but has also required, in equal measure, an element of letting go in order to allow the music to sing and groove!

Boêmia Terra roughly translates as Bohemian Ground. It was composed by Irineu de Almeida, based on a maxixe and the arrangement Will and I have followed (adapted slightly to work on box and violin!) is by Mauricio Carrilho.

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