Choro emerged from the melting pot of 19th century Rio. It is a uniquely Brazilian fusion of European harmonic and melodic sensibility coupled with an Afro-Brazilian approach to rhythm. The result is a music that is virtuosic, full of joy, and deeply grooving. Nearly all great Brazilian instrumentalists have gravitated towards choro at some point in their careers, because mastery of the genre requires a musician to be not only technically skilled, but also highly emotionally expressive and communicative with others in an ensemble.
The history of choro is also deeply intertwined with that of samba; both found one of their most powerful exponents in the figure of Pixinguinha. In addition to being an incredibly prolific choro composer, Pixinguinha’s partnerships with Donga and João da Baiana in the early 20th century were some of the first known sambas.
From Pixinguinha through Jacob do Bandolim to Paulinho da Viola, the interplay between choro and samba has persisted until the present day. And composers from other parts of Brazil–particularly the Northeast–have brought other influences into the language of choro. Consequently, the contemporary choro repertoire is much more diverse than the initial sub-genres–maxixe, polca, valsa, tango brasileiro–and now includes a cross-section of styles from all over Brazil. Learning and engaging with this living, breathing body of music is a lifelong pursuit!