«[My] second* journey was to Porto Alegre, to the I International Capoeira Festival, led by the Mestre.»
M Gildo Alfinete in Zoião, 1999
* The first was to Rio in 1961.
Newspapers about the event
THE ARTS OF THE OLD PASTINHA
Ribalta das RUAS
Antônio Carlos Ribeiro
Correio do Povo
Porto Alegre, 5th May 1963
Looks like I'm only talking to talk about giants and pigmies. The hero until today, for example, is an old bahian man of one and a half meters of height, legs bent, hair white, some teeth missing, and who always walks dressed in impeccable white. One of these old men we would give a seat in a tram. I however assure you that this timid 70-year-old is quite difficult for any free-fighter. The good man, when needed, wouldn't trust not a knife, nor a club, because he transforms in a fast eel, and an eel that has a trained heel to put the most argessive brutes to sleep. The ones who know the beautiful and dangerous capoeira game have already guessed that I am about to talk about an unusual man called Mestre Vicente F. Pastinha, who knows to feign as no-one else his physical force and, still better, his 74 well-lived years, encouraged definately by the pepper of vatapá and acarajé.
I am about to say that Pastinha is a boy with white hair. His spirit, at least, is clean and pure as that of a child, and his unnoticeable muscles are really that of a well-trained youngster. To the sound of the primitive and dissonant berimbau, that professor Carlos Galvão Krebs teaches us and that is the precursor of all string instruments, Mestre Pastinha transforms, becomes unbodily and unreal, but only for those who don't know all the secrets of capoeira. The cloud has hard-hearted legs and arms, that conquer the contender in a trice and, if they want to can even kick of a small donkies head. Mestre Pastinha explains with unhideable pride: "Nobody suspects the force of a heel!"
Pastinha started capoeira still a boy, and since then lives to this game, which more than a sport is a religious ritual with african influence. While the capoeiristas fight each-other, with hands planted on the ground and the legs turning in a strange ballet, the berimbau is changing the rhythm and the companions emphasize the beat with the hands in a semi-circle and help the old voices of a distant origin to reappear. A beautiful spectacle, with force, grace and lightness, what I haven't encountered in judo or in catch - pardon their practitioners - but undeniably with the same if not superior efficiency. And, still, this emotional and choreographed fighting style was forbidden by law. I don't know where I read that Marechal Floriano fought the police using it, and I think that the discrimination against the capoeiristas could have some racial background.
Pastinha was one of the heroes of this resistance. He stayed loyal to capoeira, made hundreds of "mestres", taught straight for more than half a century, and - oh the miracle of physical organization and the mental persistence! - he continues in the house in Pelourinho, 19, in front of the Capoeira Angola Academy, that today is presented as a highlight in the tourist route of the old City of Salvador. Capoeira is finally rehabilitated, with the constant help of the domestic folklorists, every time more active in the scientific difusion of the "Folk Knowledge", that now is done in the sessions of the I Brazilian Folklore Festival in Rio Grande do Sul.
To the folklorists, however, I suggest a corrective plan. Searching for the origins of the capoeira game, I encountered in the Little Brazilian Dictionary of Portugues Language a definition that to me looks to need to be rectified. There stands: CAPOEIRA - An athletic game where the individual armed with a razor or knife, and with fast and characteristical swirls, practises criminal acts. Listen, this is the opposite of the game. This could be thought of during Floriano's times. But if the Pope himself is revising the text of some prayers, to clean up the expressions that the other religious convictions and some other nations might feel pejorative, we should not permit that our dictionaries confuse the transcendental with secondary. It is time to change: CAPOEIRA - An athletic brazilian game, a match of agility, that demands fast reflexes and offers beautiful choreographic effects. And to the end a short reference to the greatest cultivators of the style. With Mestre Pastinha's heel pulling the ground in front...
FOLKLORE FESTIVAL IN P. ALEGRE
Correio da Manhã
5th May 1963
PÔRTO ALEGRE, 4 (Sucursal) - In the halls of Hotel Umbu started the 1st Brazilian Folklore Festival in Rio Grande do Sul, that will take place during the whole month and is supported by Hotel Umbu and by VARIG.
The Bahian group, led by the writer Vasconcelos Maia, director of the Tourism Service of Salvador, took the stage first, showing the porto-alegrenses Capoeira de Angola, with the crafty Mestre Pastinha, Samba de Roda, danced by the Daughters of the [Mother of] Saints of Minininha from Gantois and the rich exposition of photographical panels from the Recôncavo, of baroque and of the ceilings of the churches of Bahia.
Mr Carlos Galvão Krebe, director of the Institute of Traditions and Folklore of the Division of Culture of the Secretary of Education, took the stage also accompanied by the bahian folklorist Hildegardes Viana.
There was a presentation of the gaúcho folklore, by the Gaúcha Traditions Centre "Sinuelo da Tradição", led by Nilo Jacques. This group presented different typical gaúcha dances, welcoming the other groups from other States.
Folk groups from eight brazilian States will participate in the Festival during this month.
BAHIA WAS THE OPENING ATTRACTION OF THE FOLKLORE FESTIVAL
Diário de Notícias
Porto Alegre, 6th May 1963
The inauguration of the 1st National Festival of Folklore which presented to a huge audience the traditions and customs of Bahia was a great success on Wednesday night in the "Umbu Hotel". The ensemble of bahian folklore had as main attractions its groups of "capoeira" and "samba de roda", that pleased fully with their plasticity and beauty. Also much appreciated was the exhibition of the churches of Salvador (the city of 300 churches) with their original baroque art, presented in details, by enlarged photographs. During the course of the program, five real bahianas made for the audience that watched the Festival dishes of the "Good Land", such as "acarajé", "vatapá", "abará" and others. The photos register distinct phases of what was happening. On the first (to the left) the capoeiristas appear during a demonstration of their agility; the second details the show of the CTG "Gaúcho" that opened the Festival program, and the last, the "samba de roda" being danced by the bahianas of São Salvador. The bahian delegation came to Pôrto Alegre under the leading of sr. Carlos Vasconcelos Maia, director of the Department of Tourism of Salvador and the folkloric exhibition was lead by journalist Newton Sobral, and by the folklorist Hildegardes Viana.