Cantigas de Capoeira

Lyrics, Translation, comments, etc. We are very proud of our new CD and we want to share with you some parts of it. In this section, we are offering you not only the translation of the lyrics, but also comments on the meaning of some words and on the cultural context in which those words function. We believe that those insights are important for our American students who want to learn about the cultural context in which capoeira thrives. Please note, that the orthography of some of the words is phonetic in the way that capoeira people speak. This CD was a very fun project and we truly believe that it materializes our statement in its insert: “Capoeira is a celebration of joy without boundaries“. We also want to thank all of our friends for the support, to Mestre Olavo for the berimbaus we used in this recording and to our students for their enthusiasm and constant inspiration. Among the students, Mark Rendón (Bateria) was an essential participant with his good will and positive presence as Assistant Producer. A couple of words of concern. It is very common for any of us to pick up material that we like and to place them out of its original context, creating a different image from the one intended by the author. Therefore, we ask all of you who are reading this material to be careful when quoting it, because we are dealing with deep cultural values of a people who have devoted centuries of their life to capoeira. Please, be careful to not distorting it and consequently misrepresent capoeira. Love capoeira for what it is and then it will love you for what you are. Mestre Acordeon Band 1:BERIMBAU DE OURO Lead singers: Acordeon, Destino (Destani Wolf-Bravo) and Cravo Comments by Mestre Acordeon

Literally, berimbau de ouro means “berimbau of gold.“ When people use the term “de ouro,“ however, they mean something very precious. One of the musical pieces I like the most was recorded by Vavá, who died in 1998. He was the son of Popó de Santo Amaro (Paulino Aloisio de Andrade), the man responsible for preserving the art form of maculelê. Without Popo, maculelê probably would have disappeared as did many other popular AfricanBrazilian expressions. In Vava’s album recorded in 1984/88 by the Instituto Nacional do Foclore MEC/Brasil, Vavá sung in his Ladainha. “O meu berimbau de ouro, eu deixei no Carimbó...“ This gave me the idea of singing “I left my golden berimbau in the Gantois“. Gantois is the neighborhood of a famous candomblé. Candomblé is the name of the social organization of African-Brazilian religions and beliefs. For many years, the Candomblé in the Gantois was guided by the tender, sweet hands of Mãe Menininha, one of the most famous mãe de santo (candomblé priestess) of all times. The high point of this recording is Destino’s vocals, bringing another dimension in terms of musical quality to this piece. O meu berimbau de ouro, minha mãe, eu deixei no Gantois O meu berimbau de ouro , minha mãe, eu deixei no Gantois É um gunga bem falante que dá gosto de tocar Eu deixei com Menininha para ela abençoá Amanhã as sete horas p’ra Bahia vou voltar Vou buscar meu berimbau que deixei no Gantois, Ha! ha! I left my berimbau of gold in the Gantois It is a gunga (a bass berimbau) with a good voice that pleases one to play. I left it with Menininha for her to bless. Tomorow at 7 am I will go back to Bahia. I’m going to pick up my berimbau de ouro that I left in the Gantois. E viva meu Deus.

Angola ê mandigueira. “to commit yourself. p’ra lhe ver. embalanca. eu deixei no Gantois Eu sai da minha terra por ter sina viajeira Caminhando pelo mundo. p‘ra lhe ver Vou manda leco Cajuê vou manda loia Cajuê Lecô. wobble. “ It also means if you take a fall in life. It steps in the roda. camará Ai ai Aide Joga bonito que eu quero ver joga bonito que eu quero aprender Joga bonito que eu quero ver Joga bonito que eu quero aprender Angola ê. showing all the power of its voice. I comment on my berimbau saying that “it is made of beriba wood with a nice gourd and it was given to me by Mestre Bimba.“ Sacudir a poeira really means “to go for it“. uma cabeça bem maneira Mestre Bimba que me deu Entra na roda. embalança.. ensinando capoeira Amanhã as sete horas p’ra Bahia vou voltar Vou buscar meu berimbau que deixei no Gantois. Capoeiristas always go for it during the jogo. Angolá. embalança Berimbau e feito de beriba. camaradinho. eu deixei no Gantois O meu berimbau de ouro. embalança. Then.Eh a capoeira. minha mãe. it does not make sense a sentence such as: “shake the dust. minha mãe.. Literally. They may stumble but they will always find a way of not falling too badly. paraná Vou mimbora. “to step on the gas“. embalanca. Eh viva meu Deus Eh é hora é hora Eh vamos embora It is difficult to translate “sacode a poeira. Paranauê Vim lá da Bahia pra lhe ver Vim lá da Bahia pra lhe ver Vim lá da Bahia pra lhe ver P’ra lhe ver. opens its chest and sings the rhythms of Iuna and Banguela. Angolá Vou mimbora pra Bahia amanhã eu vou pra la Vou jogar a capoeira no mercado popular Paranaê. abre o peito e sai falando toca Iuna e banguela mostra o som que Deus lhe deu O meu berimbau de ouro. embalançá“ reminds me of a popular expression in Portuguese that can be translated as: “whoever goes on the crest of the wave goes wobbling. paranaê. embalança“. Ai ai aide Olha joga bonito que eu quero aprender Ai ai aide *** . wobble. “Embalança. vou mimbora como ja disse que vou paraná Paranauê. loiá Eh sacode a poeira. you should shake the dust and to move forward immediately.“ whoever takes the initiative also takes the chance of not performing very well.

