• Correio Paulistano
     Capoeira is a masculine ballet 

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    Correio Paulistano, 16/Nov/1957


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      Correio Paulistano

      Bugaio on the berimbau commands the capoeira while his mestre hasn't arrived. "A stone hit another and my heart hit your's"


      The game of capoeira in mestre Waldemar's hut - Berimbau commands the game, but the pandeiro has its turn too - The bahian women and the coconut sweets - (Read on the 7th page of this deste section)

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      page 2

      Capoeira is a masculine ballet - The game of capoeira in mestre Waldemar's hut - Berimbau commands the game, but the pandeiro has its turn too - The bahian women and the coconut sweets

      Text by Araguaya [F. Martins]
      Photos by Chiquinho


      [the photo caption] Tourists have a place reserved in the capoeira of Mestre Waldemar. But the bahians, also, sometimes kill the longing for capoeira

      To the Pero Vaz street, in the Estrada da Liberdade neighborhood, in this Capital, is situated the capoeira of mestre Waldemar. Capoeira has been played in Brazil since the past century. Capoeira has a black origin and was introduced in the country by the bantu slaves of Angola. Its efficiency during a «real» fight was already proven by others.

      «This must have been the main reason for the repression that capoeira suffered during the times of mill owners, of imperial and republican police. But the negroes didn't stall to find a solution: the same way they camuflaged their religion with the one of their masters, they camuflaged the capoeira fight with pantomimes, mimicks and dances accompanied with music» – says Caribe in a documentary about the subject.

      And it was this that the violent fight known by the name of capoeira transformed into a «mens ballet», danced to the sound of berimbaus, caxixis, reco-recos and pandeiros. In the old days they used the mouth-berimbau, which is today substituted by the belly-berimbau.


      The game is realized according to the rhythm of the berimbau. There is a series of rhythms. The most known according to Caribe, are: Cavalaria, São Bento Grande (fast game), São Bento Pequeno (capoeira's samba), Banguela (close-up game, with a knife), Santa Maria (slow game), Ave Maria (capoeira hymn), Amazonas (middle game) e Iuna (low game).

      When the reporter arrived at the hut of Mestre Waldemar the capoeira was starting. Three berimbau players, 4 or 5 pandeiristas, formed the orchestra. The hut is coved with palm leaves. The place of the game is cemented, the spectators are separated from the fighters by a small fence.

      Out there the bahian women are selling coconut sweets, white others fry known tidbits of the «Good Land». The neighborhood is poor and overpopulated. It's Sunday. Except the tourists and some capoeira fans, nobody knows about it. Capoeira in Liberdade is probably a routine.

      To the rhythm of the music the music players sing:

      «One stone hit the other
      and my heart hit on yours»...

      «He is a mandingueiro
      Lets go away
      to the world beyond»...

      The capoeiristas continue in their evolutions. They can't touch their adversaries with a hand. On the ground only the feet and hands can touch.

      «They want to sell me shrimp»...

      «I went to eat some fish
      in Zé Anum's place
      Girl what sort of fish is this.
      This fish is tuna».

      The capoeirista pairs follow one another: Vanildo x Moíses, Vanildo x Manuel, Vanildo x Costa, Vanildo x Cabelo Bom.

      Bugalho, with the berimbau, commands the orchestra, Old Claudio plays the pandeiro. But, when mestre Valdemar comes, he assumes the leadership of capoeira playing the berimbau. Pau Brasil and Nelson are other good berimbau players, João de Deus and Valdemiro make art on the pandeiro. Traíra is the contra-mestre. He is also good with the berimbau.

      The exhibitions continue. Rabo de arraias, rasteiras, tesouras, cabeçadas are some of the many used kicks. To each attack corresponds an escape of the adversary, in the way that capoeira evolved into a masculine «ballet»... This game if well used could attract large audience in the great centres of the South and even abroad.

      Mario Cravao, the painter, explains to the reporter: capoeira is suffering some modifications that affect its ancient purity. So, Mestre Bimba, as is understood by some folklorists, made a huge disservice to capoeira, when he introduced to it various strange kicks. As a compensation Caribe and Mario Cravo , two painters, owe alot to capoeira, who die of love for Bahian things.

      In Caribe we encounter these capoeira verses:

      «Sinhazinha, what do you sell there?
      I sell rice from Maranhão
      My master sent me to sell
      In the land of Salomon.

      And the choir reponds to the mestre:

      ê ê ê
      The rooster sang cantô

      And the capoeiristas continue in their movements like two snakes, that dance without touching. In the centre of the terrain is put a handkerchief. One of the capoeiristas - the best - should pick it up with his mouth, while the adversary makes everything to stop him from doing it. The steps of the barbaric «ballet» continue. Cabelo Bom caught the handkerchief with the teeth receiving the applause of the spectators. Some notes are thrown to the ring of the fight to reward his effort.

      «One stone hit the other
      and my heart hit yours»...

      [the photo caption] We are fully on the Liberdade Road. There is situated the capoeira of Mestre Waldemar

      [the photo caption] Vanildo tried a rasteira but the adversary [M Waldemar?] escaped swiftly. There are some notes on the ground thrown by the spectators. In one corner Cabelo Bom observs the game

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