IF YOU GO
■ What: Nightfall concert series featuring Forro in the Dark.
■ When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; Pack of Wolves opens at 7.
■ Where: Miller Plaza, corner of M.L. King Boulevard, Market and Cherry streets.
■ Admission: Free.
■ Phone: 423-265-0771.
■ Venue website: www.nightfallchattanooga.com.
■ Artist website: www.forrointhedark.tumblr.com.
2009: "Extended Play"
2012: "Maple Ridge"
Pack of Wolves is a Chattanooga-based blues/rock band composed of local music vets Tootsie Von Comare (vocals), Mac Spica (guitar), Bill Lefton (keys), Tommy Ogle (sax), Robert Grier (bass) and Mike Salter (drums). For more information, visit www.packofwolvesmusic.com.
Over the phone, guitarist Guilherme Monteiro exudes an air of almost pedagogic patience.
Messily butcher the pronunciation his name or of the funky, eminently danceable style of music he plays called forro -- it's pronounced "fo-ho" -- and he'll gently and unaccusingly correct you in fluent English that's still distinctly Portuguese-accented, even 20 years after he left Brazil.
But onstage, Monteiro says, he and his bandmates in New York-based Forro in the Dark are there to entertain, not to educate, even about a style of music that is probably new to many non-Brazilians.
Forro music, he says, should speak for itself. If the audience wants to know more, there's always the Internet.
"We're not interested in really teaching anybody," he says. "We just want people to have a good time."
Monteiro brings up that phrase -- "having a good time" -- a lot. He describes it almost like it's a necessity of forro music, regardless of which side of the mike you're talking about.
"It's music that's good for the body and good for the soul," he says.
Phrased as an SAT analogy, forro is to the northeast of Brazil as samba is to Rio de Janeiro. Although they honor their forebears in the style, which has roots stretching back more than a century, Monteiro says Forro in the Dark has always treated the traditional forro sound as a base to which they have added musical elements from any genre that struck a chord with them.
The result is a veritable musical United Nations, combining rock and country-fried guitar lines with Latin- and African-inflected rhythms, jazzy flute, funky horns and the occasional splash of hip-hop and dub. There are purely instrumental numbers as well as selections sung in English and Brazilian Portuguese.
Monteiro and fellow Brazilian ex-pats Mauro Refosco (zabumba drum/vocals) and Jorge Continentino (flute/sax/vocals) began playing together in 2005, primarily during a weekly set at Nublu, a club in New York City's East Village. Since then, they've gained international traction through tours and appearances at major festivals including Bonnaroo, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Ariano Folk Festival in Italy.
Friday, May 2, the band will take the stage at Miller Plaza as the first headliner of this year's Nightfall concert series. And even if the audience doesn't necessarily know how to pronounce their names or even understand the lyrics, Monteiro says he expects the music to demolish the language barrier and serve its intended purpose.
"Our band is really ... more about the music than the lyrics," he says. "It's about the groove and making people dance and feel good."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
May 2: Forro in the Dark w/ Pack of Wolves
May 9: Packway Handle Band w/ Dismembered Tennesseans
May 16: Roadkill Ghost Choir w/ Paul Hadfield & The McCoys
May 23: Pokey LaFarge w/ The 9th Street Stompers
May 30: Ester Rada w/ TheCreativeUnderground
June 6: Houndmouth w/ Eight Knives
June 13: Lydia Loveless w/ Tiffany Taylor
June 20: Alanna Royale w/ Debi D. and River City Jazz
June 27: Seth Walker w/ Remembering January
July 4: Slide Brothers w/ The Power Players
July 11: Bronze Radio Return w/ The Iscariots
July 18: Lucius w/ Danimal Planet
July 25: Road to Nightfall winners Function w/ Roger Alan Wade & Sparkle Motion
Aug. 1: London Souls w/ Jordan Hallquist & The Outfit
Aug. 8: Fredericks Brown w/ Carlos and His Tropical Swing
Aug. 15: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah w/ SoCro
Aug. 22: Johnnyswim for UTC Night w/ Decibella
Aug. 29: Gabe Dixon w/ Stereo Dig
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...