What made me love music: João Carlos Rocha’s musical memories


João Carlos Rocha, Brazilian conductor

As a Brazilian born kid from the early 80’s, I was exposed to a great amount of popular music, mainly the composers, singers and bands from the Tropicalia movement (my mom’s side of the family) and from the universe of the Samba (my father’s side.) This mixture of rhythms and musical colors was also nurtured by collections of Classical Music and a quite big library that we always had at home.

My first instrument was the Brazilian Cavaquinho, learned in a first moment by a dear uncle of mine and later in a Conservatory. This is a quite funny part of the story as I was learning basically classical and Brazilian folkloric tunes in an instrument closely related to the popular music – mainly Chorinho and Samba.

When I was a teenager, I remember having heard the Overture to Die Zauberflöte and saying to myself “Hey, wait a moment! I understand what this harmony is all about!”

And then I tried a couple of times to emulate at least the harmony of that work on that instrument. I believe that moment was capital for my relationship with music to become a lifelong one. Probably in that moment of “Eureka” I decided to dedicate myself to it  for the rest of my life.

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