This feature is designed to spark your interest in researching the world of capoeira's vocabulary, history, and philosophy.

Our Capoeira Wiki-Word series invites you to research the word of the week and post your definition(s) and translations. At the end of each week, the entries will be reviewed and then summarized into a translation and a definition of the Capoeira Wiki-Word of the week.

Submit your entries in the comments section below!

This week's Capoeira Wiki-Word is:






Here is a little something I put together from my trip to Brasil this past December and January.  Enjoy!

(the translations are coming.  in the meantime, those of you up for a little Portuguese practice, take a crack at translating it and put your results in the comments section.)


Excerpt from "Música e oralidade, estética e ética: as cantigas no ritual e performance da capoeira 

angola"  / "Music and the oral, aesthetics, and etiquette: the songs in the ritual and performance of capoeira angola"


Rosa Maria Araújo Simões 

Doutora em Ciências Sociais – UFSCar – São Carlos - SP 

Departamento de Artes e Representação Gráfica – FAAC – Unesp/Bauru 


Levando em conta que o azeite de dendê é um importante tempero da culinária 

baiana, este corrido é cantado quando o jogo está “gostoso”, está bonito, bem elaborado, em 

que os jogadores estão, elegantemente, conversando por meio de seus corpos.

Bearing in mind that the oil of dendê is an importante seasoning from cuisine of Bahia, this corrido is sung when the game is "gostoso", is beautiful, well developed, in which the players are elegantly engaging in a physical conversation with only their bodies.


Translated by Guatambu (if you have any improvements for the translation contact me)


Bombinha added...

I knew if I waited long enough I'd get a chance to relate capoeira to agriculture.
So, dende is yet another thing that comes from Africa--west africa specifically, where it has always been an important food source. Oil palms were brought to Brazil during colonization, and didn't seem to be cultivated commercially (?) but did maintain their use and importance among African-brazilians. Palm oil was a hugely important product in international trade in the 1800s, and there were large-scale plantations in West Africa at that time (got that one from "a history of nigeria"--its on google books). so its possible that some slaves who were brought to brazil were coming from working in oil palm plantations?--maybe.

(Interestingly, oil palms are a very hot topic in the amazonian region of brazil right now, and really everywhere that has tropical rainforest. it has a lot of potential for use as a bio-fuel . . . and consequently oil palm plantations are taking the place of tropical rainforests as well as other important crops all over the world. its very controvercial. on the flip side, using red palm oil in cooking is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat vitamin A deficiencies--probably the number 1 vitamin A strategy all over Africa. Strangely, given its importance in Brazil, its not very available elsewhere in Latin America. the refined, clear stuff is, but not the red stuff.)

Its probably safe to assume that dende/palms/palm oil were very significant in the everyday lives of those early capoeiristas, and could be used as an analogy for a lot of things. Food cooked without oil is. . . maybe lacking in flavor, not very filling, and probably burnt. So maybe capoeira, without proper dende, would suffer the same way.