Quincas Laranjeiras

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An important figure of the second generation of Brazilians who took the violão as a solo instrument, Quincas Laranjeiras was the professor of eminent musicians who would carry the torch even further:…
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An important figure of the second generation of Brazilians who took the violão as a solo instrument, Quincas Laranjeiras was the professor of eminent musicians who would carry the torch even further: the blind Levino da Conceição, José Rabelo, and João Pernambuco. A eulogy published in O Violão magazine (1929) referred to him as the "grandfather of the modern violão."

Coming to Rio with his family at six months of age, he was influenced by his father, who was a well-known violeiro (ten-string Brazilian-viola player) and a carpenter by profession. At 11, Laranjeiras went to work at the Fábrica de Tecidos Aliança, in the Quincas borough of Rio, hence his nickname. There was a band in the factory, conducted by professor João Elias, Laranjeiras' first music teacher. Taking up the flute, he soon showed uncommon talent, teaching the less-advanced students. Influenced by his brother who was learning the violão (Brazilian acoustic guitar), Laranjeiras also took up that instrument, soon becoming a requested accompanist of modinhas. A frequenter of the famous Rabeca de Ouro music store/lutherie (later Cavaquinho de Ouro), where the famous chorões met, Laranjeiras became a member of their group: Anacleto de Medeiros, Luís Gonzaga da Hora, Irineu de Almeida, Juca Kalut, Macário, José Cavaquinho, Villa-Lobos, and others. With some others, he formed the Estudantina Arcas, where he taught violão, and became prominent as a violonista in the Estudantina Euterpe Orchestra. An adherent of classical guitar, he taught in the Tarrega school, being an important proponent of Tarrega's method in Brazil.

In 1889, Laranjeiras became a municipal employee, retiring with honors in 1925. His compositions include "Prelúdio Em Ré Menor" and "Valsa Para Violão," while his most popular piece was the sentimental waltz "Dores D'alma." He was also an active harmonizer (for violão) of Brazilian melodies, publishing these works in O Violão magazine.