'Choro' takes center stage at the Walters
In 2006, virtuoso mandolinist Tim Connell and gypsy jazz string player Mike Burdette joined forces to form Rio Con Brio, a group that connects with the Brazilian national music known as "choro."
Choro is influenced by Afro-Brazilian and contemporary European rhythms, and is reminiscent of the carnival of Rio and the cafés of France, Spain and Portugal. It wasn't long before the duo accumulated a large repertoire of quirky instrumental tunes from early 20th century Brazil, which were accessible, exotic and addictively danceable.
The artists will be showcasing their musicality and street music of Rio de Janeiro at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, 527 E. Main St., on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m.
By 2008, Connell and Burdette found themselves performing all over the Northwest, and by 2010, they were playing shows across North America. Rio Con Brio has since become a staple of Brazilian music and mandolin events and — due to the duo's technique and Connell's adventurous improvisation — has also been featured in traditionally classical concert series and jazz festivals. With three acclaimed albums and previous performances with top Brazilian musicians like Trio Brasilerio, Choro das Tres and Almir Cortes under their belts, their Walters concert is one that promises to be fruitful.
Aside from Rio Con Brio, both artists lead their own careers. Connell graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music and boasts more than 20 years of professional performing experience. He regularly tours around North America and Europe in an international mandolin supergroup known as The Ger Mandolin Orchestra. He's also been on staff at the Mandolin Symposium for several years and performs and teaches around the country.
When he's not performing alongside Burdette, Connell collaborates with jazz clarinet player Harvey Wainapel and the Berkeley Choro Ensemble.
Burdette has been performing Brazilian choro and gypsy jazz guitar for the last seven years with many of Portland's best. He also builds and repairs instruments for many of the city's players at Portland Fretworks, with pickers throughout the Northwest enjoy playing on frets he has installed. He currently resides in Newberg.
Tickets for the upcoming concert are $15 in advance and $20 day of show, and are available at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the Walters box office at 503-615-3485.