This week's entry is more a point of discussion that will hopefully clarify songs when you hear them in the roda.

One of the beautiful things about capoeira is that it is an art form of the moment, in that it's the blend of creativity, spontaneity, music, movement, fight, game, and humanity. It is in this context that we as capoeiristas of all skill and experience levels come together to participate in, and hopefully enjoy, each in our own way. This is the essence of a capoeira class, and perhaps most importantly, these are the parts that make up any roda on any given day.

The resulting sum of all of these elements is much greater than its parts, please pardon the cliché, but it couldn't be more true when it comes to a capoeira roda. The experience is simultaneously shared by all present, and created by all present.

So, what's this have to do with our Capoeira Song of the Week?

Well, quite a bit.

First, any capoeira song is really almost a template, or a tool for the individual singing it, whether it be the capoeirista leading it or the capoeirista singing its chorus.

For the capoeirista leading the song, there are the lyrics and melody, but then there is a great deal more. Once that person knows that song like the back of their hand, the melody and lyrics become plastic. They become another game for that capoeirista to play. The melody of the solo and the lyrics may change given upon what that individual is feeling, how those in the roda are responding, and, of course, what is happening in the game.

For those singing the chorus, they too have the melody and lyrics, and while the lyrics of the chorus may not change much, any capoeirsta fills the chorus with their individual spirit which may mean the melody changes, or the intonation changes, or perhaps they stay with the known melody and rhythm and imbue it with every shred of their humanity as a release from a day that may have changed their life or a day they would like to leave behind.

So, anyone that writes down a capoeira song's lyrics benefits from the simple fact that those lyrics, rhythms, and melodies are a template.

Now comes the crux of the issue. One needs to have an ownership of the song, lead or chorus, in order to let their humanity fill the nooks and crannies of a song in the ways described above. That means you have to learn it backwards, forwards, left, right, up, down, over, under, and through. Think this is an exaggeration? Just think about how differently the chorus of Paranuê is at a big batizado with a bunch of different groups versus a song that maybe is new, or is intricate, and not well known. The power of the calls and responses are night and day.

So, to put a bow on this... Learn a capoeira song until you know it as well as you know how to brush your own teeth. Sing it in the car, the shower, the elevator, and then with all your heart in the roda.

Why bother? Because your capoeira game, the games of your brothers and sisters in capoeira, and your mestre's game will all be better for it. You will leave that roda, and any other one like it changed for that day, and better than when it started.

I would argue, that's why we do this crazy thing called capoeira in the first place.


um abraço,






next week the regular format returns. send in your submissions!

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