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David Byrne (Talking Heads) about forró:

“ I heard this music when I visited Salvador, Bahia , for the first time in 1986. Forró was not a sound I expected to hear, it sounded like a mixture of ska with polka in overdrive! The closest equivalent I knew was zydeco, the music made familiar by the late great Clifton Chenier and many others.
forroIn Salvador Radio Itaparica! had a great morningshow which would sometimes play, without interruption, a whole string of what I later found out were forró hybrids-forró with brass, forró with funk bass lines, forró with country fiddles, and, of course, electrified forró, or fo-rock, as it is called.The music is part European, part African. perhaps part Indian, but all Brazilian. I taped as much as I could off the radio, and later bought some records and tapes. I only touched the surface, the well is deep. This is partymusic. It’s partymusic from the “rub a daughter” territory, from people who’ve been through hard times, who lived in a parched, unforgiven area of Brazil, the North-East. They love their country, their land, probably more than they love Brasil, who has not always treated them well.

The people who make and dance to this music are most often brown.
Like their earth. It is the brown sound. Chão. The festas are intense and the bands would play all night. When one band got tired, they would take a nap, or drink, or eat, and another band would take over. Until the sun came up.
The songs celebrate their land, parties and festas, lost love and the hard life of the brazilian cowboys. Themes simular to other musics the world over, but here with a peculiar Northeastern slant. A humor and wink that cuts through the bullshit. "

jackson do panheiro


Upbeat, super-catchy dance music from the Northeast of Brazil. Forro usually features an accordion, with fast, syncopated rhythms similar to samba. In some ways, forro is analagous to mariachi in Mexico, or cumbia music in Columbia: although a few artists (such as Luiz Gonzaga and Jackson do Pandeiro) are well-known, national stars, thousands of others have recorded for small, regional labels and much of forro is relatively informal and localized. Although it had been marginalized during the bossa nova years as a kind of hick music, the style made a comeback in the early seventies, as tropicalia artists such as Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa revived old hits and brought forro riffs into their rock-tinged albums. Revitalized, forro began to become more modern, with new stars such as Elba Ramalho who introduced disco and pagode elements into the old back-country sound.

Celebration turned into a style
The name forró comes from the word forrobodó, "pagode entertainment", according to folklore scholar Câmara Cascudo. Both pagode (contemporary name for samba) and forró are original celebrations or festivities turned into musical styles. The forrobodó - "informal ball" - is also known as arrasta-pé (foot-dragger), bate-chinela (flop-banger) or fobó (a contraction of forrobodó), and fueled by a variety of northeastern styles (baião, coco, rojão, quadrilha, xaxado, xote) played on the pé de bode (goat foot), an 8-bass accordion. A fancier version of the name’s origins claims that forró was the Brazilian attempt to reproduce the sound of "for all", which were ball parties held by the British engineers of the Great Western railway for their employees.

As large amounts of northeastern immigrants headed to the southeast to escape from the drought, numerous forró joints were opened before the style became fashionable in the wealthiest Brazilian cities. Today, the towns of Caruaru (Pernambuco) and Campina Grande (Paraíba), both in the northeast, compete for the title of forró capital, with long-term festivities turned into tourist events that gather bigger crowds every year.

luiz_gonzagaGonzaga and Jackson spread the word
As an advocate for northeastern music in Rio and São Paulo, accordionist Luiz Gonzaga do Nascimento (1912-1989) was the first to put the term on record in the track Forró de Mané Vito, written with Zé Dantas in 1949. Gonzaga composed with different partners and produced standard hits along the years, like Numa Sala de Reboco (1964), with José Marcolino, Forró de Pedro Chaves (1967), Fole Roncou (a forrock with Nelson Valença, in 1973), Forró de Cabo a Rabo (1986) and Forró Gostoso (1988), both with João Silva. Forró singer Marinês (e sua Gente), though, credits Jackson do Pandeiro (José Gomes Filho, 1919-1982) for the implementation of forró in the southern market with his recording of Forró em Limoeiro (Edgar Ferreira), in 1953. Jackson also turned songs like Sebastiana (Rosil Cavalcanti), A Mulher do Aníbal (Genival Macedo/Nestor de Paula) and Um a Um (Edgar Ferreira) into classics, helping establish his name as the king of forró.

Jackson do Pandeiro
     Jackson do Pandeiro

The influence of Jackson’s music, celebrated in the song Jacksoul Brasileiro, by Lenine, encouraged the band Cascabulho (from Recife, Pernambuco) to make the tribute album Revisto e Sampleado (Reviewed and Sampled), featuring guest performances by Gal Costa, Chico Buarque, Zeca Pagodinho, Fernanda Abreu, Paralamas and O Rappa. On the other hand, mangue beat bands like Nação Zumbi, mundo livre s/a, Otto, DJ Dolores and Mestre Ambrósio reviewed Luiz Gonzaga’s works with a more electronic edge on the tribute-CD Baião de Viramundo. Gilberto Gil, Nando Cordel, Geraldo Azevedo and Elba Ramalho are some of both artists’ disciples.

Also from Pernambuco, José Domingos de Morais, a.k.a. Dominguinhos, helped settling the elements that would make forró take over other styles. As Luiz Gonzaga’s protégé and inspired by the tropicalists, the accordionist from Garanhuns (Pernambuco) has often included instrumental improvisations in his concerts, helping consolidate the genre that had been practiced for many years in the underground forró market.

      José Domingos de Morais, a.k.a. Dominguinhos     

The gregarious and outward spirit of the dance-driven style has been incorporated by artists like Sivuca, Chiquinho do Acordeom, Oswaldinho, and newcomers like Forroçacana and Trio Forrozão (both from Rio).


Bekijk de trailer (in het portugees) van de
bekroonde muziekdocumentaire over forró,
getiteld Paraïba meu amor.

Reisverslag van een NY Times journalist:
>> lees het artikel

>> bekijk de video


Enkele Forró nummers: (het laden kan even duren)
• Luiz Gonzaga - Asa Branca ('forró volkslied') | Imbalança | andere nummers (klik hier het geluid uit)
• Jackson do Pandeiro - Sebastiana | Catirina | Na base da chinela
• Dominguinhos - Baião mimoso | Feira de mangaio
• Elba Ramalho - Forró Do Poeirão (op album Baião de Tr3s met Dominguinhos en Azevedo)
• Voorbeeld Forró Universitátio: Falamansa

• Zabumba: - Imbalança (Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)
- Ze matuto (João Silva , Luiz Gonzaga)
- Na base da chinela (Jackson do Pandeiro, Rasil Cavalcanti)
- Dançei de documento na mão (Zinho, Antonio Barros)
- De dijken (geen forró, maar een ballade van H.Teixeira/ H.Meulenbeld)

Luister naar Forró in deze NPR radio introductie en een interview met Forro in the dark.

Voor meer forrómuziek zie het uitgebreide overzicht op de links pagina.

Uit de oude doos

Bekijk twee optredens van Luiz Gonzaga uit de jaren '50 en recenter.
Bekijk twee optredens van Jackson do Pandeiro in zwartwit en kleur