Workshop Info

The members of Matuto have provided educational workshops for professional musicians, amateurs, and music lovers in a wide variety of contexts. They have shared these workshops with audiences of all ages and across many varied cultural conditions. Their unique cultural experiences, understanding of Brazilian rhythms, and deeply rooted foundations in jazz and American folk music, make these workshops extremely unique, entertaining, and full of insight.

Sample Workshop Outlines -


Brazilian musical styles like Bossa Nova, Samba, and Choro have made huge impressions on the American musical landscape for decades, but there is much more to be gleaned from this culturally rich and dynamic country.  The members of Matuto have spent decades mastering the folkloric styles of the Brazilian Northeast, where Rabecas (Brazilian Fiddle), Accordions, and polyrhythmic percussion instruments reign supreme.  In this workshop we’ll explore styles like forró, xoté, maracatu, and arrasta pé with an in-depth look at the rhythms, melodies, and cultural influences that make up this infectious and universally appealing dance music.



As a band, Matuto represents a contemporary movement in American Roots music.  As the information age makes the world more accessible than ever before, and new generations of musicians draw inspiration from vast international influences, Matuto’s sound illustrates a modern perspective on the shared colonial heritage of both North and South America.  This collision of Indigenous, European, and African cultures has laid the foundation for all Contemporary American Music.



This presentation utilizes photo projection, recorded music and live musical performance to teach students about Luiz Gonzaga, one of the most important Brazilian cultural figures and musical innovators of the 20th century and about Forró, the style of music that he revolutionized.

Accordionist and composer Rob Curto has spent years playing forró in Brazil, the United States and all over the world. He has been called “forró’s” foremost ambassador in the United States” and the Los Angeles Times touts the “traditional authenticity” of Curto’s music. Forró has it’s origins in the northeast of Brazil and Curto has spent much time in that region, studying playing with some of the greatest Forró musicians such as: Arlindo dos Oito Baixos, Camarão, Dominguinhos, Luizinho Calixto, the great zabumbeiro Quartinha, and others.

The workshop follows the life of Gonzaga from a small town in the far interior region of the northeastern state of Pernambuco to his becoming a major recording and radio star and grand spokesperson for the culture of the northeast, which was long scorned and disregarded by the dominant culture of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Fotos are interspersed with recordings of Gonzaga from his early days in the 1940’s all the way through the 1980’s, and the music is presented live by Rob Curto on accordion and a traditional forró trio of zabumba, the low-bass drum of forró and triangle as well as other percussion such as pandeiro and agogo.

We explore this story from all angles: musical, social and historical; in a way that is emotionally stirring and artistic as well as thoughtful and academic.

“With their musical workshops, Matuto transports history into our bodies, teaching audiences how to hear, feel, even taste music history on a visceral and deeply personal level.”  - Megwen Loveless - PhD Harvard University 2010 – Department of Spanish and Portuguese – Princeton University