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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Axé (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:

Axé

Update

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Carybé- Festa do Pilão de Oxalá.jpg
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Excerpts from the website CANDOMBLE - Uma Religião sem Mistérios a Serviço do Povo.  

Translated by yours truly Guatambu (any improvements to the translation contact me)

O Axé

A magical energy, the universal sacred of the orixá.  A powerful energy that is always neutral. Manipulated and directed by men through the orixás and their symbols and/or elements. "

The most precious of Ilê*, axé is the force that ensures dynamic existence.It is transmitted, should be maintained and developed, as all forces may increase or decrease; and this variation is related to the activity and conduct of the ritual.The conduct is determined by the scrupulous observance of the duties and obligations of each holder of axé, yourself, orixá, and Ilê.The development of individual and group axé affects the axé of the Ilê.

* - Ilê requires its own definition here.  Ilê is basically synonymous with terreiro.  A terreiro is a temple or house of candomblê.  Think of it like you would your local church, synagogue, mosque, or buddhist temple. Each of these types of houses of worship have their unique characteristics in terms of symbols, architecture, look, and feel, and the same is true for a terreiro.   - Guatambu

"The axé is connected to the initiated, and directly proportional to its ritual conduct -  the relationship with his deity, his community, his duties and his babalorixá (priest of candomblé)."

The strength of the axé is contained and transmitted by certain elements and material substances, is transmitted to humans and objects, maintaining and renewing the powers of accomplishment.The axé is contained in a variety of representative elements of the kingdoms: animal, vegetable and mineral, water (fresh and salt), earth, and forest (untamed vegetation or urban space).It is contained in the natural and essential substances of each being whether simple or complex, living or dead, that make up the universe.

There are places, sounds, objects and body parts (especially animal) impregnated with axé.  For example, the heart, liver, lungs, gizzard, kidney, feet, hands, tail, bones, teeth, ivory, genitals, roots, leaves , river water, sea, rain, lake, pool, waterfall, orô (prayer), Adja (sort of bell), illus (drums) ... 

Every ritual act and offering involves the transmission and revitalization of axé.To be truly active, these ritual acts and offerings must come from the combination of those elements that allow for a specific result or achievement.  To receive axé means to incorporate the symbolic elements that represent the vital and essential principles of all that exists.

Xerife pointed out Mestre Acordeon's song "Pedir o Axé", and added the lyrics with translation below...

Vamos pedir o axé

(Lets ask Axé)

Pressa roda começar

(So this round can begin)

De conforme os fundamentos

(Within the fundations)

Capoeira e candomblé

(Capoeira and candomblé)

Axé Babá

(Axé Babá)

Oh ie viva Meu Deus! AXÉ BABÁ

(Oh yea viva my god! Axé Babá)

Oh Ie viva Seu Bimba! MEU CAMARÁ

(Oh yea viva my Bimba! My friend)

Oh ie é mestre meu! SEMPRE SERÁ

(Oh yea you are my master! ALWAYS WILL BE)

Oh ie volta do mundo! QUE O MUNDO DÁ

(Oh yeaa the world spins! That the world does)

Vamos pedir o axé, meu pai! MEU PAI XANGô

(Lets ask axé, my father! My father Xangô)

Vamos pedir o axé, minha mãe! IEMANJÁ

(Lets ask axé, my mother! IEMANJA)

Vamos pedir o axé, meu rei! REI OXALÁ

(Lets ask Axé, my king! KING OXALÁ)

Vamos pedir o axé, meu pai MEU PAI XANGÔ

(Lets ask Axé, my father MY FATHER XANGÔ)

Reparado added from Mestre Acordeon's book...

"Aché (Axé, Asé) is the magic force that moves all things in the universe according to the African religions in Brazil. It exists in all realms of nature and can be transmitted through specific rituals. Although Capoeira has no direct connection with religion, the capoeiristas, as the majority of Brazilians, are related one way or another with Afro-Brazilian rituals. Aché in Capoeira means the connection with the roots, a special energy to be developed by any capoeirista. To wish aché to someone means to wish good luck. For those who believe, some special people transmit aché through their wishes."

p.6 Almeida, Bira(Mestre Acordeon). Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1986. Print.

Espantalho added...

“At the heart of this Yoruba religion is the concept of àse, an individual’s personal spiritual power, which grows throughout life through a person’s diligent application to doing good deeds, coupled with appropriate and calm behavior and with service to the gods in the form of sacrifice. The reciprocity of service between gods and humans is essentially the giving of strength, the renewal of àse to the orisa through blood sacrifice of animals designated as belonging to a specific deity. Renewed and grateful deities in turn bless their supportive worshipers with added ase. The rules of this loving support between humans and gods are all known to that father-of-all-knowledge, the babalawo”

~The Way of the Orisa by Philip Neimark p. XII

Babalawo is a priest of Yoruba religion.

