I’ve traveled the world documenting music, but sometimes a chance meeting in my home town of New York City yields treasures.  A couple of weeks ago, I was at the club Le Poisson Rouge and I bumped into an earnest young man who said he worked with some really great Brazilian musicians who were coming to town….and did I want to maybe do a shoot?  When he said they played choro music, I figured it was worth checking out.  Choro is a kind of urban folk music that grew out of a merging of European and Brazilian sensibilities, and it calls on the player to be agile, inventive and swinging.  The emphasis on improvisation makes people compare it to jazz, but if one is going to do that, let’s specify that it’s a lot more Django than Miles. It’s accessible music in every way.

The choro was being performed at The Living Room, on the lower east side of Manhattan, a cozy club with two performance spaces.  Dudu Maia and Douglas Lora were warming up when I met them. Lora is a classically trained guitarist, who plays a seven string axe, and Maia also plays an altered instrument, a mandolin (called bandolim, in Brazil) with 10 strings, as opposed to the usual 8.  Both are well respected musicians back home, and part of their tour consisted of choro workshops. They are also part of a full-out band called Caraivana, but on this tour they were a duo.

The concert was well attended; people just seemed to drift in until the room was full. It was a great way to spend an evening, in a comfortable, intimate space enjoying excellent musicians at work. It’s what I love about New York; yes, the big, well known places may get the big, well known acts, but that doesn’t mean they are better. There are places like the Living Room presenting solid musicians without great fanfare; you just have to make it your business to find out about it.  Maia and Lora turned in a stellar set, and at some point they will probably play venues where you have to fork over the big bucks — but that night, it was just about the music.

For more information about Caraivana, Dudu and Douglas, contact Eric Shenkman at

Brazilliance Part 2 will cover a performance by singer Veronica Ferriani accompanied by Douglas Lora.

6 Responses to “Brazilliance, Part One: The Choro Music of Dudu Maia and Douglas Lora”

  1. […] is the follow-up on my last post, concerning a performance of choro music on New York’s lower east side. The “earnest […]

  2. Jazz unique rhythmic and harmonic tunes have set a boundary for each individual genre of classical jazz music. The rhythm and style of Cuban mambo is far different from Brazil’s bossa nova. Each has its own identity, instrumentation and rhythm that are based on its original regional style.

  3. The music is always admirable. we need to do something that is worthwhile and amazing. Who cares as long as we are happy. I am the one listening the performance.

  4. Every time people share thoughts on anything they do so from their perspective. They can only share the experiences they have lived. Inspirational article. Really took a lot of positive things from this.

  5. […] Lora and Dudu Maia (whom I have covered previously) were in town, this time at the Caffe Vivaldi and with Douglas’ brother Alexandre playing […]


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Here’s where you’ll find my weekly original world music video blogs that appear on Huffington Post, as well as an archive starting in April of 2009.

This is also the place where you will find video that is exclusive to my site. I’ve traveled to places like Uzbekistan, Morocco, and Taiwan and no matter where I go I have found amazingly talented and creative people working in every genre from the deepest traditions to the cutting edge.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to interview them and to capture some of what they do on video. Enjoy what you see and hear, and let me know what you think. I welcome your feedback.