Galo was a great capoeirista who studied with Mestre Joel in São Paulo. It elevates the spirit and it inspires me I play capoeira to free my soul I’m talking about capoeira! Eh capoeira-a-a It is a game that makes the body swing around . Therefore. specially the one bellow. however. This was the very first capoeira song I ever fell in love with. Capoeira que vem da Bahia Vem da terra de São Salvador Mande um abraço pra ela E diga pro meu amor Diga que estou pra morrer de saudade Capoeira me chamou Tico tico canta na mata Sabia’ canta na laranjeira Nunca vi roda de samba Sem jogo de capoeira Eh beriba e’ pau de fazê berimbau Beriba é pau De fazê berimbau Capoeira that comes from Bahia It comes from the land of São Salvador Send a hug to my love and let her know that I miss her to death and that capoeira is calling me “Tico-tico“ bird sings in the woods Sabiá sings on the orange tree I’ve never seen a “roda de samba“ without being followed by capoeira games Biriba is a wood. he instilled in all of us a great love for the art. His capoeira group with many good capoeiristas was called “Meninos da Ilha. I rewrote my own version of the song. I decided to start with it because it brings back good memories. Mestre Evaldo Lopes “Galo“.one of the first students of Mestre Suassuna from Itabuna city in the interior of Bahia -. a small city in the Island of Itaparica. I could only remember the chorus part. because capoeira is history and tradition. This song was one of his preferred canto de capoeira. the senses come together at the hand shake.he was teaching in Mar Grande. I always loved his songs..Band 2: MANDE UM ABRAÇO PRA ELA Lead singer and comments by Mestre Rã. It reminds me of my first teacher. E toma sentido No aperto da mão Que a capoeira E’ historia e tradição Eleva o espirito Para me inspirar Jogo capoeira Pra pode me libertar Eu falei capoeira ai ai Eh capoeira ai aia E’ um jogo que balança o corpo pra la’ e pra ca’ Eu falei capoeira ai ai ai Attention. He never gave to his students a very formal capoeira class. the wood to make berimbau When I met Medicina .“ Among his students there was a great songwriter and singer named Barão da Ilha. using the same chorus.

in the streets of Rio. I decided to include a song about the city of Rio de Janeiro which has a long capoeira tradition.Entrou pra historia No Brasil colonial Lutou em batalhas Virou luta nacional E deu volta ao mundo E o mundo virou Em terras alheias a todos encantou It made history During the colonial times It fought in battles to become a national fight And it went around the world turning the world around. a capoeirista nicknamed Manduca da Praia become famous and well respected for his memorable fights using his inseparable cane as an efficient weapon. He is a hero in many capoeira songs such as this one: Que barulho e’ esse e’ um tal de zum zum zum? Foi o Manduca da praia que acabou de matar um Quando a policia chegou foi um tal de auê. In the late 1800’s. One way or the other. Bahia. enchanting all. a kind of zoon zoon zoon ? That was Manduca da Praia who just killed another one When the police arrived it was a big mess Let's get out of here 'cause this fight is for real *** . auê Vamo simbora seu moço que essa briga e’ pra vale What noise is that. most of the songs in this CD mention the city of Salvador.

