Rob Curto is an American pianist and accordionist who grew up immersed in Swing Era jazz, but became fascinated with Brazilian music in 1998. He went on to become deeply involved in playing choro and forró music, living in Brazil throughout the 2000’s. He studied with the great choro master Alencar 7 Cordas, and perfected his craft performing with local musicians in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. During that time Rob played with players such Dudu Maia, Douglas Lora, Daniel Santiago, Chico Chagas and with the group Choro de Calango. Rob also worked often with New York based choro musicians such as Pedro Ramos and Anat Cohen in the group The Choro Ensemble. He also had the opportunity to play with the legendary Dominguinhos, and spent time with accordionists such as Arlindo dos Oito Baixos, and Camarão.
In 2004 Rob became a founding member of the group Forró in the Dark, and was essential in bringing Forró, the dance and social music of the Brazilian Northeast, to New York City and a broader international audience. Through weekly dance parties in Manhattan’s East Village, he further honed his craft, developing skill in keeping folks dancing and “animando a festa.” Later his group “Rob Curto’s Forró for All” toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada.
Rob is presently focused on his choro duo Ernesto’s Club, playing piano along with Philadelphia-based percussionist Gregg Mervine on pandeiro. Rob and Gregg recently collaborated with percussionist Fabio de Oliveira and cavaquinho player Fernanda da Silveira, and are currently working on their first EP, dedicated to and exploring the music of the great early 20th century Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth. One such choro classic is featured in the following video — the polca, Apanhei-te cavaquinho.