New York city-based band Forró in the Dark has a new album titled, Sandcastle (Nacional Records), its first release in 8 years. The band was formed in 2002 features Brazilian musicians based in the United States. Forró in the Dark members include Mauro Refosco on zabumba, percussion; Guilherme Monteiro on guitar; and Jorge Continentino on pífanos, flutes, and saxophones.
Forró in the Dark’s music is characterized by the forró rhythm of Brazil that is combined with rock, jazz, country and other genres. Earlier recordings include Bonfires of Sao Joao (2006), Light A Candle (2009) and Plays Zorn (Tzadik, 2015).
We talked to guitarist Guilherme Monteiro about Sandcastle.
This is your first album in 8 years, how has the band evolved musically during this time?
Well, we’ve done a lot of touring after the release of “Light a Candle”, so we had the opportunity of developing that music in big stages around the world, which is pretty different from the process we had before of testing out our new material at Nublu, which is a small club we used to play in New York. Also, we grew a lot individually, playing in different musical situations as side man or with our own projects, so when we get together to play with Forró In The Dark these days it has less of a testosterone driven energy and a much more musical vibe. We play with more dynamics and nuances than we used to.
Are there lineup changes?
Yes, Davi, who was a percussionist in the band, left the band a few years ago, so that was important for us to forge the sound of the new record. Me, Mauro and Jorge have a more similar sense of aesthetics and way of approaching the music.
What languages are you using in your new album Sandcastle?
Portuguese and English.
Eight years is a long time in-between albums. What have you been up to during this time?
We toured quite a lot in Europe and the States. Played some important festivals, like Bonnaroo, did extensive tours with Gogol Bordello. At some point we all had individual projects going for each individual member. Mauro was out playing with David Byrne, Atoms for Peace and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers; Jorge with Bebel Gilberto; and I’ve been touring with Gal Costa, who is a 72 year old singer, a sort of a living legend in Brazil.
Forró is still not a well-known genre outside Brazil. Are you making any inroads in the American market?
We think of ourselves of a band that honors the Forró genre but we don’t feel obliged to make inroads for it. We are primarily a band that makes music for people to dance, feel and think. Forró is a means to achieve that but we don’t consider ourselves “ambassadors” of the genre.