sim . sim. capoeira player He used to play hard and “manhoso“ our true art. Capoeira is an art that comes from the African of worth who used head butts to free himself from the slave hunters. one kind of feline quality. sorcerer power of the candomblé people. it is capoeira of Bimba Nowadays I’m amazed with so much bull. apparently soft and unharmful but wise and sharp on the stalk of the prey. such as the talk that capoeira is only a playful game Not taking into consideration its glorious past and history as a true fight. da Pituba a Ribeira Quilombola mandigueiro jogador de capoeira Jogava duro e manhoso. In capoeira. the pitch was really high for my vocal range. roots and africanicity. I did not want to sound bitter or upset about the diversity of opinions because I am not.) It is not capoeira angola. Quilombola mandigueiro jogador de capoeira Mestre Bimba era o rei. Manhoso: a quality of who has “manha“. capoeira player Mestre Bimba was the king from Pituba to Ribeira Quilombola full of mandinga. Vocabulary: Quilombola: people who lived in the quilombos (maroon society of the 19th century} or those with a positive proposal for the black people’s self affirmation. não Oi. including the knowledge and use of rituals. não. At the same time. I believe that the contemporary discourse of capoeira is at fault in many aspects and I wanted to protest by bringing up some qualities and characteristics of Mestre Bimba: his style. First of all. *** . Oi não. I do welcome this diversity because it means that people from many walks of life have been bewitched by the capoeira enchantment. mandinga encompasses several qualities. Mandigueiro: Someone who has the knowledge of mandinga. sim.. nossa arte verdadeira Brincadeira tem hora Joga com garra e mandinga Esse jogo é tinhoso não é angola É capoeira de Bimba Joga com garra e mandinga Esse jogo e tinhoso não é angola É capoeira de Bimba Hoje em dia me espanto Com tanto papo furado Se dizer que capoeira É somente brincadeira Esquecendo a sua historia O seu passado de glória Como luta verdadeira Capoeira é uma arte Do Africano de valor Que usava a cabeçada P’ra se livrar do feitor Oi. sim. There is a time to full around (which is not at this game) Play with your guts and mandinga because This game is “full of edges“ (demanding.. sim. não Quilombola full of mandinga. não. sim. Oi Não. trick.Band 3:BRINCADEIRA TEM HORA Lead singer and comments by Mestre Acordeon This song was one of the most difficult for me. tricks and cunning. this is the song with the highest charge of emotion in this recording. Second.

but in other versions of this traditional song. In this song. I imagine myself at the berimbau. “I hunt without dog or cat“ I mean that I make do with what I have. the expression “Who does not have a dog will hunt with a cat. But every capoeirista likes to brag from time to time about how good they are. This is part of the game’s ritual.“ So when I say. getting ready for a rough game. Camujerê como tá como tá Camujerê Como vai vosmecê Camujerê Eu vou bem de saúde Camujerê Para mim é um prazer Nem tudo que reluz é ouro Nem tudo que balança cai Nem tudo que reluz é ouro Nem tudo que balança cai Cai cai cai cai Cai cai cai cai Capoeira balança mas não cai Not everything that shines is gold Not everything that stumbles falls Capoeira stumbles but doesn’t fall . and even with what I don’t have. Iê viva meu mestre Iê quem me ensinou Iê a capoeira Bentivi botô gameleira no chão Bentivi botô Gameleira no chão Botô que euvi Gameleira no chão Botô botô Gameleira no chão Bentivi (a Brazilian bird) took the Gameleira tree down. Camará. The capoeira moral of the story is the smaller opponent can still take the big guy down. Eu nasci foi de repente Sem parteira e nem Dotô Saltei fora bem ligeiro Minha mãe nem sentiu dô Eu caço sem cão nem gato Porque sou bom caçadô De mulé eu tive muita Mas nehuma me pegô Agora cabei de crê Que general num é dotô I was born suddenly Without midwife or doctor I jumped out into this world so quickly That my mother felt no pain * I hunt without dog or cat Because I am a good hunter I have had lots of women But none ever caught me Now I just believed That general is not a doctor * In portuguese. people sing of a crab from the swamps of the Bay of All Saints that takes the Gamaleira tree down by pinching the roots with its claws. or that strength and size don’t always count in the jogo de capoeira. Capoeiristas sing their songs in different ways. normally done in the form of singing but with such an absurd exaggeration that it is actually funny. In this case... I sing about a bird.Faixa 4: EU NASCI FOI DE REPENTE Lead singer and comments by Mestre Rã Modesty is a great quality that every capoeirista should cultivate.

