Forro in the Dark gets its name from the Forro, a type of dance and music that's been popular in northeastern Brazil for more than 100 years. The style's traditional incarnation involves a three-piece band with a triangle, an accordion and a bass-like drum called a zabumba. But Forro in the Dark doesn't conform to those limitations, instead taking the lively and emotional genre to new heights by drawing on influences ranging from Enrique Iglesias to Beck. The resulting music sounds optimistic and celebratory, occasionally instrumental and always compelling.
The band was born when frontman Mauro Refosco threw a birthday party and invited a few friends to play with him; soon, Forro in the Dark began a tradition of sold-out weekly performances. Hear a few songs from this 2007 session, recorded shortly after the group's debut album, The Bonfires of Sao Joao, was released.
This story was first published on May 30, 2007.