|| Discography | Guitar Stories | Newspaper Reviews | Fan Feedback ||
Craig Einhorn: Choros (2004)
Choros is dedicated to two of my former classical guitar instructors, Jim Piorkowski (State University of New York, Fredonia) and Frank Koonce (Arizona State University), who taught me with their brilliant minds and open hearts. Choros is also dedicated to the memory of my close friend and guru, Eagle, who broke on through to the other side, for good this time, in May of 2004.
Thanks to Rebecca Oswald for being my fifth Beatle. If you enjoy Choros I will have to share the credit with Rebecca more than anyone else. She dove into this project with passion and made profound adjustments. She is the queen of tweak and a friend for life.
Thanks to Bob, Dick, Jeff and all the axe slingers at McKenzie River Music in Eugene, Oregon. Jeff called me when a McGill guitar wandered in and I pounced!
A choro (also known as chorinho) is a type of composition from Brazil. Non-Brazilians will undoubtedly find it hard to understand what a choro is. A down-and-dirty way for an American to get a feel for choro is to drink two beers rather quickly and sing "Give My Regards to Broadway." This American song is from the same time period and has the same rhythms. The beers will loosen up the rhythms and give it some Brazilian soul, but of course this is only a place to start. The choro has been considered urban popular music since its emergence in the late 19th century.
The choro developed out of the performance of European dance forms by Brazilians, including polka, valsa (waltz), mazurka, and others. Choro was performed by groups of musicians with various guitar-like instruments. Frequently the melody would be played on flute, and around 1900-1920 the bandolim (mandolin) was commonly used. Other times choro was performed as songs with singers. Musicians would gather for jam sessions called rodas de choro, or choro circles. The American ear will certainly perceive a similarity to ragtime, especially during the "C" section of the rondo-like form (AABACA). Both ragtime and choro developed at the same time, and involved the metamorphosis of the European dance forms. While solo rags are most suited to the piano solo choro is more suited to the guitar. In North and South America, slaves had a profound impact on music. The straight European rhythms were loosened and syncopated.
Choro means "to cry," and it is almost certainly the sentimental nature of the Brazilian style, adapted to European dance music that led to its name. Today the word "choro" has two meanings to a Brazilian, just as "rag" means two things to an American. As with ragtime composers, many choro composers could not read or write music, although Pernambuco is the only composer on this CD who did not read music. (So all of you aspiring guitarists, take the time to develop your reading skills!)
By the early twentieth century the choro had evolved into a work for solo guitar or sometimes piano, but it continued to be performed in groups. The solo guitar choro was the inspiration to create this CD. My contribution to the evolution of choro is adding the modern electric bass and various percussion instruments to nearly all the faster works, giving them a refreshing energy.
I owe much gratitude to my friend Edson Oliveira, an excellent musician originally from Brazil. For the past six years I have asked Edson many questions about Brazilian music. Shortly before the completion of Choros he met with Rebecca Oswald and me to translate (his own books from Brazil) and to enlighten us with a better understanding of the choro and the composers on this CD. This Choros CD is superior because of his generosity and passion for music.
Originally I planned to record Choros as set of solo guitar pieces. In the summer of 2004 Rebecca Urhausen hired me to perform at the Fiesta Latina in Springfield, Oregon, and she preferred that I assemble a group. I accepted the gig and hired a bassist and percussionist. After a couple of rehearsals with Ken Silverman (bass) and Kenny Sokoloff (percussion), we agreed these works should be recorded. Ken Silverman is busy as a professional pianist so I decided to play the bass parts myself on an electric bass. Kenny Sokoloff plays on two of the works on the CD. Later I hired two other percussionists to add stylistic variety.
Graúna was played with a Joshia de Jonge Guitar (www.joshiadejonge.com/classical.htm). All the other works were played with a Paul Daniel-McGill guitar (www.mcgillguitars.com).
Recording of Choros was done at my home. Thanks to Mike Carpenter for helping me transform a closet into mission control.
Don Ross Productions (www.donrossproductions.com): Mixing, mastering, laughing at my jokes and putting it all through the wringer. I have never encountered such an amazing engineer with seemingly effortless skill and perfect mixes.
When I was about to record the percussion on Milongueo del Ayer and Sons de Carrilhões, I had an unexpected houseguest for two days. My friend Jeanette Grittani was traveling through Eugene, Oregon on her way from Canada to Mexico. Jeanette is a great singer/songwriter who owned a sweet sounding medium size djembe. After recording with my own drum and not liking the sound, Jeanette placed her drum in my living room for me to discover. I quickly recorded with it and liked it. I asked Jeanette if she would let me borrow the drum and pick it up in a few months on her way back to Canada. The next morning she asked if I wanted to buy it. She was torn but sacrificed her drum for the sake of Choros. Thanks, Jeanette, you're a sweetie.