“The orisa are energy that, for the most part, represent aspects of nature. Osun (pronounced O-SHUN) represents sweet waters, love, money, conception; Sango (pronounced Zhan-GO) represents thunder and lightning, strategy, and he is the warrior; Esu (pronounced A-shew), messenger to Oludumare (the single God), owner of roads and opportunities, owner of ase (spiritual energy)…”

~The Way of the Orisa by Philip Neimark p. 14

“In Ifa, blood sacrifice is usually undertaken for major problems and for initiation. When an animal has been used to remove illness or misfortune, its flesh is not eaten. When an animal is offered as part of the process of initiation or for the enhancement of some joyous moment such as childbirth, marriage, or the opening of a new business, the animal will be skinned and prepared for cooking. The meal of that animal is thought to carry powerful àse, or energy, and is good for all who partake. In this, Ifa is very similar to the Hebraic concept of kosher. The animal is made kosher when the rabbi lets its blood while offering prayers to God. The act of making something kosher was not intended to be restrictive but rather transcendent; the individual eating the kosher food is supposed to acquire the spirituality of the sacrifice itself. And as in the Jewish tradition, in Ifa only a trained holy person (babalawo, or priest) who has been initiated into the use of the knife can perform the ceremonies”

~The Way of the Orisa by Philip Neimark p. 38

For people who have a problem with blood sacrifice, eating a chicken sandwich is no different.

“Esu is also the possessor of divine ase, the inner energy and power that allows us to access the right side of the brain and use its powers. Ase is similar to, but more than aura, soul, or spirituality. It is a living, breathing, palpable flow of energy that can either increase or diminish, depending on our behavior.”

~The Way of the Orisa by Philip Neimark p. 76

O Pé, who is from Nigeria and brings from his own experience growing up there, added...

Axé (Àse, in yoruba spelling) is one of those words that I always heard as a kid but never translated. As far as I was concerned, translation was pointless because the context of its use was quite foreign to "western" cultures. The word usually came up in call-and-response exchanges between a priest/medium and a supplicant. The supplicant would bring a sacrifice or offering to the medium who would then present it to the gods. During the presentation, the medium invokes the blessings of the gods on behalf of the supplicant. The supplicant responds with "Àse" after each invocation. The simplest such ritual involves a medium pouring out libations in celebration of some important cultural event. So I guess in my mind, "Àse" is just a word used to claim the blessings of the gods; very much similar to the way christians say "amen" after a prayer.

I hesitate to refer to the context as "Yoruba religion". To the "un-westernized" yoruba person, the gods, libations, sacrifices and all things spiritual are an inextricable part of life. The spiritual laws are simply part of the mechanics of the observable world - the physical laws are not enough. In that sense, I contend that it's just Yoruba culture.

That's my take on it. I don't know how it applies to capoeira. I have always been puzzled by its widespread use in Brazilian hybrid religions since I assumed (probably incorrectly) that the majority of slaves in Brazil were not acquainted with Yoruba culture.

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Capoeira Fitness Tip of the Week

This feature is designed to give you functional training tools for your off days when you are not training capoeira. We will be looking at various exercises that we will have as resources for you to devise a strategy for your overall physical development as a capoeirista.

The goals are:

Overall Physical Health

Promoting Longevity

Improved Performance in your capoeira training and game

This is a great exercise for the wrists.  I have to admit i was really excited when I saw it. It's quick and effective... always a great combination!

Remember patience and gradual progress are your friends when trying to build the kind of strength we use in capoeira.  Imagine where you will be in not too long with the conditioning we do at the end of class!  Woohooo!

Enjoy!

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Capoeira Song of the Week: Se Pudesse Eu Voltava No Tempo IaIá

You submit the songs.  We show you the lyrics, translation, and give some phonetic spelling to help your pronunciation.

The format works like this:

The lyrics in Portuguese are in bold

The phonetic spelling for pronunciation is in italics with the      STRESSED SYLLABLES IN ALL CAPITALS with syllables se-pa-ra-ted by   dash-es

The English translation is in regular text

 

Per Risos's request...

