Mestre Waldemar of Pero Vaz, besides making the best berimbaus of Bahia, is a great capoeirista and one of the best of tough guys of the past, having played with Pastinha, Bimba, Totonho Maré and many others. Nowadays he plays only on Sundays, when wearing white shoes, white trousers, a checkered shirt, watch and gold rings, he returns to the old times of fights of his favourite sport, of which he speaks with enthusiasm without speaking badly of any capoeirista, without speaking badly of anyone. He exchanged capoeira for the berimbau that he makes with all of love, and challenges: «These are the best of Bahia, yes mam and I bet that in playing the rhythms or singing I win over any capoeirista or berimbau player».
A great capoeirista, Waldemar Rodrigues da Paixão, mestre Waldemar Pero Vaz, where he lives since 1940, didn't become a professional, nor founded an academy, but he made a name and students inside capoeira, that he brought from Ilha de Maré to show that it's not only the city of Salvador that makes people good in the fight of Angola. And showing a colored berimbau, striped with gold, green, white and red, with different ribbons of Senhor do Bonfim: «This is the "Ace of Gold", my favourite berimbau, that I carry with me for six years already and from what I pull the rhythms to call men to an honourable fight in the Angola field. Who doesn't believe me, come to judge himselg and see who is good».
A MORTAL KICK
Capoeira is not a deadly fight and the only mortal kick was created by Waldemar, who says: «The Dentinho de Angola can kill, yes mam, it's the curb the body and take the heel of the shoe to the Adam's apple of the adversary. I don't teach this kick to my students, I don't want them to kill anybody by accident. It's my cat's leap.» But today Mestre Waldemar is tired and only plays for distraction. But still he denies that capoeira is in crises and affirms: «Now it's the time that capoeira is evolving, ganing public. See, even you sought me to make a report about her. In the old days, it wasn't like this. Capoeirista was a marginal, a tough guy, that fought the police. Today the people practise the Angola well.».
Mestre Waldemar doesn't know capoeira Regional. For him only Angola exists, created in Brazil, but all the same affirms: «I don't know exactly how capoeira started. It wasn't in my time and I won't start telling lies or saying that I knew someone I never saw. What I know, is that capoeira is different. In the old days we played in a pressed white suit, impeccable shoes and didn't stain ourselves. Even less that the adversary would be disloyal and put his shoe against us. But it was dishonest, it's not like today, that you catch capoeirista with your hand. In my time you played capoeira only with your feet and head, in an agile and fast fight, and the thing that counted was to have a good head and fast feet».
«I was in Rio de Janeiro only once», continues Mestre Waldemar, «but it was worth it. It was in 1953, when I took part of Dorival Caimi's show "It so happens I'm bahian" and I stayed there for 45 days. You know, my lady, when the opportunities arose and I gave my price to show up, other capoeiristas came and asked for less and got in my way and there my trip went». Student of Mestre Talabi from Periperi, Waldemar do Pero Vaz is a peaceful capoeirista that doesn't critisize anybody, only gives praise to the greats of the past: «The deceased Agripino de Periperi, Pastinha, Totonho de Maré, Barbosa do Cabeça weights carrier, the capoeirista with the best technique I ever saw, Onça Preta, that went to Rio and I don't know if he's dead or alive».
BERIMBAU AND MUSIC
Today Waldemar do Pero Vaz dedicates himself more to the rhythms and the berimbaus and makes songs. One of these even talks about going to the Moon: «I've gotten bored living on the Earth / mom, I'll go to the Moon / I told my wife and she responded / we'll
go if God wants it». What proves that the old capoeirista is a good man presently. And he points out capoeiristas of the future that were his students. José Cabelo Bom and Zacaria da Boa Morte the ones to continue his tradition. «But what I want to do now really, are the berimbaus, with a sound so nice, commanding the Angola, in Cavalaria, São Bento Grande, São Bento Pequeno» and concluded: «who wants to see me come here on Sunday, to Pero Vaz when I'll give a berimbau I made myself, as homage to mestre Caiçara».
«The great tradegy», concludes Mestre Waldemar, «is that Bahia is clogged with capoeira masters, nobody gets along, but the people are the eternal and guaranteed judge and they will name who are the real masters, the owners of truth. But what is worse, it that every master speaks bad about others, there is no union, nobody thinks that the class should be united. Look, lady, see the example of doctors: a person is being treated, a doctor gives a medicine and the patient goes there to Nina [hopsital Nina Rodrigues - velhosmestres.com]. Other doctor examines him, sees that the medicine caused the death, asks who treated the patient, but doesn't poisonously critisize the colleague. They are a unified class. But these capoeiristas fight even among themselves.».