Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Day-by-day guide to Forró

The rhythms of the north-east are alive and kicking in Lapa's clubs and bars.

Traditionally played by a trio of musicians - accordionist, drummer and triangle-player (triangulist?) - forró is the northeastern rhythm and dance with a strong European influence from Portugal (xote) and Holland (xaxado). Danced in pairs, it is as popular today as it ever was, never succumbing to the level of fasionable or fad but instead continuing as yet another vital strain of Brazil's musical cultural make up. In Rio the unmistakable sound of the accordian and triangle can be heard every night of the week, all you need to do is track it down with a little help from our resident expert...


Roda de Forró: The latest sensation for forrozeiros (forro-lovers) the Centro Cultural Carioca fills its dancehalls every Sunday from 9pm. A second show takes place at 11pm, after which the resident DJ does the rest. (R$12-$22, rodadeforro@gmail.com).


Severyna: Besides being an excellent restaurant, the Laranjeiras gem Severyna heats up with live music most nights, and Mondays sees forro trios from across the city invited to the stage. The closest you'll get to Maranhão ou Paraíba without leaving Rio. (R$12).


Forró da Rua da Lapa: Every Tuesday night is forro night with the band Fulano de Quê? playing at the small boteco Sinuca Tico Taco da Lapa (Rua da Lapa 141, Lapa) from 9pm. The beer is cheap (R$5/600ml), you can have a frame of pool (R$1) and a DJ picks up the pieces in between the live action. (Free).


Quarta Democrática: With seven years of Wednesday night forro under its belt, this has become one of the biggest successes in the history of Clube dos Democráticos. Each week from 10pm a different group takes up the mantle, with resident DJ Sérgio Feijó looking after the down time. (R$12-$25).


Leviano Bar: Having turned their back on Centro and taken up this rather smarter new residency, Forró do Mercado are the attraction from 11pm at Leviano, where a decent-sized outdoor area on the pavement is well worth spending some time on those balmier Lapa evenings. (R$10-$15 contato@levianobar.com.br).


Forró Brasil: In the casual Boteco Darcy Ayrão (Rua Teotônio Regadas 13, Lapa), between the popular Bar do Ernesto and Sala Cecília Meireles, is the best way to forro in the weekend from 11pm. (R$10 men, R$5 women).


Terreirada Cearense: Inspired by the popular culture of the Cariri region, Céara, this group bring their own compositions and a few standards to the laidback Casa Gira Mundo (Rua da Lapa 175, Lapa) from 11pm. (R$12-$18 terreiradacearense@gmail.com).


At the top of the Santa Teresa steps stands the Lagoinha (Estrada Dom Joaquim Mamede 125, Santa Teresa) where once a month the Forró de Santa parties unite the obsessives in a bohemian environment looking out over the city. Back downhill, the Cordão do Bola Preta headquarters (Rua da Relação 3, Lapa) is home to Forrozada

But for the truly unmistakable hit of regional tradition, there is nothing quite like a trip to the home of all things Nordestina, the Feira de São Cristóvão, also known as the 'Feira dos Paraíbas'. All through the week the stages at either end of this unusual construction host impromptu shows, but at the weekends it is non-stop, with the (very) old and young alike pressed cheek to cheek on the dancefloor to the celebrated sounds of Geraldo Azevedo and Elba Ramalho.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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