Danilo Brito: Virtuoso of Brazilian Choro music

Brazilian mandolin player Danilo Brito.| Photo by Maria Camillo.

Featuring Brazilian Choro music, the Danilo Brito Trio will share their selection of songs from the genre, which contrasts minimal stringed arrangement with complex melody, counterpoint and improvisation.

The trio performs at the Kay Meek Centre March 16–17.

Choro, the centre of Brazilian music

Choro music has its roots in European Classical music, says Brazil-born Danilo Brito, specifically in polka around the 1870s. Choro shortly thereafter evolved to be more flexible and generally slower in tempo and, by incorporating native Brazilian and African influences, it eventually became an “authentic Brazilian genre.”

Brito, who plays the mandolin, says that Choro can be tied to many other musical genres in Brazil, but that it essentially represents a kind of “centre” of Brazilian music. He notes that a focus on Choro leads to understanding and skill in other Brazilian music genres.

“I also play the waltz, polka, schottische, Brazilian tango, samba, frevo, baião, etc. but those styles are, in a way, connected to the genre Choro,” says Brito. “Choro demands its interpreter have a lot of technique. It is said that a musician who plays Choro can play any kind of music.”

Choro translates roughly to “music that makes one cry.” This is fitting for a genre that seeks to blend upbeat energy with melancholy. Such energy lends itself to a complex yet passive form of composing.

“When I compose, it’s always an unexpected and never premeditated melody that comes to me. My arrangements ‘listen’ to what the music is asking of me,” says Brito.

Inspiration and aspiration

Many artists find a love for their craft at an early age, either in their teens, or maybe when they are a bit younger. For many musicians, it is a process of becoming familiar with music that is played around the house, or being inspired by songs that one finds for themselves to the point where they can start replicating them on their own.

But for Brito, musical performance has been a part of what is probably his entire conscious life.

“My father was an amateur musician, played the mandolin and cavaquinho and I listened to his old vinyl records from the day I was born. I started to play when I was three,” says Brito.

Quickly recognized as a kind of prodigy of the mandolin, by the age of nineteen he proved to be one of the best, winning the 7th annual VISA award in Brazil which landed him a deal for his second album. His first album was recorded when he was thirteen.

Despite his relatively quick career ascension, one thing Brito does have in common with other musicians is that he, his father and elder brother grew up listening to music around the house.

“My father and my big brother had a collection of vinyl albums, mainly of traditional instrumental Brazilian music. Every night we listened to this music,” says Brito.

For Brito, the music around the house had a clear influence and effect on him, as he has long since been mastering the instrumental Brazilian genre of Choro.

“I’ve studied many artists: Anacleto de Medeiros, Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, among others. They are among the pillars of Brazilian music,” says Brito. “They gave me several tools for my music, but I can tell that the results and intention of my music are unique, original and in accordance with my feelings.”

Whether its composing or performing, Brito continues to innovate and master Choro and the mandolin as he performs not only in Brazil, but around the world.

“The music has always been very spontaneous to me and it was never an obligation,” says Brito. “I can say that it will always be part of my life.”


For more information on the event, visitwww.kaymeekcentre.com.

For more on Danilo Brito, visit www.danilobrito.com.