Forro In The Dark
If Forro in the Dark is serious about anything, it's the party. These four Brazilian New Yorkers start with Brazilian forró and end with a groove that means good times in any language or genre. With their latest EP, "Dia de Roda," the band ups the ante on their global dance party flavor. Sexy, laugh-out-loud, their unique hybrid jam is a trademark blend of country soul and urban funk. Whether singing about Rastafarianism, Robin Hood, or the Roda, in English or in Portuguese, they charge every note with a palpable energy that needs no translation. Their forró-inspired beats conjure a sonic atmosphere that draws today's jazz aficionados and techno-loving clubgoers onto the dancefloor together.
Forro in the Dark might be the Pied Piper of downtown New York pelvises. Give them half an ear, and your hips will take over and start rolling to their Brazilian roots rock. They're a little afro-beat, a little country western swing, a little dub, and all rock and roll, fueled by the insistent rhythm of forró. True to their roots, they dig ever deeper into the sounds of northeastern Brazil, while also cannibalizing other styles, drawing from all the influences available to them as artists traveling on global currents. Ultimately their music is all their own magic, spinning out spontaneous and loose, an intoxicating invitation to have a beer and find some love in the dark.
The skeleton of the band's sound is the syncopated rhythm of forró, which is familiar to Brazilians as the toe-tapping backdrop to a long workday, a folk party in the Northeast, and the sound spilling out from hip dance halls in the wee hours. The upbeat tunes contrast with the lyrics' serious themes: Forro songs romanticize the harsh and unforgiving sertão of Brazil's northeast, giving voice to the migrant's melancholy lament and the country bandit's ballad.
Forro in the Dark pays homage to this playful and emotional genre's rich history, while also thinking about 2008 and making party music for today's global village. Notably, they look beyond the simple accordion, zabumba, and triangle instrumentation popularized by the great forró artist, Luiz Gonzaga. Abandoning the accordion, they've added Jorge's pifano, a wooden flute from the Northeast of Brazil, Guilherme's twangy guitar, and Davi's timbau, a Bahian drum. The new additions float between the beat of Mauro's zabumba, a drum with both snare and bass pitches, and the tweet of Davi's
triangle. The revised line-up takes off with a sound that straddles the musical frontier between the dusty Brazilian sertão and New York City's urban landscape. Still, they stay true to the best of forró: making a soundtrack for the hip-swerving all-night dance party from which forró music originally gets its name.
The seed of the band was born at a party for Mauro's birthday at Nublu, a club in New York's East Village, where he invited some friends to jam, forró-style. The rural dance sound was such a hit that they started a weekly residency. The band's current cast solidified for 2006's "Bonfires of Sao Joao," an addictive exploration of the forró form with downtown New York influences, featuring David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto, and Miho Hatori as guest vocalists. Forro in the Dark spent 2007 touring throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Latin America in support of "Bonfires," spreading their good vibes over the globe. They garnered critical acclaim for their innovative sound, and new audiences fell in love with their energetic live shows. On that period they still found time to record the song "City Of Immigrants" on Steve Earl's Grammy awarded album "Washington Square Serenade". Only two months after returning to New York, they were ready to go back into the studio. They recorded an EP over three days at Super Legal Studios in uptown Manhattan, rotating the songwriting duties as well as the practical jokes. 2009 promises even wider horizons, with more touring in Europe and the Americas, giving ever more listeners the chance to join Forro in the Dark's never-ending global party.