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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Bahia (Update)

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.

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This week's Capoeira Wiki-Word is:





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From Wikipedia... (Their page is full of great information about Bahia.  Check it out!)

Bahia (Portuguese pronunciation: [baˈi.ɐ])   is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size. Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador, or more properly, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, and is located at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints, first seen by European sailors in 1501. The name "bahia" is an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word baía, meaning "bay".

As the chief locus of the early Brazilian slave trade, Bahia is considered to possess the greatest and most distinctive African imprint, in terms of culture and customs, in Brazil. These include the Yoruba-derived religious system of Candomblé, the martial art of capoeira, African-derived music such as samba (especially samba's Bahian precursor samba-de-roda), afoxé, and axé, and a cuisine with strong links to western Africa.

Bahia is the birthplace of many noted Brazilian artists, writers and musicians. Among the noted musical figures born in the state are Dorival Caymmi; João Gilberto; Gilberto Gil, the former (2003–2008) country's Minister of Culture; Caetano Veloso and his sister Maria Bethânia (Gil and Veloso being the founders of the Tropicália movement (a native adaptation of the hippie movement) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which ultimate gained international recognition); Gal Costa; Luis Caldas; Sara Jane; Daniela Mercury; Ivete Sangalo; Carlinhos Brown and Margareth Menezes.

The city of Salvador is also home to famous groups known as "blocos-afros", including Olodum, Ara Ketu, É o Tchan, and Ilê Aiyê. Additionally, groups such as Chiclete com Banana also are based in Bahia. The first well-known rock'n roll singer in Brazil was also from Bahia. Born Raul Seixas, he was known as "Maluco Beleza" or "Peaceful Lunatic" (being "beleza (beauty)" in this manner means to be either "in peace" or "tranquil").

During the 19th century, one of Brazil's greatest poets, the Bahian abolitionist poet and playwright Castro Alves, a native of the recôncavo city of Cachoeira, penned his most famous poem, Navio negreiro, about slavery; the poem is considered a masterpiece of Brazilian Romanticism and a central anti-slavery text.

Other notable Bahian writers include playwright and screenwriter Dias Gomes, Gregório de Matos, who wrote during the 17th century and was one of the first Brazilian writers, and Fr. Antonio Vieira, who during the colonial period was one of many authors who contributed to the expansion of the Portuguese language throughout the Brazilian territory.

The major Brazilian fiction writer of the 20th century, Jorge Amado, was born in the southeastern Bahian city of Itabuna, and resided for many years in Salvador. His major novels include Gabriela, Cinnamon and Cloves; Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands; and Tieta, the Goat Girl, all of which became internationally renowned films. More recent writers from Bahia include the fiction writers João Ubaldo Ribeiro and Jean Wyllys, winner of Big Brother Brasil 5 in 2005. In the visual and plastic arts, one of the best known Bahian figures was the multigenre artist and Argentinian native Hector Julio Páride Bernabó, also known as Carybé (1911–1997). Fine examples of his work are visible in the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador.


From Mestre Nestor Capoeira's "The Little Capoeira Book" page 11...

In turn-of-the-century (1900) Bahia, the capoeira was often seen as a criminal.  But the players and the game exhibited all of the traits that still characterize it to this day.

The persecution and the confrontations with the police continued.  The arrt for was slowly extinguished in Rio (de Janeiro) and Recife, leaving capoeira only in Bahia.  It was during this period that legendary players - feared players, de corpo fechado such as Besouro Cordão-de-Ouro in Bahia, Nascimento Grande in Recife and Munduca da Praia in Rio, who are celebrated to this day in capoeira verses - made their appearances.


From Mestre Acordeon's book "Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form" page 111...

My youth was a wonderful time.  I spent my afternoons free as the wind, hiking in the woods of my neighborhood.  Many times I played soccer in a meadow with a narrow stream cutting from one side to the other.  When it was raining, the small Campo do Boi (Field of the Cow) became a sea of mud which made the games more enjoyable.  Often the games were interrupted by fights among the players.  I remember some of the usual winners, bigger and older kids that I swore to beat later.  One day one of the fighters said, "I'm going to take judo classes.  Soon I will be a black belt and that guy will never beat me again."  Another kid replied, "Why judo?  Go study Capoeira because it is cheaper than judo and you will get the same results."

Living in Salvador, I had seen Capoeira many times, mainly at Conceição da Praia party.  My family used to go together to give thanks to the Virgin of Conception of the Beach on my mother's birthday.  However, that day in the Campo do Boi, Capoeira touched me. 


A quote from my father...

Every famous Brazilian artist seems to claim they are from Bahia in some way.  Whether true or not, it seems that being from Bahia is a desireable thing.


A side note...

Bahianos, people from Bahia, especially those from Salvador, generally speaking refer to the capital of Bahia, Salvador, simply as Bahia. 


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Capoeira Video of the week

Here we get to see Mestre Olavo from Bahia showing some of what makes him one of the premier berimbau craftsmen in the world.  For those of you that have purchased one of his berimbaus, you know the quality of his work.  

Here is the english translation of what he is saying. Sorry, no subtitles available yet in the movie itself. 

Section I:

I'm an artisan, I am a capoeirista. I work with those kinds of things... with berimbau... with capoeira... with the music of capoeira. Making artisanal musical instruments like atabaque, pandeiro, reco reco. Musical instruments of capoeira. 

Section II:

So that's it... One person learning, teaching the other... We see that I might be good at what one thing... My friend Guatambu might be good at one thing... Mestre Acordeon might be good at one thing... Macarrão might be good at one thing... Same for my friend over there... One teaches the other. I teach Guatambu, and Guatambu teaches me, and the same is true for my friend... What's your name? -Reinaldo -Reinaldo. It's always that way. I have never stopped learning. You have people that will say, 'I'm good. I am a mestre. I know all there is to know.' Nobody knows everything. Maybe I am good at something, but then I might see something new. It will get me curious. One can never stop learning. You'll have things the I do that Guatambu doesn't do, and the opposite is true. He's newer in capoeira than me, so he has different things that he might be accustomed to doing... Things I may have never seen. So I learn from him, and he learns from me. So, in capoeira you never have the best... You always have one enriching the other.