Accordion History in Brazil
Accordion History


The accordion is most popular in Nordeste, and in southern Brazil. It arrived from Portugal in the nineteenth century, and with Italian immigrants earlier in the twentieth century.

The music in Nordeste (called "forro") revolved around the accordion, and inhabitants often left to find jobs playing in other parts of the country. Nordeste has many musical styles, including the baiào, the xote, and the sanfonas, which was played firstly on the diatonic accordion, and later on the chromatic.

In Nordeste music, the African rhythmic sounds and the European instruments are played in an Indian chant style. Lyrics speak of everyday life, work, emigration and love lost. Accompanying the accordion are sanfonas, the triangle, and the zabumba.

Antenogenes Silva recorded on the accordion in the 1940s-1960s. Other notable accordionists were Uccio Gaete and Alberto Calcada. Augusta Ozari was one of the few Brazilian women to play the accordion around this time.

Sivuca has helped promote the chromatic accordion in Brazil. His style is a mixture of Brazilian folk music, forro, samba, bossa nova, and all types of jazz.

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