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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Atabaque (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.

Submit your entries in the comments section below!

This week's Capoeira Wiki-Word is:





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To start... From

The atabaque (Brazilian Portuguese: [ataˈbaki], English pronunciation: /ɑːtəˈbɑːkiː/) is a tall, wooden, Afro-Brazilian hand drum. The shell is made traditionally of Jacaranda wood from Brazil. The head is traditionally made from calfskin. A system of ropes are intertwined around the body, connecting a metal ring near the base to the head. Wooden wedges are jammed between this ring and the body and one uses a hammer to tighten or loosen the ropes, raising or lowering the pitch of the drum.

The atabaque is used in Capoeira, Maculelê and the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. It is considered sacred in Candomblé.

There are three types of atabaque:

Rum: Tallest with the lowest sound. Rum-Pi: Medium height, with medium sound. Lê: Shortest with the highest sound.

In Maculelê and the rituals of Candomblé, as many as three atabaques are used (usually one of each type), but in Capoeira, traditionally only one is used.


A side note... by Guatambu

Mestre Bimba did not have an atabaque in his bateria.  The reason I have heard from his students was based on the perception of the instrument as sacred in candomblé.   Mestre Bimba's religion was candomblé, and he was well versed in it.  In a shrewd move for the adoption of capoeira by people of many different walks of life, Mestre Bimba wanted some separation between the worlds of candomblé and capoeira.  He deliberately did not include the atabaque in the bateria of his capoeira academy to avoid any misconceptions about capoeira and candomblé.  Again, this is what I have heard from students of Mestre Bimba, not any quote from the man himself.


Espantalho has some great insights into the drum's roe in African cultutes in the comments section below.


If you are feeling handy, you can try making one yourself...





Berkeley Batizado Early Registration Deadline

This friday is the last day for early registration for this year's UCA Berkeley Batizado and Encounter. Don't miss out on the opportunity to save a little bit of money. Even if you don't plan on being here for the whole event, please register online so that we can get an estimate for Housing, T-shirts, Food for BBQ, etc Help us make this an event to remember.



New Class Starting at USC!

That's right folks! We have a new class starting at USC on Monday. It will be from 6-7:30pm and will be open to USC students and the general public!

So, if you ever wanted class to start earlier on Mondays now you have an option!

Click the "Classes" tab in the menu bar above for all the details.