capoeira


  • Multiple newspapers of Brazil
     MESTRE PASTINHA'S DEATH
    14th Nov, 1981

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    Mestre Pastinha, 1981

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    • Jornal do Brasil

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      Deaths. States

      Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, 92, brain hemorrhage, in the Dom Pedro II shelter, where he was hospitalized for some months, Mestre Pastinha, "the guardian of capoeira de Angola", according to the writer Jorge Amado, was the most famous Bahian capoeirista. Capoeira de Angola is the most genuine dance-fight of the black slaves brought from Africa to Brazil and preserved in time by the help of Pastinha and other masters of the fight. "A support of the genuine dance of the slaves", is how the visual artist Carybe defines him.

      For years, Mestre Pastinha, maintained a capoeira de Angola academy on the square of the architectural ensemble of Pelourinho, where many capoeirista and mestres of the art-fight were formed. With the recuperation works of the colonial housing of Pelourinho, he was withdrawn hurriedly from the building, loosing his academy and objects that he demanded insistently from the Pelourinho Foundation: 14 wooden benches, berimbaus, atabaques, agogôs, reco-recos, his oil paintings, registry books of the academy, correspondence from abroad, flags and jacarandá furniture.

      Poor and without resources to rent another room to put his capoeira school in, Pastinha was put by the cultural foundation to one of the flats of the house number 14 on Pelourinho hillside. Due to the insistence of friends, journalists and politicians, the town hall of Salvador set up a monthly pension of three minimum salaries. While this happened, the building in which he lived and had his academy, became a luxorious Senac restaurant.

      Mestre Pastinha had been blind of 18 years and as he stayed idle, without the activity he dedicated his life to, since eight years old - he learned capoeira de Angola with a freed negro, called Benedito, later was a sailor, masor, joiner, but, above all, capoeirista - was a victim of a brain hemorrhage last year. He was hospitalized in the Hospital of Municipal Servants and, due to the lack of resources to keep him medically treated, his companion, Maria Romelia Costa Oliveira (Dona Nice), put him into the old peoples shelter Dom Pedro II. Dona Nice, according to Jorge Amado, protected him during the life and, with the blindness, kept him from being exploited. "Pastinha was a victim of many crooks and lives like a dog", unburdened the writer in 1978, critisizing the researchers of the black culture that absorbed information from Mestre Pastinha and gave nothing in return and complaining about the living conditions of the guardian of capoeira de Angola.

      In one of his last interviews, Mestre Pastinha spoke about capoeira de Angola: "The secret of capoeira dies with me and with many other masters. There is a lot of acrobacy and little capoeira. Capoeira is loving, it's not perverse. Capoeira isn't mine, it comes from the afrians. It's the sorcery of the african slave in Brazil. A custom as any other, a polite custom what we created among ourselves. It's a vagrant thing".

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      O Estado de São Paulo

      Mestre Pastinha dies

      [photo: Mestre Pastinha created the genre of Angola in capoeira]

      Abandoned in an old peoples' home, after years of misery occupying a cubicle in one of the alleys of the Pelourinho Slope, died yesterday, in Salvador, 93 [92] years old, Mestre Pastinha, the creator of capoeira Angola and one of the most popular figures of afro-culture and folklore of Bahia.

      Vicente Ferreira Pastinha was considered one of the most important people in the cultural formation of the bahians of Salvador. With his art he was one of the biggest boosters and spreaders of the folklore, culture and local habits, becoming one of the most-known of Bahia. This, however, didn't protect him from the unfortunes in the end of his life.

      In the 70-s, Mestre Pastinha, who formed generations and generations of bahian capoeiristas in the secrets of capoeira Angola, was thrown out from the building which for many years served him as an academy, on the Pelourinho Slope, due to the reform works of the arquitectual ensemble. In recent years, already blind, he was taken care by her wife, who was selling acarajé on the streets of Old Salvador. In 1979 he spent months in a pauper's bed in the Municipal Servants Hospital, recuperating from his second coronary. That time, after the local press announced the abandonment to which was relegated on of the symbols of the country, the parlamentaries in the Legislative Assembly requested from the government a place to stay and a pension for life for the old capoeirista.

      Mestre Pastinha, who was recently living in the Shelher D. Pedro II, in Cidade Baixa, didn't survive the new heart attack last dawn. He was buried in the afternoon in the Campo Santo cemitery. The Town Hall of Salvador paid for the burial.

