Accepted Papers:

Brazilian "Choro" Music: An African Hybridization  


Maurita Murphy Marx (University of Iowa)

Paper Short Abstract:

The Brazilian "choro" is the national music of Brazil. It developed in the city parks of Rio de Janeiro during the 1800s.. The music is a hybridization of African-based rhythms and European musical forms. The origin included the purchase of Western African slaves for Brazilian rice plantations.

Paper long abstract:

The Brazilian "choro" is the national music of Brazil. It is a hybridization of African rhythms and European forms. Rice plantation owners from Brazil bought slaves from western Africa, and taught them how to play guitar. The owners would pride themselves on having the best "slave bands". Upon learning of the slave owners' trips to the big cities to invest their fortunes, the slaves, in turn, started migrating to the big cities for better jobs. It is in Rio de Janeiro where the "choro" music began to take root in the 1800s. The music and musicians traversed from the plantations to the cities and through upper and lower class societies.

Due to the development of a mixed-race society in Brazil, those of African descent suffered more discrimination. Perhaps the most significant composer and musician, Pixinguinha, was an African-Brazilian. He and his group, the Oito Batutas, suffered discrimination just to play their native music for their fellow countrymen. In fact, they were fighting to promote their future national music style, one that was truly Brazilian, and that also included the hybridization of their African rhythmical roots. In the year 2000, Brazilian President Cardosa proclaimed April 23 (Pixinguinha's birthday) as the National Day of Choro.

This presentation will include a powerpoint presentation and one compact disc selection of this author, performing a significant "choro" along with guitar.

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