From the clubs in Recife to the stages of the USA, Quarteto Olinda brings their forró de rabeca to the United States for the first time. The sounds of the rabeca – the Brazilian folk fiddle – and the drumbeat of the zabumba will get the dance floor going just like a Brazilian summer night. The members of Quarteto Olinda grew up surrounded by the music of the Northeast of Brazil, and now bring their own perspective to the regional styles of forró, coco, and cavalo marinho. Cláudio Rabeca leads this group of hotshot young musicians from Recife and Olinda on the rabeca, with Yuri Rabid on bass, Guga Amorim, Bruno Vinezof, and Carlos Amarelo on percussion.
The heirs to a long line of performers from Pernambuco, Quarteto Olinda makes the traditional music of forró immediate and contemporary. The members of the band grew up playing with the masters of regional genres, and are now leaders in their artistic community. Their weekly shows at Xinxim da Baiana in Olinda grew so packed that they were shut down by the police as the crowd spilled into the streets at all hours of the night. The band is now a regular player around Recife and Olinda, still performing to full houses of dancers and music aficionados, though with a little less police interference. Quarteto Olinda’s eponymous album was released in 2009 with the support of the state government of Pernambuco. The band has toured throughout Brazil, most recently touring as part of the Caixa Cultural, a program of the federal bank of Brazil to use historic spaces for cultural events. Quarteto Olinda performed in their first European tour in the summer of 2011, playing shows in ten different cities.
Forró de rabeca, the style of fiddle-led dance music, is uniquely associated with Pernambuco. Created in the sugarcane-growing rural areas of the state, forró de rabeca was eclipsed as the accordion took front and center with the ascendancy of Luiz Gonzaga, the “King of Baião.” However, in the cities of Recife and Olinda, and the countryside of Pernambuco, there remained a dedicated following for forró de rabeca, spearheaded by master rabeca player Mestre Salustiano. Salustiano founded Casa da Rabeca, a local cultural center dedicated to celebrating the rabeca and regional Pernambucan culture, and trained many of the area’s best musicians, including Cláudio Rabeca. While the rabeca is played throughout the country, the performers in Pernambuco have brought popularity and pride to the sound of this roughly carved fiddle, crafting a community around the instrument that is unique.
Quarteto Olinda is making their mark on the music of forró and the story of the rabeca, moving audiences around the world with their infectious dance music and superb musicianship. Get your dancing shoes on, and segure a chapa (hold on to your hats)!