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      O Globo

      Died at 93 [92] years 'the king of capoeira': Mestre Pastinha

      SALVADOR (O GLOBO) - At 93 [92] years of age, completely blind and in misery, died yesterday morning, in the Shelter Dom Pedro II, Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, the legendary "Mestre Pastinha", considered by many the best capoeirista of Brazil.

      Pastinha died the same day that the writer Jorge Amado, who gave him celebrity status making him a character in many of his books, inaugurated commemorative bibliographical exhibition of his 50 years of literature.

      The writer, however, despite being one of the few people who helped Pastinha sending him money on a regular basis, only knew about his death after the burial. The capoeirista died from a heart failure at 9 in the morning and was buried at 5 in the afternoon, in the presence of only his relatives, of the Health secretary of the municipality Edson Barbosa, of the town hall representative Nilton Morais and some capoeristas.

      For many years Pastinha was sick with "old age problems", as the doctors said, which was agravated by the state of misery in which he lived: he lived in a dark and damp cubicle on Alfredo Brito Street, in Pelourinho; slept on a matress put down on the cement; was under-nourished and without medicine. He didn't walk, speak, hear or see any more.

      CONDEMNED TO DEATH

      In November of 70, he was taken to the Municipal Servants Hospital in a poor state and, after showing some improvement, asked to stay living there, "if he wasn't troubling anyone". The doctors avoided doing this [..], saying that this could equal to a death sentence. As an alternative living place didn't come by, however, he ended up returning, two months later, the his room in Pelourinho, from where he was transfered in February this year to the Shelter Dom Pedro II.

      The economical problems and health of Mestre Pastinha started to become worse in 1973 1971, when he had to hand over to the State's Artistical and Cultural Patrimony Foundation, for restauration, the number 51 [19] building of Gregório de Matos Street, in Pelourinho, where he ran his capoeira academy: the Sport Centre of Angola.

      At the end of the works, the foundation transfered the building to Senac, and Pastinha received compensation, which he started to live on, besides three minimum salaries that he got from Town Hall. The mestre alleged the foundation had "finished with" all his belonging left in the academy, and always cried when he talked about this. Some time after, the foundation gave him a 43 square meter room to establish his academy, but the capoeirista never managed to make money with this.

      Pastinha, the most important mestre in Capoeira de Angola, dies without leaving any successors. His capoeira, learned from african negros on the streets of Bahia, was considered an art, because it was sticking more to cunningness and lightness, different from Capoeira "Regional" pracised today, which is more violent.

      PREDESTINED

      "I was born predestined to a mission: to fight capoeira. I won hundreds of adversaries, formed more that 10 thousand students. By my academy came people from colonel to worker, from soldier to politician, from writer to servant, from doctor to a sick boy who needed to exersize to develop joints. And I'm still here by the grace of God. He, I know, will not leave me to live like this forever. I can still fight".

      This is how in 1976 dreamed Vicente Ferreira Pastinha, "Mestre Pastinha" - receiving tourists in his dirty and suffocating flat in a colonial house of the Pelourinho Slope. He dreamed like this for some time, blind for 18 years and without his academy for 13.

      "He's a great master of our popular culture and should be supported by public authorities and the people, so that he could live with dignity", said Jorge Amado about him, defining him as "a guardian of invaluable value, which is capoeira de Angola".

      A little before losing his ability to talk, Pastinha himself said:

      "The secret of capoeira dies with me and many others. Also some things stays alive [..]. It's originating from the africans. From the africans something stayed with me. I herited some things. I'm the heir of the africans' art. But capoeira is brazilian, it's the national patrimony".

      For the visual artist Caribé he was "the conserving element and backbone of the genuine dance of the slaves". His students said: "He is the best capoeirista of Brazil. After Bimba died, only he was left from that generation of fighting angoleiros: Bigode de Seda, Bugalho, Américo Ciência, Besour, Tibiriçá, Amorzinho, Três Pedaços..."

      But the adepts of Capoeira Regional disagree. The ethnologist Waldeloir Rego, for example, author of the book "Capoeira de Angola", affirms: "He is a capoeirista as any other and should never be compared with Besouro, for example".


Pages dedicated to the Old Masters of Capoeira. Our idea is to rebuild and present their lives based on photos, videos, audios and historical texts.

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