Joe Mross (www.josephmross.com): Cover art Mross is an accomplished metal smith and painter. He is a gringo who is fluent in Spanish which gives him a beneficial grasp on latin art and music. The red guitar symbolizes the fiery nature of Latin guitar music.
Glen Johnson (www.aperturephotographics.com): Cover and back art editing, back cover and disc photos. Special thanks to Jade Johnson for wailing on my electric bass and making me laugh. Soon he will be taller than the bass.
Craig Einhorn and Rebecca Oswald: arrangements, recording studio photos
Rebecca Oswald: producer
Graúna "Grauna Bird" (choro) by: João Pernambuco (1883-1947) Craig Einhorn: classical guitar, electric bass Joaquin Espinosa: congas, bongos Pernambuco was a guitarist from the Sertão region of Pernambuco. He left his native land with his guitar, one set of clothes, and his dreams, arriving in Rio de Janeiro at age twenty where he worked as a blacksmith. There, his fellow blacksmiths nicknamed him Pernambuco because he played music from that area. He was greatly admired by Villa-Lobos and Barrios, both of whom heard him play. He was unable to read words or music. Some scholars believe that Villa-Lobos notated Pernambuco's music. By age twenty-five he was considered one of the bambas do choro: one of the best choro artists. He is credited for bringing the rich music of Sertão south to Rio de Janeiro, where he performed on radio.
Dengoso "Overly Affectionate" (choro) by: João Pernambuco
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass
Jake Pegg: pandeiro, tamborim, ganzinho
Milonga in D minor by: Jorge Cardoso (1949- )
Cardoso is not only an Argentine composer and guitarist, he is also a surgeon. Cardoso taught himself popular and folk music of Latin America. His medical and musical backgrounds helped him develop a refined guitar technique. The milonga is the predecessor to the tango both in dance and music. The term is also used to mean the place where people go to dance the milonga or tango to this day. In 2003 I received an e-mail in broken English from Matias, a young Argentine. He had read a story entitled Recuerdos on my website about tremolo, a difficult guitar technique. He appreciated the advice in the story and wrote to thank me. I wrote back in Spanish and we corresponded for two months. During that time he sent me printed music and recordings of two works: the Milonga in D minor and La Primavera. The music he sent of La Primavera contained many wrong notes. After re-notating it with corrections, I mailed him the corrected music and a CD of me performing La Primavera in concert. I patiently awaited his response and he sent a wonderful e-mail of gratitude two weeks later.
Choro Tipico "Typical Choro" ACCENT OVER FIRST I IN TIPICO by: Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass, shakers
Joaquin Espinosa: bongos, African shaker, egg shaker
Villa-Lobos's father taught him cello as a young child using a viola. Between ages 18 and 25 he traveled around Brazil and beyond studying indigenous music, and later he utilized these themes in his compositions. Villa-Lobos's guitar choros were written early in his career, during these travels. He was serious about his music although he rejected the strictures of academia. He knew Pernambuco and participated in rodas de choro ???????????????? (choro circles) in his boarding house. He was a self-taught composer, master guitarist, and later, a great conductor and educator. Villa-Lobos developed a national elementary music education system in Brazil, and every Brazilian is familiar with his contributions to their culture.
Divagando (choro) ("Wondering") by: Domingos Semenzato (1908-1993)
Semenzato was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He was a good friend of the great Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa-Lima. Semenzato was from São Paulo where he had many private guitar students. A few weeks before the Choros CD was complete I heard my friend Ricardo Cardenas performing Divagando at the Eugene, Oregon Holiday Market. I asked him what piece it was. A couple of weeks later he visited and gave me the sheet music. After only practicing the piece a few times I recorded it the next day. For all you young aspiring guitarists, listen to Divagando with that in mind, and practice your reading! For all you crusty old guitarists who don't read yet, sorry, it's too late. Well, it's never too late, so get to work. This one is dedicated to my mother for forcing me to go to Hebrew school as a child. Avenu Shalom Alechem.
Chôrinho ("Little choro") by: Heitor Villa-Lobos
The diminutive title matches the playful inner voice that occurs at the opening of this piece and functions as its theme.