 

Se Pudesse Eu Voltava No Tempo


(coro/chorus)

Se pudesse eu voltava no tempo iaiá

See pooh-DEH-see eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh ya-YA

If I could back in time Yaya

Se pudesse eu voltava no tempo ioiô

See pooh-DEH-see eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh yo-YO

If I could  back in time Yoyo 

Se pudesse eu voltava no tempo iaiá

See pooh-DEH-see eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh ya-YA

If I could back in time Yaya

Eu voltava no tempo ioiô

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh yo-YO

I would go back in time Yoyo  

Eu voltava no tempo iaiá

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh ya-YA

I would go back in time Yaya

 

(solo/lead verses)

 

Eu voltava para ver Mestre Bimba jogando,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr MEHS-tree BEEM-bah zhoh-GAHN-dooh

I would go back to see Mestre Bimba playing,

Eu voltava para ver seu Pastinha tambem,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr seh/oo pahs-TEEN-yah tahm-behng

I would go back to see Pastinha also,

Eu voltava para ver seu Traira,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr seh/oo trah-EE-rah

I would go back to see your Traira,  

Eu voltava para ver Waldemar,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr wahl-deh-MAHRH

I would go back to see Waldemar

Eu voltava para ver Besouro Mangangá,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr bee-ZOH-rooh mahng-gahng-GAH

I would go back to see Mangangá Beetle,

Se pudesse

See pooh-DEH-see

If I could

 

Eu voltava para ver Atenilo jogando,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr ah-teh-NEE-loo zhoh-GAHN-dooh

I would return to see Atenilo playing,

E ouvir cantar Mucungé,

ee oh-VEERH cahn-TAHRH moo-koon-ZHEH

And hear Mucungé sing,

Eu voltava para ver Caiçara,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr kigh-SAH-rah

I would return to see Rascal,

Eu voltava para ver Paraná,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr pah-rah-NAH

I returned to see Paraná,

Eu voltava para ver Onça Preta e Aberré,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr OHN-sah PREH-tah ee ah-beh-HEY

I returned to see Leopard and Aberrê,

Se pudesse 

See pooh-DEH-see

If I could

 

Eu voltava para ver a luta do Batuque, 

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr ah LOO-tah dooh bah-TOOH-key

I returned to see the fight of Batuque ,

Eu voltava para ver o brilho da navalha,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah PAH-rah vehr oo BREEL-yooh dah nah-VAHL-yah

I returned to see the flash of the razor

Na Bahia para ver Mestre Noronha,

nah bah-EE-ah PAH-rah vehr MEHS-tree noh-ROHEENG-ya

In Bahia to see Mestre Noronha,

No Recife para ver Nascimento Grande,

nooh heh-SEE-fee PAH-rah vehr nah-see-MEHN-tooh GRAHN-jeeh

In Recife  to see Nascimento Grande,

E no Rio para ver o Manduca da Praia,

ee nooh HEE-ooh PAH-rah vehr oo mahn-DOOH-cah dah PRIGH-ya

And in Rio to see Manduca da Praia,

Se pudesse

See pooh-DEH-see

If I could

 

Eu voltava no tempo de sinhá,

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh deeh seeng-YA

I would go back in time mistress,

Para ver como tudo aconteceu,

PAH-rah vehr KOH-mooh TOO-dooh ah-kohn-teh-SEH/OO

To see how it all happened, 

Se pudesse eu voltava no tempo,

See pooh-DEH-see eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo TEHM-pooh

If I could go back in time,

Eu voltava no engenho e na senzala

Eh/oo vohl-TAH-vah noo ehng-ZHENG-yoo ee nah sehn-ZAH-lah

I would return to the plantation and slave quarters

Para ver como a capoeira nasceu,

 PAH-rah vehr KOH-mooh ah kah-pooh-EY-rah nah-SEH/OO

To see how capoeira was born,

Se pudesse

See pooh-DEH-see

If I could

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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week:  Madeira de Lei (Update)

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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Madeira de Lei (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:

Madeira de Lei

ps

Don't forget to cite your sources!

Update

Madeira de Lei literally translates to "Wood of Law" in English.

 

From Wikipedia...

A origem do termo remonta ao tempo da chegada da família de Dom João VI ao Brasil. Na "lei", foram estabelecidas algumas espécies para uso exclusivo da coroa, notadamente para a construção naval e de dormentes de ferrovias; da lista original, entre as que estão abaixo, dizia a lei incluir as espécies Mogno e Guanandi, pelo fuste cilíndrico e qualidades navais desta madeiras.

The origin of the term dates back to the arrival of Dom João VI's family to Brazil. In the "law", some species of trees were established for the exclusive use of the crown, especially for shipbuilding and railway sleepers; the original list, among those listed below, the law stated that  the species Mogno and Guanandi were included, for the cylindrical shaft and shipbuilding qualities of these two types of timber.

