An exploration of Brasil's much loved Choro music - a fusion of European dance melodies, African rhythms and Brasilian flourishes - which predates the Samba, showcased through the Trio Madeira Brasil: Marcello Goncalves and Ze Paulo Becker on guitar, with Ronaldo Souza on mandolin. The camera follows them on stage and at home in jam sessions. Additional interviews with well-known Samba and Bossa Nova artists like Zezé Gonzaga, Elza Soares and Guinga illustrate the reciprocal inspiration with Samba and Bossa Nova music. There is also a look into a Choro workshop with over 450 participants of all ages, illustrating the genuine improvisational Brazilian way to play Choro.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
At a post-screening Q&A of his previous music doco, Moro no Brasil, filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki (fellow filmmaker Aki's older brother) was asked why he hadn't included Choro music in the film. He said it was such a big subject, music in Brasil, he couldn't cover it all. The man offered to produce his film on Choro music - and did. Marco Foster had never produced a film before, but he saw it through (with some help) and they can all be proud of the result. Funnily enough, Kaurismäki first heard Choro music in his homeland, Finland, as a young boy in the 50s, the tune Tico-tico no Fubá. Little did he know it was Choro, nor that one day in Brasil, he'd make a film about it.
An easy going, music-driven essay on Choro (pronounced with a soft 'sh'), the film gets your hips swaying and the mood is infectious.
The complexity of Choro's origins in European, African and Brasilian musical styles creates a jazz-like structure, with lots of melodic content. The 7-string guitar used by one talented young exponent, creates a sensational variety of musical colours and the Trio Madeira Brasil demonstrates its versatility and class.
Review by Louise Keller:
Joyously life affirming, Brasileirinho explores the vital world of Choro, the name for what many consider to be Brazilian jazz. This engaging documentary looks at Choro in the context of its origins when it evolved from its European, African and Brazilian Indian influences. Not only do we meet local musicians in concert, but we hear them play on the tram, on the beach, in the street and in the most unlikely of places. Music is part of living. It is as natural as breathing. Musical virtuoso is the foundation, but heart is equally important.
The musicians talk about the music, the improvisations, the counterpoints. And of course there's the music. Soul and rhythm become one as the Trio Madeira Brasil, comprising three of Brazil's top musicians jam with guitar and mandolin. Nimble fingers dance on the fret board of the seven string guitar, while the rhythm and musicality of the notes infect us. Toes automatically tap to the beat and our emotions begin to soar. Uplifting but melancholy, complex yet simple, the music pulsates its way into our very essence. As well as guitars, there are tambourines, an acrylic clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and even a trombone whose sliding notes are echoed by a herd of cows in a paddock. Even the rooster contributes to the chorus with his cocorico/cock-a-doodle-do. Singers proffer tunes singing about a tin hut and a corn that thinks it's a person. Dance also provides its own form of expression.
Brasileirinho is more than a musical treat. It is a fascinating insight into the people of Brazil, their culture and way of life.
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CAST: Documentary with Teresa Cristina, Ademilde Fonseca, Zezé Gonzaga, Paulo Moura, Luciano Rabelo, Elza Soares and Trio Nadeira Brasil
PRODUCER: Marco Forster, Bruno Stroppina, Mika Kaurismäki
DIRECTOR: Mika Kaurismäki
SCRIPT: Marco Forster, Mika Kaurismäki
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jacques Cheuiche
EDITOR: Karen Harley
MUSIC: (musical direction) Marcello Goncalves
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sharmill
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: June 15, 2005; Melbourne: June 22, 2006