The Kennedy Center

DC Choro



Biography

DC Choro is a choro and forró band prominent in the Washington DC region, and brings the best in these Brazilian styles to a fan base that is predominantly Brazilian, but ever expanding. DC Choro plays at numerous venues in the DC area, including bars, restaurants, folk festivals and private parties. But the band's regular gig, and the one that anchors the scene, happens at the Grill From Ipanema, DC's best Brazilian restaurant, every other Sunday night. Every appearance begins with subtle but swinging renditions of traditional and new choro, and ends with rousing sets of forró, with patrons dancing, singing and clapping in the aisles.

Choro is a genre that emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the late 19th/early 20th century. Like ragtime, it features intricate melodies and counterpoint, a swinging rhythm, and rich harmony. Forró emerged later, in the Brazilian northeast, and is characterized by an accordion and bass drum dance rhythm. While these genres are often considered very different in the Brazilian context, they have a great deal of common territory--forró's repeating melodic phrases are often drawn directly from the choro tradition, then tweaked slightly to incorporate the influence of the arid hinterland's in Brazil's northeast. DC Choro brings keen musicianship, great energy and a sense of fun to both genres.

Three of DC Choro's members have PhDs in Brazilian music, ethnomusicology and cultural history, making DC Choro uniquely prepared to illuminate the rich background and subtle ingredients of the music it presents.

DC Choro was recently nominated for the prestigious Brazil International Press Award, in the category "Outstanding Brazilian Band Active in the USA." DC Choro is the first group from the Mid-Atlantic region to be nominated for this award.

Members:

Andy Connell: Clarinet, Saxophone. Andy Connell has played with luminaries like Hermeto Pascoal, Tom Jobim, and Paulo Moura. He has a PhD in ethnomusicology, and wrote his dissertation on the music of figures and groups like Hermeto Pascoal and Aquarela Carioca, who take a firm grounding in traditional music and push into experimental territory--something Connell does equally well as a reed player. Connell teaches music at James Madison University, and is also a member of Mike Marshall's Choro Famoso.

Richard Miller: Seven String Guitar. Richard Miller is a Brazilian-American guitar wizard, with a deep knowledge of Brazilian guitar history and mastery of its styles. He has a PhD in Musicology, wrote his dissertation on the Brazilian guitar, and teaches guitar and harmony at Catholic University. He is also a composer of some of the band's favorites.

Gigi Macaxeira: sanfona, vocals, percussion. Gigi Macaxeira is the band's foremost personality, always transmitting her infectious charm to the audience. She hails from João Pessoa, and brings the culture of the Brazilian Northeast to Washington DC in the way she sings, plays and charms the crowd.

Pablo do Cavaco: cavaco. Pablo do Cavaco has been playing cavaco for many years, and brings to his instrument a deep rhythmic affinity and an ability to ramp up the crowd's excitement. Pablo do Cavaco was a key figure in Los Angeles's choro scene before moving to DC and helping create a scene in his new city.

Jonas Durante: drums and percussion. Jonas Durante is a gifted drummer, able to shift effortlessly between styles, and to communicate rhythmically with his bandmates.

Bryan McCann: harmonica. Like Miller and Connell, McCann is a scholar of Brazilian music, and has studied the works of Brazilian harmonica greats like Mauricio Einhorn, Pablo Fagundes and Gabriel Grossi. He is adept at photocopying the sheet music.
DC Choro