Danilo Ezequiel Brito was born on March 29th, 1985 in São Paulo, Brazil, the youngest of five children. Both his mother and father are from the northeastern of Brasil, besides of being an amateur composer, his father also performed in many clubs and bars in São Paulo throughout the 1960’s, and fostered an environment steeped in old Brazilian culture and music.
“Rodas de Choro” (Choro Jams)
It’s been said that Danilo Brito at the age of three took his father’s mandolin from a chair and played the separate strings clearly. At the age of five, he once surprised everyone in the room by playing a sequence from the song “Delicado”, by Waldir Azevedo, that he had learned on his own.
He lived for a year in Paraíba (in the farm, where his father was born), at the age of eleven, where he had the opportunity to learn some tunes with Antônio Messias, an old family friend, acquiring new repertoire and improving his technique on the mandolin and cavaco, a four strings brazilian instrument that can be tuned in the same way as mandolin.
It was there where he achieved flawless execution on a piece called “Vôo da Mosca” by Jacob do Bandolim (a technically demanding waltz) and made his first live radio program.
Back to São Paulo, he started to visit a couple of famous music shops: Contemporânea and Del Vecchio, where the famous Brazilian “Roda de Choro” - is kind of jam session among many musicians - take place. Many of the best Brazilian instrumentalists played there in a very informal way. It can be said that these gatherings impart qualities like academic musical studies due to the musical complexity of “choro”, the musicians´ virtuosity, and the complicated melodies. At that time Danilo was dedicating his studies equally between the cavaco and the mandolin.
Danilo Brito was still playing his father’s old mandolin when he got his first instrument made by a luthier. From this point on, Danilo adopted the mandolin as his main instrument, always finding time to dedicate to it and to practice incessantly. Nevertheless, he never gave up playing the cavaco and he also started playing tenor guitar.
Best Instrumentalist Award
Danilo was impressive not only because of his youth but also because of his superb technique with which he executed waltz, choros, polkas, sambas and frevos. He began to receive invitations from celebrities and artists to perform and to give demonstrations of his talent and interviews to the press. He then started giving his first musical concerts on stage. The first time he played a solo performance was at UNIBAN (Bandeirantes University), along with the group Bachorando, whose leader was his friend, the guitarist Nelson Galleano, affectionately referred to as Balói.
The producer Téo Azevedo met Danilo Brito at one of those choro circles and was so impressed that he immediately wanted to record his music. When he asked Danilo if he would like to record an album, the answer was “yes” but Téo Azevedo responded: “Now I’m going to have to talk to your father, you are very young”. Then, at 13, with full support from his family and friends, his first CD, “Moleque Atrevido”, was recorded containing songs by Chiquinha Gonzaga, Jacob do Bandolim , Waldir Azevedo and others.
Some years went by while he continued playing shows as well as studying. Then in 2004 Danilo Brito entered and won the 7th annual VISA Awards for best instrumentalist on any instrument, one of the most important awards in Brazil – beating out 514 well-trained and skillful competitors. The judges were musicians, conductors, and knowledgeable specialists in Brazilian and World Music. Friends and fans were there in the audience cheering him on when he won first place.
In winning the VISA Awards he gained the opportunity to record a CD with the Eldorado Recording Company. This second CD, entitled “Perambulando”, came out in 2005. Besides many traditional choro pieces, the CD contained some of his own compositions including the blistering Sussuarana as well as the title track. His tenor guitar work is featured on “Um Choro na Madrugada” and he has been highly praised for his interpretation of Confidências, by the great choro pioneer Ernesto Nazareth. He was joined on several pieces by legendary musicians such as Altamiro Carrilho on flute, Toninho Ferragutti on accordion, and Nailor Profeta on clarinet.
This CD has demonstrated his clear musical characteristics in full bloom: inspirational composer, an emotional depth and respect in his interpretations of other composers, and his incredible command of the instrument.
Along with his thorough research of traditional Brazilian culture and music, he continues to add to his repertoire of contemporary songs by modern composers, from Brazil and abroad. He is always experimenting with new textures and styles as well as with different instrumental combinations in company of the best instrument players of the world.