Sons de Carrilhões "The Sounds of Chimes" (choro-maxixe) by: João Pernambuco
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass, djembe drum, frog guiro Sounds of little bells.
A maxixe is a popularized Brazilian tango or polka that emerged in Rio de Janeiro prior to the twentieth century (not to be confused with the Argentine Tango). It is characterized by buoyant melodic lines supported by Afro-Brazilian influenced rhythms and syncopations. The guitar harmonics mimic chimes. Rebecca suggested I add harmonics on bass as well.
Tango #3 by: José Ferrer (1835-1916)
Ferrer was a Spanish composer and guitarist whose first teacher was his father, a lawyer and musician. In 1882 he moved to Paris and taught at several conservatories until he returned to Spain in 1892. This work has no right being on the Choros CD as it was written in Spain and is not a choro. However, the tango form is Argentine, and all the works that are not choros on this CD are from Argentina. It's a stretch, but musically it fits. I encourage you to dance tango to this one. If anyone knows where Ferrer's Tangos no. 1 and 2 are please let me know.
La Primavera "Spring" (milonga) by: Victor Velázquez (1931- )
Velásquez is an Argentine singer, guitarist, and composer. He wrote songs and guitar pieces, and performed them on radio and television in Buenos Aires. In 1961 traveled to Spain, where his recitals were well received.
Pó de Mico "Itching powder" (choro) João Pernambuco
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass Kenny Sokoloff, Moroccan clay drum
Pó de Mico literally means "powder of the laughing monkey" but what it means idiomatically is "itching powder". When a person is unfortunate enough to have itching powder tossed on them they scratch like a monkey. Thus this piece is high energy and syncopated.
Milongueo del Ayer ("Milonga of Yesterday") Abel Fleury (1903-1958)
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass, djembe drum, metal scraper, handclaps
Rebecca Oswald: handclaps
Fleury was a self-taught Argentine guitarist and composer. He only composed works for solo guitar based on the music of rural Argentina. Milongueo del Ayer is not only Fleury's best-known work, but it is also an example of his imitation of the folkloric musical dance form, the milonga, as played on guitar.
Valsa-choro, Waltz-choro (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
Valsa-choro is a good example of a European dance transformed into a choro.
Tico-tico no Fubá "Tico-tico Bird in the Cornmeal" (choro sapeca) Zequinha de Abreu (1880-1935)
Guitar arrangement by: Isaias Savio (1902-1977)
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass
Joaquin Espinosa: bongos, egg and hemp shakers
Abreu was a successful Brazilian songwriter in the 1950's. His song Tico-tico no Fubá ("Tico-tico Bird in the Cornmeal") was popularized by Carmen Miranda in the US as "Tico Tico." Miranda was the Brazilian singer who wore fruit on her head in old Hollywood films. Savio was a Uruguay-born guitarist who moved to Brazil in his youth, and ate up their music like a mango on Carmen Miranda's head. My friend Edson studied guitar with Savio. Sapeca refers to the rambunctious energy of a young child.
Quizas, Quizas, Quizas ("Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps") by: Osvaldo Farrés (1902-1985)
Craig Einhorn: guitar, electric bass
Kenny Sokoloff: long guiro, Moroccan clay drum
This piece is dedicated to my father and it is because of him I searched, found, and arranged it for guitar. It is a song from Cuba which was very popular in the 1950's and remains well known amongst the Latino culture. My father can sing the entire song in Spanish. In Acapulco, Mexico, my father once asked a Mariachi group to play it. As they played, and my father sang along, their eyes opened wider and wider with astonishment. Once hearing about this from my father my curiosity got the better of me. Farrés was one of the great Cuban romantic songwriters of the 1950's.
Danza Brasilera "Brazilian Dance" Jorge Morel (1931- )
Jake Pegg: pandeiro, rebolo, cuica, triangle, agogo
Morel is an Argentine guitarist who resides in New York City. He is an international performer who debuted in Carnegie Hall in 1961. His works are organized like classical music but have the energy of South American popular music. His Danza Brasilera is a bold samba for solo guitar, and the percussion I added brings out the fiery flavor even more.
Retrato Brasileiro "Brazilian Portrait" (choro) Baden Powell (1937-2000)
Powell was a child prodigy on classical guitar. He began performing popular Brazilian music professionally in his teens. He made the transformation to bossa nova in the 1960's and was admired by Jobim. Retrato Brasileiro is a heartbreakingly romantic choro and is a joy to play. But it's okay to cry-after all, it's a choro.
1 2 3 4 5