Allen Mathews and Sammy Lett
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Allen Mathews and Sammy Lett

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In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this music is still frequently featured in small cafes, local social clubs, and large concerts. "Choro" music made a rise in Brazil in the earlier part of the 20th century, and is the precursor to samba, bossa nova, and other popular styles. It began when European parlor music melded with the African rhythms enjoyed in slave camps. What you get is an intelligently composed, rhythmically driving music that has somehow managed to stay below the radar of international popularity.

Sammy Lett has seen a wide spectrum of the music performance business. He periodically travels with a professional circus troupe, where he plays saxophone with the nationally acclaimed circus band "Cirquestra";has done a tour of duty with Carnival Cruiselines; has been entrenched in several thriving music scenes such as Boston and Seattle; and currently plays with several projects in Portland, Oregon, including one of the cities most popular salsa bands, a completely improvisational "art music" collaboration, and this choro duo with Guitarist Allen Mathews.

Allen Mathews splits his time between performing and teaching. He is among the faculty of the Lewis and Clark College Music Department. He also teaches privately. Allen serves on the board of the Artichoke Community Music non-profit, and frequently leads workshops and classes in the community. He performs solo, with Sammy Lett, and is frequently called as a substitute for othor ensembles. Allen spent much of 2003 living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where studied and fell in love with Choro music.

Allen and Sammy currently perform 15-20 times per year. In the future, these performances will be made up largely of concerts, private house concerts, and benefits for individuals and non-profit organizations that share Allen and Sammy's values. Until then, they provide a rare treat to local audiences, exhibiting skill and musicianship seldom found outside the concert hall.