Going Balloon: An Interview with Forro in the Dark

Lyra Pappin in PopMatters:


Forro in the Dark is a band that brings not just the heat of Brazil to crowded, pulsing nightclubs—it brings the heart. A group of five Brazilians and one American put their rhythmic spin on forró, a style of music and dance from the northeast of Brazil that is full of passion, joy, heartache, and love. Forro in the Dark have been sneaking up the radar, as their latest album, Bonfires of São Jo&atildeo, has been making waves from coast to coast. Featuring such impressive guest vocalists as David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto, and Miho Hatori, FIT Dark have become an underground sensation with people in the know. The hippest (but least pretentious) Manhattanites know that Nublu is where it’s at, and every Wednesday, FIT Dark can be heard making people sweat, sway, and groove until the sun rises.

Screenhunter_02_jun_15_1937Mauro Refosco leads the band, a percussionist with an impressive resume. After growing up in a small town outside São Paolo, Mauro turned his attention to music after he let the dream of being a professional soccer play die (although his passion for the game didn’t. Walking home one day, he spontaneously joined an in-progress soccer game and almost broke his ankle! Don’t tell David Byrne though). Since graduating with a Master’s Degree in percussion from the Manhattan School of Music in 1994, Mauro has worked with some of the most creative and innovative musicians today, including performing with David Byrne for over ten years; collaborating with Brazilian Girls, Bebel Gilberto, and Stewart Copeland; and still finding time to release a solo record, Seven Waves/Sete Ondas. But maybe the most impressive thing about this accomplished musician is his genuine warmth and appreciation for his success, evident in his utter lack of pretension or arrogance. There’s a realness to Mauro that echoes the forró spirit of openness, charm, and fun.

I caught up with Refosco to discuss the rise of his band’s success, how he keeps it all together, and the mystery behind the photo shoot-turned-jam session/cookout at a place known only as “The Boat”.

More here.  More on Forro in the Dark from the Boston Herald here.  And don’t miss their show in New York City at the Highline Ballroom on June 22nd. Other concert dates and info about their current tour here. And check out this video (which doesn’t, unfortunately, give a good sense of the real energy of Forro in the Dark’s live performances):