What is Choro?

June 21, 2024


Choro is a genre of Brazilian music that originated in the 19th century. It is characterized by its lively and syncopated rhythms, intricate melodies, and virtuosic instrumental performances. Choro is often referred to as the “New Orleans jazz of Brazil” due to its improvisational nature and rich musical heritage.

History of Choro

Choro has its roots in the urban music of Rio de Janeiro, where it was played in cafes, bars, and on the streets. It was influenced by a variety of musical styles, including European classical music, African rhythms, and indigenous Brazilian music. Choro became popular in the early 20th century and has since become a staple of Brazilian music culture.

Characteristics of Choro

Choro is known for its complex harmonies, fast tempos, and intricate melodies. It is typically performed by small ensembles, consisting of instruments such as the cavaquinho (a small guitar-like instrument), the bandolim (a type of mandolin), and the pandeiro (a Brazilian tambourine). Choro musicians are known for their virtuosic playing and improvisational skills.

Key Figures in Choro

Some of the most famous choro musicians include Pixinguinha, Jacob do Bandolim, and Ernesto Nazareth. These musicians were instrumental in popularizing choro and expanding its repertoire. Their compositions are still performed and revered by choro musicians today.

Choro Today

Choro continues to be a vibrant and popular genre in Brazil, with numerous festivals, concerts, and recordings dedicated to the music. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in choro both in Brazil and internationally, with musicians from around the world embracing the genre and incorporating it into their own music.

Choro and Brazilian Culture

Choro is deeply intertwined with Brazilian culture and history. It reflects the diverse influences that have shaped Brazilian music, from African rhythms to European harmonies. Choro is often associated with the urban life of Rio de Janeiro and has become a symbol of Brazilian musical identity.

Challenges Facing Choro

Despite its popularity, choro faces challenges in the modern music industry. With the rise of digital streaming and changing musical tastes, traditional genres like choro can struggle to find a mainstream audience. However, dedicated musicians and fans continue to support and promote the music.


In conclusion, choro is a unique and vibrant genre of Brazilian music that continues to captivate audiences around the world. Its rich history, complex harmonies, and virtuosic performances make it a beloved part of Brazilian cultural heritage. Whether you are a seasoned choro enthusiast or new to the genre, exploring the world of choro is sure to be a rewarding musical journey.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.