“O CHORO DE PIXINGUINHA”
(*) Ewa Procter
I wish to start this article by saying that musicals are and will always be musicals! It does not matter how old you are, providing you are young at heart, and that you do enjoy this kind of entertainment. And following this line, I wish to tell you about a wonderful experience I had the other day.
Although basically geared for the younger audiences, I want to say that “O Choro de Pixinguinha”, the theme of this article, is a must for any one who likes the “choro”, a very Brazilian music, enjoyed internationally by all ages.
Even if I do not have very young members in my family, I went to see this play with a friend of mine – and he also does not have any very young members in his own family! And we both thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this play. The afternoon we went to theatre, there were people of all ages in the audience, including senior citizens on their own, couples with very young children, grandparents with their grandchildren, and so on. Frankly, before going in I was a bit concerned if there would be enough attention on the part of the young audience, but soon I realized that I had no reason to worry. The children were paying attention, laughing and participating – and the grown-ups were enjoying the show all the time.
Maybe you do not know who Pixinguinha was. I will give you a very brief summary about him. Pixinguinha was a child prodigy. At the age of 12, he was already playing the “cavaquinho” (a small guitar); at 13 the bombardon and the flute. When he became older, he exchanged the flute for the saxophone. At 17 he recorded his first instrumentations, and at 18 his first musical works, nothing less than the famous “Rosa” and “Sofres Porque Queres”.
In 2018, Pixinguinha would have been 121 years old! One could say that he is the “father” of Brazilian music. Conductor, composer, and player, he created what is today the bases of Brazilian popular music. He mixed the music of Ernesto Nazareth, Chiquinha Gonzaga and the compositions of the first “choro” musicians with African rhythms, also using the European styles and the North American black music. This mixture brought us a genuinely Brazilian style.
Now to the story of the musical itself: Marilú and Bianca, school classmates, are concerned about their work for the music lesson; their theme is, no more no less than… Pixinguinha! Very interested in their studies, they are not too happy about presenting just a written paper or a poster. So, they call their friends Júnior, Beto and Lucinha to help them stage a “play” on that wonderful musician, Pixinguinha. From then on, the kids research the stories and the sounds of Moleque Pizindin. By the way, this was the nickname Pixinguinha’s African grandmother gave him in her own language, meaning “good boy”!
So, then the “show” about Pixinguinha, written by the “children” appears in front of the audience, presenting stories, music and compositions by this great artist. This way, through the children’s eyes, many aspects of the life and music of Pixinguinha are presented, in a way to raise the curiosity and the interest about this great master to the young audience. By the way, the “Chorinho” – to which Pixinguinha dedicated a major part of his vast repertoire -, has a special prominence. But there are many songs in this musical, all played live: a total of twenty-three, mostly by Pixinguinha himself, and some co-authored by other professional players.
The cast of five include Ana Velloso, Vera Novello, Patrícia Costa, Édio Nunes and Milton Filho, under the direction of Sérgio Módena. Ana
Velloso and Vera Novello are also the co-writers of the play, as well as the producers, under their very well-known and winner of many theatre awards, Lúdico Produções. The band has five musicians, André Rente (guitar), André Vercelino (percussion), Felipe Pedro Santos (“cavaquinho”), Jeferson Silva (flute), and Ricardo Rente (sax). The very interesting and colorful set and costumes were designed by Marcelo Marques; and Aurélio de Simoni once again is responsible for the excellent lighting.
“O Choro de Pixinguinha” plays at the Teatro Oi Futuro Flamengo, on Rua Dois de Dezembro, 63 – Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro. Performances take place on Saturdays and Sundays, at 04:00 P.M. – this is a play for children, don’t forget! It lasts for 60 (sixty) minutes, and obviously it is free for all ages! Tickets cost R$ 20,00 (twenty Reais) for a full ticket, and R$ 10,00 (ten Reais) for children, students and senior citizens. Unfortunately, however, the theatre is small – it seats only 63 (sixty-three) people! And it has been very full since the run started.
The Oi Futuro Flamengo is located in an interesting building where there are also art galleries, a small café (next to the theatre itself on the 8th floor), plus the telephone museum. There is no formal parking at the theatre, but the Metro station (Largo do Machado) is only two blocks away. And the Praia do Flamengo is at walking distance, for those who would like to take a stroll after the show. “O Choro de Pixinguinha” started its run on the 18th of August, and is scheduled to run until the 4th of November, 2018.
So, if you have children take them to see this interesting way to become familiar with one of Brazilian top musical talents. But then, you can go on your own and enjoy it very much too!
(*) Ewa Procter is a writer and a theatre translator, and
Chair of the Instituto Cultural Chiquinha Gonzaga.
Thank you to Cláudia Ribeiro for the photo!