MESTRE „GATO“ THE CAPOEIRISTA
Irlam Rocha Lima
In 1966 when Brazil participated in the I Festival of Black Art, in United States [actually in Dakar, Senegal - velhosmestres.com], he was among the invited by Itamarati to represent the Country, on the side of people such as, Camafeu de Oxossi, Pastinha, Ataulfo Alves, Heitor dos Prazeres, Paulinho da Viola and Elizete Cardoso.
In past July, he was in the United States. Together with babalorixá Olga Alaketo and a group of 13 people connected to the bahian art and folklore, participated in a festival named "African Diaspora", that aimed to demonstrate the african roots and origins and its ramifications in the Antilles and Latin America.
It's Mestre "Gato", a capoeirista as good as the famous Bimba, Pastinha, Cobrinha Verde, Waldemar, Canjiquinha, Traíra, Lúcio Goes (his father) or the legendary Bezouro.
Mestre „Gato“ is in Brasília. He will stay here for some time, to set up an academy, teach the capoeira secrets to the people of Brasília and show his art that was already applauded by great audiences in France, Portugal, United States, Mexico and Nigeria.
„LOOKS LIKE A CAT“
„This D. Luzia's boy looks like a cat. He will end up in capoeira too". Since he was thought so much to look like a cat, he ended up being called "Mestre Gato". Capoeirista already 32 years, at 19 years old was already considered a "tough guy". He learned capoeira with his father Lúcio Goes, "because that time there were no books about the subject,
nobody, yet, was discussing if it was art or sport. It was, only, a black practise, african, and surrounded by a lot of mysticism, that the time undertook to dilute".
The golden phase of capoeira rodas. The academies didn't exist yet and capoeira was the privilege of a few people, its techniques passed from mouth to mouth, from father to son. The capoeiristas formed a closed group, which originated from the most humble classes of the population.
The first academies came about around 1955. Bimba's, in Amaralina and Pastinha's Pelourinho. This time, Mestre "Gato" became the youngest "Mestre". He gained the first students, organized the first groups. His works started to get noticed. Already in 66 he made his first trip abroad, went to the United States [Dakar, Senegal - velhosmestres.com], invited by Itamarati. From there on he's been always travelling, around Brazil and other continents, but his roots always stuck in Bahia.
ART AND PROFESSION
The applauses, the trophies and the diplomas of Honour, conquered during the time of his career, however, are not sufficient to provide a living for his family. With a lot of difficulty he maintains, without any official support, two academies in Bahia. One on Báu Street, in Garcia and other in Boca do Rio. Who run these are two of his students: the son Gatinho [M Zeca, José Souza Góes] and Espinho Remoso.
Teaching capoeira, what he receives from students is too little and to have a decent life, uses other professions, of which he is also a master: blacksmith and berimbau maker. When he is not teaching capoeira, or showing his art in cultural and touristic entities, he is busy making metal or wood objects.
They say that nobody can make a berimbau like he can, in Bahia, where also, was chosen the best berimbau player [in 1970 - velhosmestres.com]. And this public recognition of his enormous artistic virtues doesn't let him weaken. These compensations, the respect of the people and the love of his sons makes his continue fighting.
„Now I'm in Brasília. This is a new phase of my career. I came searching the unknown. I want to bring my knowledge to the habitants of this city. For this I will set up an academy, where I will teach capoeira to children and adults. And the girls, also, can participate".
Since Monday Mestre "Gato" will receive enrollments of students in the academy that will be located in Grêmio Esportivo Braziliense, in "Park Way". Besides capoeira he is going to teach maculelê, samba de roda, birimbau; and form a folkloric group, for shows in theatres, schools and cultural entities.
40 years old and still agile and flexible as a youngster, Mestre "Gato" will start a new phase in his life. He got to know the glory, travelled abroad, received applauses and hommages, raised his sons and continues day after day to fight for survival. With two weapons: his art of capoeirista and his blacksmith profession.