 

Madeira de Lei designa, em sentido mais amplo, no Brasil, as madeiras que, por sua qualidade e resistência, principalmente ao ataque de insetos e umidade, são empregadas em construção civil, naval, confecção de móveis de luxo, instrumentos musicais e artigos de decoração. Costuma apresentar aparencia com cores marcantes, do bege-amarelado passando pelo amarelo, vermelho a marrom escuro, dependendo da espécie; a superfície costuma ser lisa e lustrosa; além de pouca distinção entre cerne e alburno; assim, as madeiras "brancas", ao contrario das de lei, tem muito alburno, aparencia feia e apodrecem facilmente. Dependendo do grau de dureza ou trabalhabilidade, os usos e cada espécie tem destinações preferenciais. Assim, madeiras duras e pesadas servirao para portas de segurança, pisos ou móveis pesados como tampos de grandes mesas, como o Ipê, o Pau-ferro, o Jatobá, o Jacarandá-da-bahia, o Angelim. Madeiras que não absorvem umidade como o Guanandi para embarcações e construções externas; e madeiras mais macias para mobiliário entalhado, como o Cedro, o Mogno e o Ypê-felpudo.

"Madeira de Lei," more broadly, designates in Brazil, woods, whose quality and resistance, mainly to insects and moisture, are employed in construction, shipbuilding, manufacture of luxury furniture, musical instruments and articles of decoration. Usually these woods have appearances with striking colors, beige-yellow through yellow, red to dark brown, depending on the species, the surface is usually smooth and glossy, besides little distinction between heartwood and sapwood, while on the other end of the spectrum "white" woods , the opposite of the law, have a lot of sapwood, are ugly in appearance, and rot easily. Depending on the degree of hardness or workability, each species is preferred for diverse allocations. Thus, heavy hardwoods serve as security doors, floors and heavy furniture like slabs of large tables, such as Ipê, Pau-Ferro, Jatobá, Jacarandá-da-bahia, Angelim. Woods that do not absorb moisture such as Guanandi for boats and outdoor buildings, and softer woods for carved furniture, like Cedro, Mogno and Ypê-felpudo

So we have expanded on the idea of Madeira de Lei.  The term has also come into everyday speech as a way to refer to someone or something.  Madeira de Lei is good wood, so if someone or something is referred as Madeira de Lei, then they are or that thing is high quality.

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

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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Lavagem (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:

Lavagem

ps

Don't forget to cite your sources

Update

Another one of those simple on the surface translations.   

Lavagem translates to English as "wash."   It's true it could be a car "wash" or any other idea like that.

However, it also has another meaning in Afro-Brasilian culture.   Below is one example, and a famous one at that.

From Wikipedia... 

The Festa do Bonfim (Feast of Bonfim) is one of the most important annual popular celebrations in Salvador, starting on the second Thursday after Three Kings Day (January 6). On this Thursday, the faithful gather in front of the Church of Conceição da Praia, in downtown Salvador (Baixa), including a large group of Bahia ladies (bahianas) in traditional white costume, with turbants and long, round skirts. After mass, the faithful take part on a procession that leaves the Church of Conceição da Praia and, after an 8-km course, reaches the hill of the Bonfim Church. Upon reaching the top, the bahianas wash the steps and the square (adro) in front of the church with aromatised water while dancing and singing chants in Yoruba language. The washing ritual is called the Lavagem do Bonfim (Washing of Bonfim) and attracts a multitude of believers as well as tourists.

The celebrations last ten days and end with a massive mass in the Bonfim Church. Many worshippers come from far away to honour vows taken with Our Lord of Bonfim. The church has a museum of ex-votos brought by the worshippers in gratitude after receiving a divine grace. The feast includes stands serving traditional food, souvenirs, traditional dances and concerts by local musical groups.

Even though the feast is Catholic in its origins, it also reveals much about the religious syncretism between Catholicism and African religions in Bahia. In the Candomblé religion, Our Lord of Bonfim is associated with Oxalá, father of the Orishas and creator of humankind. Indeed, people dress in white during the feast to honour Oxalá.

 

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

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Capoeira Wiki-Word of the Week: Subúrbio (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:

Subúrbio

ps

Don't forget to cite your sources

Update

 Subúrbio literally translates to "suburb" in English.

As you can see from the pictures above, our ready definition of the "'burbs" doesn't quite match up with its Brazilian counterpart. 

Subúrbio when used to describe a Brazilian neighborhood is generally referring to a poorer part of town.  It's an interesting paradox in terms of our reference vs. the Brazilian one... 

In the US it's tipical that the rich live high on the hill, and the commoners down below.  In a city like Rio de Janeiro, it is the exact opposite.   

In the US, the affluent escape to the suburbs, but the poor are overwhelmingly who live in the subúrbio in Brazil. 

There is a great deal of beautiful people and their cultural manifestations to be experienced in the Brazilian subúrbio.  Capoeira can be your ticket to that experience, but you will want to have a friend(s) in the right place(s).

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