A Magical Moment
- Music of Brazil in Canada
It had been about a year and a half or so of almost dystopian isolation. As an introvert, for the most part, I’d been okay with this. I’d still jumped however, at the opportunity to race out of town, to the country and a secret concert.
Off I flew with my long-time musical compatriot, Michael Szamosi. We drove North of Toronto for just over an hour. As the city fell away, the number of trees increased rapidly. We turned left onto a gravel road and then right, and parked in the shadow of a giant wooden barn that rose over 100 feet into the sky. This was the venue. Vertical slats of wood, soared on all sides. Between each grey piece of wood, the bright blue summer evening sun beamed in. Magnificent.
A small stage faced about ten sparsely spaced chairs. Barn owners, Rochelle Rubinstein and Lani Shereck, sat a short distance away. They told me that not so long ago, this had been a working barn full of animals and had recently been thoroughly scrubbed clean. Within a few minutes, the band members took their places.
Tio Chorinho is Eric Stein, mandolin, Andre Valerio, 7-stringed guitar, Maninho Costa, percussion, Carlos Cardozo, cavaquinho, Milos Popovic, accordion and Flavia Nascimento on vocals and percussion.
“It’s the first time we’ve played for people in 18 months,” Eric told us.
Michael leaned over and said, “some call chorinho (‘little cry’ in Portuguese) the New Orleans jazz of Brazil.” Why? “A short song form, accessible melody and wicked improvisation by all parties,” he said succinctly.
The band played standards by the great Brazilian composers of the form, Pixinguinha, Ernesto Nazareth and Jacob do Bandolim, as well as new compositions by their guitarist, Andre.
The setting, the light, nature, fresh air, the sunlight through the walls of the barn and brilliant, brilliant music, was a short, countryside dream. And then it was over. The strains of the last song drifted through the air. Exuberance stayed in my mind, heart, body, as we drove down the gravel road that led from the farm, and took the highway back to the city.