Capoeira History

Capoeira Cork EDC Roda de Capoeira
Capoeira is best described not as a dance but as a sport in which the participants, historically, sometimes with blades strapped to their ankles or held between their toes, swing their legs high in attack, perform aerial somersaults, and pass within a hairsbreadth of each other’s knees, head, groin, or stomach. Flexibility, stamina, rapidity of movement, and malicia (deception) are more important than sheer muscular strength. Although marked by the use of graceful, fluid, and often acrobatic movements as a means to escape rather than block an attack, the “game” of capoeira, as it is called by its practitioners, can nonetheless be lethal when contact is actually made with a well-timed, well-placed blow.

In current practice, two opponents face each other within the roda, a circle of capoeiristas (practitioners of capoeira), emulating in a stylized manner the strikes and parries of combat, in time with the rhythms of a small musical ensemble. Music is indeed integral to the practice of capoeira. The ensemble typically consists of one to three berimbaus (struck musical bows), one or two atabaques (single-headed, standing, conical drums), a pandeiro (tambourine), an agogô (double bell), and sometimes also a reco-reco (scraped bamboo tube), all of which accompany call-and-response songs, usually led by one of the berimbau players.

Capoeira Cork EDC - Roda de Capoeira by Monitor Arame
Since about the 1930s in the state of Bahia and somewhat later in Rio de Janeiro, clubs have trained students in precise kicking, passing, and strategic deception. In the late 20th century capoeira began to gain an international following, and by the early 21st century active clubs existed in many cities throughout the world. Moreover, the art had gained many highly skilled female practitioners, though in its early years capoeira was an exclusively male domain.
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Instruments in Capoeira

Everyone who practices capoeira should be able to sing and play instruments in order to be a complete "Capoeirista". The orchestra, a set of instruments in Capoeira is called Bateria. A full set of instruments in Roda are: 3 Berimabu, Gunga, Media, Viola, then Atabaque, Pandeiro and agogo.

Example of Berimbau in Capoeira Cork EDC
Berimbau It's an instrument made of a longbow-like timber, mostly out of Beriba. They are strung with a single metal wire, called an Arame, that is typically drawn from an old truck or automobile tire. A dried, hollowed, open-backed gourd resonator, called a Cabaça, is attached to the instrument near its lower end; the resonator is held in place by a loop of string that passes through the top of the gourd and around both the wood and the wire of the bow. When it is played, the berimbau is held in an upright position, usually in the left hand-with the open back of the gourd against the stomach. The little finger of the supporting hand is slipped under the string that secures the gourd to the bow, while the ring and middle fingers are wrapped around the wooden pole just above the gourd. The index finger and thumb manipulate the dobrão, a thick metal disc or smooth stone that is pressed against the wire to generate different sounds during performance. Held in the other hand are a thin stick, roughly 12 inches (30 cm) long, called a baqueta, and a small rattle, called a caxixí. Using the baqueta to strike the wire of the berimbau and the dobrão and cabaça to control the instrument’s pitch, timbre, and resonance, the berimbau player generates an array of discrete rhythms known as toques. These toques are built from a combination of three fundamental sounds: a low pitch produced by the open wire; a higher pitch produced by stopping the wire firmly with the dobrão; and a nonpitched buzz, generated by allowing the dobrão to rest lightly against the wire when it is struck. Resonance and timbre are controlled by strategically pulling the gourd toward and away from the stomach. Meanwhile, the rattle underscores the strong beats of each rhythmic pattern.
Example of Atabaque in Capoeira Cork EDC
Atabaque is a drum used by Afro-Brazilian rituals. It then became an integral part of capoeira instruments. It's a large drum, usually set on a stand.
Example of Berimbau in Capoeira Cork EDC
Pandeiro is a brazilian version of european Tambourine. There few minor built differences. Pandeiro has been brought to Brazil by the first Feast of Corpus Cristi to Bahia in 1549. From that time, africans used it in their rituals and cults. It was later used in samba and became an integral part of Bateria.
Example of Agogo in Capoeira Cork EDC
Agogo is an instrument made out of 2 bells (sometimes 3 or more), mounted on one handlebar. A musitian strucks it with a wooden stick to produce a high-pith sound.