Foi você quem me disse Que filho de Bimba não cai It was you who told me That Bimba’s son won’t fall May fall. madeira de jacarandá Eh beriba é pau é madeira. madeira de tocar *** . avisa meu mano. gunga é meu Gunga é meu foi meu pai quem me deu This gunga is mine my daddy gave it to me Valha-me Deus. Angola and Regional Gunga é meu. avisa meu mano. senhor São Bento Vou cantar meu barravento Valha-me Deus senhor São Bento Buraco fundo tem cobra Dentro Madeira de masaranduba. capoeira mandou me chamar Capoeira é luta nossa da era colonial E nasceu foi na Bahia Angola e Regional Let my brother know that capoeira sent for me Capoeira is our fight from the colonial era It was born in Bahia. may fall Capoeira stumbles but doesn’t fall Dona Maria do Camboatá Ela chega na venda e manda botá Dona Maria do Camboatá Ela chega na venda e da salto mortá Dona Maria do Camboatá É do Camboatá é do Camboatá Dona Maria do Camboatá Santo Antônio é protetor Da barquinha de Noé Santo Antônio é protetor Cariri boca da areia Santo Antônio é protetor Nazaré Paranaguá Santo Antônio é protetor Nega que vende aí Camujerê Lembaê lemba Lemba do barro vermelho Abalou capoeira abalou *** Faixa 5 AVISA MEU MANO Lead singer and comments by Mestre Acordeon Avisa meu mano.

“ in his own rhthym but he always get his message across because he has capoeira in his veins and soul. a todos eu vou louvar. camaradinho Viva meu Deus Good evening. I went to the church to confess my sins. agora vou perguntar Onde mora o Waldemar Voce ouviu ele cantar aonde mora o Waldemar Agora vou perguntar Onde mora o Waldemar Oh sister who is selling goods on the street Where does Mestre Waldemar live? Did you hear him singing? Where does he live? Mestre Waldemar.one bit ahead of the right tempo. voou. He also was very famous for making berimbaus and organizing a roda de capoeira every Saturday by his school at the .. with axé and great love. idea and opinion The life is a whirlpool. todo mundo a girar Gira roda. spin world. everybody spinning around Spin wheel.. dia de Oxalá Vou rezar p’ro meu santo me abençoá Quem não pode com mandinga não carrega patuá Olha Santa Maria mãe de Deus. this art of true worth. a todos vamos louvar Hoje é dia de festa. roda gira vamos la. An art form that he taught me with a smile on the face. When I sing “who can not handle mandinga does not carry a patuá“.. Let’s go play.. he who taught me how to play capoeira I’m thankful to Mestre Bimba for whatever I know about this playful game. mother of God. com axé e com amor Vadiar na malandragem e lhe dar o seu valor Cada qual tem seu caminho. da licença vou cantar Vou cantar para o meu mestre que me ensinou a jogar Agradeço a Mestre Bimba o que sei da brincadeira Dessa luta mandigueira. I ask for your blessing. my good people I want to salute all of you because today is a celebration day. He taught me how to go around the world and how to give capoeira its worth. Long live my god! Olha Santa Maria mãe de Deus. day of Oxalá I’m going to pray to my saint to bless me Who can not handle mandinga does not carry a patuá Saint Mary. I sang the entire first part of this song .. that one day I will record in its entirety. Each one has his or her own path. a contemporary of Mestre Bimba was one of the greatest capoeira singers I ever met. I went to the church but I did not confess. goes along with a very popular saying from Bahia that means something like “if you can not stand the heat get out of the kitchen“. mother of God. Oh nega que vende ai.. Oxalá! I’m asking permission to sing because I’m a capoeirista and I want to sing to my mestre. about this fight full of mandinga.Faixa 6: CANTANDO ATRAVESSADO Lead singer and comments by Mestre Acordeon Once a student of mine Orlando Green wrote a ladainha for me in which he said that “capoeira voou. Boa noite gente fina Boa noite gente fina. sua benção Oxalá Eu também sou capoeira. my friend.the ladainha . the roda is spinning. trying to recreate the unique mood which my dearest friend Mestre João Pequeno brings out while singing out of the rhythm.. “Cantando Atravessado“ also means singing off rhythm. “Cantando Atravessado“ came about because of Orlando’s ladainha. I did that intentionally. Patuá is a little bag full of magical (sacred) stuff that people carry around their necks to protect themselves against evil eyes and bad influences.. senhores. Orlando’s lyrics stuck in my mind. Today is a celebration day. the meaning was that capoeira flew through the world because of Mestre Bimba’s work and my teachings. sua ideia opinião Vida é redemoinho. gira mundo. João usually sings: “Boa noite meus. eu fui na igreja vou me confessar Hoje é dia de festa. eu fui na igreja não me confessei Saint Mary.“ In the context of his lyrics. arte de muito valor Que ele me ensinou sorrindo.

