Rustic Melodies Survive a Long Trip

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Sunday November 11, 2012

From The New York Times

Rustic Melodies Survive a Long Trip:Gilberto Gil at Carnegie Hall in Voices of Latin America
By: John Pareles

A musicology lesson turned into a dance party when Gilberto Gil performed at Carnegie Hall on Thursday night. Mr. Gil, the great songwriter who was Brazil’s minister of culture from 2003 to 2008, has circled back to music that inspired him to become a musician: forró, the music of Brazil’s hardscrabble rural Northeast. Forró is dance music with its own family of peppy rhythms, most of them driven — like the Cajun music of Louisiana — by an accordion and a very busy triangle. (It is one of worldwide music culture’s deep mysteries why country laborers in hot climates choose fast, strenuous dancing on their few days off.)

Forró’s standard-bearer in Brazil was the singer and accordionist Luiz Gonzaga (1912-89), who made forró a nationwide phenomenon while singing about rural life and romance and acting the bumpkin. Mr. Gil’s set was interspersed with old Gonzaga songs.

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