Jim Fusilli in the Wall Street Journal:
Forró is a folk dance that originated in northeastern Brazil, and the percussion heavy folk music that accompanies it has co-opted the name. It’s said the word is derived from a Brazilian word meaning a party. And that was the atmosphere at the Highline Ballroom, as Forro in the Dark fans danced joyously during its set.
“You can’t help but move your hips,” Refosco said. “It’s the kind of music anyone can dance to. A good samba dancer is almost intimidating, or with salsa or rumba you just want to watch. But with forró, anyone can do it.”
The band comprises Refosco on the zabumba drum, which looks a bit like a tom-tom worn around the neck and played on both sides, resulting in two different tones; Davi Viera on percussion and vocals; Guilherme Monteiro on guitar; Jorge Continentino on vocals, tenor saxophone and the pifano flute, a wooden instrument; and Alberto Continentino on bass. All are natives of Brazil, Refosco from Santa Catarina, Viera from Bahia, and Monteiro and the Continentinos from Rio de Janeiro.
“Each one of us has his own story about how we came to New York,” said Refosco, who earned his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. “In January 1994, the week I graduated, I got a phone call from David Byrne and I joined his band.”