Boston's own Choro Democrático is a seven-piece instrumental ensemble that performs choros, maxixes, and other Brazilian musical styles. Choro Democrático includes Luciana Araripe, mandolin; Adam Bahrami, cavaquinho; faculty flutist Fernando Brandão; Jason Davis, seven-string guitar; Keita Ogawa, pandeiro and percussion; and Tom Rohde, six-string guitar. Special guest: Evan Harlan, accordion.
Choro (pronounced 'shoh-roh) and maxixe ('mah-shee-sheh) were two of the first musical styles to evolve as truly and authentically Brazilian. Choro and maxixe originated in the late 1800s in Rio de Janeiro through the melding of Europeans dance forms (like the polka and waltz) and African lundus.
In its 130 years, choro has gone through many phases, but like jazz, it has never died. Today, it is one of the most important and rich genres for musicians learning the vocabulary of Brazilian instrumental music, and experienced a particularly strong and fertile period in the last 15 years.
The traditional choro ensemble is formed of one or more solo instruments (flute, mandolin, clarinet and saxophone being the most common), the cavaquinho (four-string soprano guitar), one or more guitars, and pandeiro (tambourine). The cavaquinho plays harmony and rhythm. The guitar also plays harmony, but central to its role are improvised bass lines that create counterpoint to the main melody. These bass lines are played by a six- or seven-string guitar; the latter is a typical instrument in the ensemble and takes the place of an acoustic bass. The pandeiro plays syncopated rhythmic patterns.
La Timbistica (the Berklee Latin Jazz All-Stars), a sextet and 11-piece powerhouse salsa band, started with six top scholarship students at the college from Puerto Rico, Israel, and the United States and coalesced around their love for the polyrhythms and joyful precision of the Latin jazz form. The group was named this year's Best College Jazz Band in Down Beat and was featured at the Monterey and Duke Ellington jazz festivals and the Berklee in Valencia project. The All-Stars are led by conguero Paulo Stagnaro and include timbalero Marcos Lopez, bassist Juan Maldonado, pianist Abraham Olivo, trumpeter Niv Toar, and flutist Enrique Trinidad.