I should have sung: “licuri botá dendê. It refers to an odd thing that may happen during a jogo. Who has never seen. Nicouri quebrar Dendê In reality. Meste Bimba avoou Eh foi por céu e não voltou Seu Pastinha avoou Canjiquinha avoou Eziquiel avoou O Vermelho avoou He flew away. tão falando mal de mim Oh não me deixam sossegar Vou benzer meu patuá Tão falando mal de mim Agora vou acordar I’m sleeping deeply and dreaming and they are talking badly about me They do not let me rest quietly I’m going to bless my patuá because they are talking badly about me And now. nicouri quebrar Dendê Quem nunca viu venha ver. Mas to dormindo to sonhando. I’m going to wake up Olha chora menino Menino chorou Porque não mamou Cala boca menino Oh menino danado O menino é chorão O menino chorou Porque não mamaou The baby is crying because he did not breast feed Be quiet little boy This boy is a crying baby He is crying because he did not eat Quem nunca viu venha ver.“ Licuri is a kind of tree and dendê is the seed of the read palm tree. Eziquiel and Vermelho also flew away Adeus Corina Dandão Dandandan dandarandão Good bye Corina Dandão! *** . ah meu Deus. Mestre Bimba flew away He went to heaven and did not return Mestre Pastinha flew away Mestre Canjiquinha. after recording a CD in which Mestre Canjiquinha also participated.. voou.Liberdade neighborhood.. come now to see The nicuri braking dendê. He died a couple of years ago. Voou.

*** .Band 7: JOGO ARREPIADO Lead singer and comments by Mestre Acordeon Lá na mata escura. sim. não. o galo cacarejou Nessa roda mandigueira o jogo arrepiou Ole-le-ô. macaco) This is one of the onomatopoeic lyrics when the grammatical form of the words are completely distorted to sound good with the music. cai bananeira A bananeira caiu The machete hit (sliced) low and the banana tree fell down Normally we use this song in the game when some one took a nice and clean rasteira . Oi sim. o galo cacarejou Nessa roda mandigueira o jogo arrepiou Ole-le-ô o jogo arrepiou Ole-le-ô o jogo arrepiou. However. sim. macá“ doesn't mean anything. and red palm oil (Azeite de Dendê). dried shrimp. a technique using the feet to sweep the opponent. mas hoje tem amanha não Oi sim. sim. não. não Oi sim. cai. “Quebra milho como gente. cai bananeira A bananeira caiu Cai. não Mas o facão bateu em baixo. xuá Xuê. coming soon. xuê. including traditional Brazilian Food recipes. macá Quebra la mi cumugê. Oi não. When we say the “game itself got goose bumps“ it means that the game becomes difficult. Oi não. não come do vatapá Quem não tem o couro grosso nessa roda vai sobrar Ole-le-ô. sim. comadre A banananeira caiu Mas o facao bateu em baixo. não. macá (Quebra milho como gente. “quebra la mi cumugê. xuá Lá na mata escura. Quem não quer melar o dedo. cashew. xuê. cai. See the recipe in the section of Cultural Environment. sim. challenging and fight oriented. macaque. o jogo arrepiou Down far into the dark jungle the rooster sang In this roda full of mandinga the game itself got goose bumps. cai. Mas eu pisei na folha seca eu ouvi fazer xuê. o jogo arrepiou Who does not want to get their finger dirty Does not eat the Vatapá Who does not have a hard skin will be left out of this roda Vatapá is a typical food from Bahia made with stale bread. sim. cai. não Mas hoje tem amanhã não. xuá eu ouvi fazer. xuê. compadre A bananeira caiu Cai. macaco“ means exactly break corn like people. Oi não.

we initially recorded atabaque. It did not stand up to the power of my fellow musicians. I tried the berimbau and it did not work. The didjiridu is an Australian wind pipe made of Eucalyptus that was hollowed out by termites. Its roots are deep in the soil of Mother Africa like the roots of a gigantic baobá tree. a musician that. It is a traditional instrument called Yidarki in its original tongue.Band 8 CAPOEIRA MAGIA Voice by Destino. plantada pelos orixas para absorver o legado de ancestrais distantes“. didjiridu by John Miguel. once in a while. This means: Capoeira is a magical art. kalimba (thumb piano) by Daniel Randolph. atabaque by Mestre Rã. Suas raizes estão fincadas no solo da mãe Africa como raizes de um baobá gigante. laid down by the Orixás to absorb the legacy of distant ancestors. I took my voice out. comes to our classes and plays with us. . My original plan was to play berimbau along with the other instruments. and agogó and comments by Mestre Acordeon. Well. It symbolizes the penis in a story about fertility. Destino’s voice came about so beautifully. as an encompassing experiment of interaction with these instruments and my own voice. xequerê and reco-reco by Bateria. However. I brought in John Miguel with his Didjiridu. Later. In this song. My voice-over says: “Capoeira é uma arte mágica. agogó and xequerê with a thumb piano played by Daniel Randolph.

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