LGM Podcast Ep 1: Choro

Welcome to the first episode of the Latin Guitar Mastery Podcast. This podcast will feature short episodes on Latin Guitar styles, techniques, players and more.

I had a chat with guitarist Doug De Vries about what Brasilian choro music is. Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

Doug: Choro is a bit like jazz, it’s all-encompassing. It includes Samba and other Brasilian styles.

Sergio: What would be a good Choro to start with?

Doug: I got into it with the music of Baden Powell, he was the main driver for me to get into Brasilian music and Brasilian guitar. He had some choros. There’s one in Volume 1 (I think)of his transcriptions called Retraito Brasileiro. That’s a nice one, not so difficult to play and gives you a sense of the soulfulness of choro. On the other side of the coin, you get very bright, lively and virtuosic.

Sergio: So it can be fast or slow?

Doug: Its a very close cousin of Samba. It has to be understood too.

Sergio: Are there other choros from other South American countries like the Barrios ones from Paraguay.

Doug: They are very much him travelling through Brasil. He’s taken the maxixe and the choro and included it (in his repertoire.)

Sergio: Is there any other way of describing choro?

Doug: This is a forever difficult thing to do, like asking what is jazz to someone who doesn’t know. It’s an exploration of instrumental style for various instruments a bit like Baroque music, there’s a Barouque element to it. It also has this rhythmic attitude that’s closely related to Samba. So if you think of Baroque Samba, that’s not a bad way to tag it. They are often referred to as a mosaic. So you might have the Polka side of it, and the Maxixe. If you put those together it starts to sound like the Bandero rhythm, which you can’t do on one guitar so sometimes having multiple guitars is a good thing to get a nice texture rhythmically.