Brazilian Forro

Forró is a style of music and dance that originated in northeastern Brazil. There is no consensus regarding the definition of forró as a music genre, however, it is usually associated with various musical rhythms native to the northeast region, such as baião, the square dance, and the xaxado, all have which contain Dutch influences, in addition to xote, which came from Portugal.

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ForróThese rhythms are traditionally played by trios formed by an accordionist (the traditional forró accordion has eight bass), a zabumba player and a triangle player. The Forró dance style is similar to toré and to the way indigenous dancers would drag their feet, in addition to an overlay of Portuguese and Dutch rhythms.

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The influence of forms of polka from Eastern Europe, as well as traditional ballroom dancing, can also be detected in the formations typically seen during the Forró dance.

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To an unaccustomed viewer the dance can be interpreted as a hodge-podge of other Latin American dance-styles, in particular the ever-popular salsa twirling and whirling. However, a Brazilian Forró enthusiast will balk at such generalizations, pointing out that the range of styles of Forró, from the traditional pé-de-serra to the modern electronic Forró, are superior amalgamations of all the best bits of Latin American dance culture, and are far easier to master than an intricate salsa step at that.

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ForróElectro-forró in particular, a dance truly foreign to any uninitiated tourist, brazenly combines two elements as alien to each other as nineties grunge rock and nineteenth century parlour-music. This terrifying hybrid first appeared in the early 1990s when electronic elements, such as the keyboard and the synthesizer, were thrown into the mix alongside the accordion and the triangle. Chaos ensued.

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Luckily a natural revival of the traditional forms of Forró was to appear on the São Paulo university scene in the late 1990s, discarding the synthesizer for the string guitar. Today Forró is especially popular in the Brazilian cities of Campina Grande, Caruaru, Mossoró and Juazeiro, where the major Festivals of São João are held.

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In the capital cities of Aracaju, Fortaleza, João Pessoa, Natal, Maceio, Recife, and Teresina, there are traditional parties and presentations of Forró bands for private events, particularly attractive to younger dancers as they seem to be the only age group able to pull off the bra tops and ra-ra skirts that are generally worn by female Forró dancers.

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