Bahia de Todos os Santos. Guide of the streets and mysteries
    Jorge Amado, 1977
    (27th edition)

    Berimbaus, the ones of mestre Waldemar

    Every tourist when leaving Bahia, returning home, takes with him, as a remembrance of the stay, a capoeira berimbau. It's nice: it's a colourful souvernir, strange, musical and easy to transport - the traveller takes the instrument in his hand and walks away.

    When buying, however, he wants to know if the chosen berimbau was made by mestre Waldemar, a reknowned capoeirista, in whose shrine in Liberdade, when he had his school open, went to play around great masters Traíra and Bom Cabelo, today gone. Waldemar's berimbaus have no competition, in the way they look and sound. Yet being the work of Waldemar the beautiful berimbau, a delicate trip souvenir, would not give a perfect sound, as it should be tuned, when the happy owner, returned home, presents to his friends the melody that mestre Gato taught him, if when buying the tourist forgot to demand a copper coin, indispensable for the clearness and harmony of the sound. The travellers shouldn't forget the coin nor the caxixi, necessary for the accompaniment. When it comes to the coin, pay attention to the quality of the copper and the revealing aspect of the emission date: there was latety a hemorrhage of false coins in the Bahia square - the painter Carybé was involved - and with a brass coin the sound of the berimbau looses and gets hoarse, sounding more like bagpipes. Seek advice from Camafeu de Oxossi, he's a berimbau soloist, an authority in the matter. Or with the masters Pastinha, Gato, Canjiquinha, with Waldemar himself, a straight-forward man.

    Post-Scriptum about the two Waldemars as an explanation of the people of São Paulo

    For the tourists coming from São Paulo, so numerous and likeable, an explanation imposes itself, to evade possible complications. Mestre Waldemar, capoeirista, the artisan maker of berimbaus, and the bahian Waldemar Sziniewski, resident in the capital of São Paulo, an art dealer, are not one and the same person, as the last has made to believe with determination. The first lives on Liberdade Road, the worker class neighborhood of Salvador, and is only occupied by his berimbaus, while the namesake lives in the rich neighborhood of São Paulo and sells in "The Gallery" (with high prices) oils, gouaches, sculptures, drawings, engravings, carving of bahian artists that he acquires in Salvador (for low prices). The two Waldemars have only the citizenship, the manual skills and an irresistible likeability in common.


    Peri-Peri, September 1944 [the time he completed this version - velhosmestres.com]
    London, June 1976

Flickr Photos

    New blog posts sent directly to your inbox

    Back to Top