Instrutora Tremor Mortal’s Capoeira Music Practice Material

last updated 5/15/2024

Material from 5/15/2024

This was a song shared by Profesor Saracuru at the event with Mestre Lobão this weekend. The origins of the song are uncertain to me at present. (coro in red):

De braços abertos
Esperando agora.
Cristo Redentor[1]
Está me esperando
Na chamada[2] de Angola.

De braços abertos
Esperando agora.
Cristo Redentor
Está me esperando
Na chamada de Angola

Cristo capoeira
É cartão postal
Está me observando
E a bênçãoando
Ao som do berimbau.

De braços abertos
Esperando agora.
Cristo Redentor
Está me esperando
Na chamada de Angola

Translating:

The open arms
Are waiting now.
Cristo Redentor[1]
Is waiting for me
In the chamada of Angola[2].

The open arms
Are waiting now.
Cristo Redentor
Is waiting for me
In the chamada of Angola.

Capoeira Christ
Is a postcard
Is observing me
And a blessing
In the sound of the berimbau

The open arms
Are waiting now.
Cristo Redentor
Is waiting for me
In the chamada of Angola.

NOTES

[1] Here, “Cristo Redentor” (literally “Christ the Redeemer”) refers to the landmark 100-foot high Art Deco statue atop the peak of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro.

[2] The song makes a pun out of the position of the figure iof the statue which looks like the position of a capoeirista in a common chamada or ritualized ‘call’ from capoeira de Angola. This reference to the statue also layers geographic meaning as a defining feature of Rio de Janeiro’s landscape, which is one of the major settings for capoeira and its culture. Of course, there are also spiritual layers to the pun and metaphor as well. Recording to come!

Material from 4/20/2024

We practiced a fun corrido that mestre Pedro Cruz has been teaching us lately. This is a fun song because, like “Sobe coqueira, tira coco”, and like “A Mare Ta Cheia Ioiô”, you have to listen carefully to the lead to know which of the two responses to sing. And like the latter song, this one hinges on ascent and descent. (coro in red):

Passa na cidade baixa

Sobe de elevador[1]

Passa na cidade alta

Desce de elevador

The above two lines may repeat and the leads may be switched or replaced with one another. The bolded text indicates which lead word calls for which response. Continuing…

Na antiga Praça Cairu[2]

Mercado Modelo[3] Salvador

The above call and response lines may repeat a few times.

Nhe nhe nhe nhe nhe nhe nhe nhe!

Iô iô iô iô iô iô iô—ô!

Translating:

Pass by the lower city

Ascend the elevator[1]

Pass by the upper city

Descend the elevator

In the old Praça Cairu[2]

Mercado Modelo[3], Salvador

NOTES

[1] The “elevator” is, of course, the Elevador Lacerda, which connects the lower city (“cidade baixa”) near the docks in Salvador with the upper city (“cidade alta”), including the nearby Pelourinho neighborhood, atop a steep cliff a few hundred feet above. This is one of the rare public elevators in the world. Another, the Elevador do Carmo is in Lisbon, Portugal, and still a third municipal elevator is in Oregon City!

[2] Praça Cairu[Portuguese] (also Praça Maria Felipa, and Praça Visconde de Cairu) is a commercial plaza in the lower city very close to the Elevador Lacerda. The Mercado Modelo is located there.

[3] The Mercado Modelo[Portuguese] is a market for locally-produced Salvadoran goods, and signifies greatly in the history of Salvador, Bahia, and in capoeira.

Here’s a simple recording of me singing the melody for each pert. I need to check that the melody for the final line is correct, so this may change (download .mp3).

Material from 3/30/2024

We learned and practiced what we believe is a medley from Mestre Lobão of “Angola Que Tem Dendê” and “Bota Pra Roda Zé Zé” (coro in red):

Dendê é do dendezeiro
Caju é do cajueiro
Mandinga é do mandingeiro
Angola é dos Angoleiros

Ja falei para você
Angola que tem dendê
Angola que tem dendê
Angola que tem dendê

Angola que tem dendê
Angola que tem dendê

Tum tum tum bateu na porta
Mariá vai ver quem é
E se é o capoeira
—Chega na ponta do pê
Bota pra roda Zé Zé
Bota pra roda Zé Zé

Bota pra roda Zé Zé
Bota pra roda Zé Zé

Emboladinho, emboladinho, emboladinho
Emboladinho, emboladinho, emboladinho

Emboladinho, emboladinho, emboladinho
Emboladinho, emboladinho, emboladinho

Translating (initial attempt! Confirmation, and notes to come):

Dendê is from the dendê seller
Cashew is from the cashew tree
Mandinga is from the mandingeiro
Angola is from the Angoleiros

I already told you
Angola’s got dendê
Angola’s got dendê
Angola’s got dendê

Angola’s got dendê
Angola’s got dendê

Bang bang bang knocked on the door
Mariá went to see who's there
And if it's a capoeira
—Arrives on tip toe
Put it in the roda, Zé
Put it in the roda, Zé

Put it in the roda, Zé
Put it in the roda, Zé

All balled up, all balled up, all balled up
All balled up, all balled up, all balled up

All balled up, all balled up, all balled up
All balled up, all balled up, all balled up

Material from 3/23/2024

We practiced toque Iúna, which is maybe the most technically sophisticated of the common capoeira toques. Several sources claim that the toque was developed by this or that mestre, but to me its origins seem likely obscured. If we say it while we play it it is phrased (bold indicates the notes that are to be played unmuted with the rest played muted, and this is critically important, as the character of this toque is lost without proper muting and unmuting):

Don-ch Tch-Tch Don-ch
Don-ch Don-ch Tch-Tch
Don-ch Don-ch Dong-Dong-Dong-Dong
Don-ch Don-ch Don-ch
Tch-Tch Don-ch Don-ch
Dong Dong Dong
Dong Dong Don-ch Tch-tch
Don-ch Don-ch Dong-Dong-Dong-Dong
Don-ch Don-ch Don-ch
Tch-Tch Don-ch Don-ch

The bolded notes on the first four lines form the “bones” of the toque, and the following lines are variation. Recording and more details about variations in what is muted when coming soon!

Material from 3/16/2024

We practiced the basic toque of the samba de roda as played on the berimbau. If we say it while we play it it is phrased:

Dong Tch-Tch
Dong Tch-Tch
Dong Tch-Tch-Tch
Don-ch Dong

Recording coming soon!

Material from 2/17/2024

Ela Joga Capoeira” is a ladainha by Mestra Suelly (one of the first American capoeira students, and the first woman born in the USA to become a mestra):

Na Lagoa do Abaeté[1]
Na Lagoa do Abaeté, ora meu deus
Encontrei Dona Sinhá[2]
Tava lavando o abadá,[3] ora meu deus
Pra dançá no Candomblá.
Ela joga capoeira.
Ela joga capoeira.
Todos sabem como é:
Joga homem e menino, ora meu deus
E também joga mulher.
Mestre Pastinha falou,
E mestre Bimba confirmou,
Todos podem aprender, ora meu deus,
General també doutor.[4]
Sou mulher, eu sou Maria![5]
Sou mulher, eu sou Maria!
Capoeira de valor
Doze Homems[6] me chamavam, ora meu deus
É melhor saber quem sou, camara.

Translating:

In the Lagoa do Abaeté[1]
In the Lagoa do Abaeté, oh my God!
I found Dona Sinhá[2]
She was washing the abbey[3], oh my God,
To dance in Candomblé
She played capoeira.
She played capoeira.
Everyone knows how it is:
Men and boys play,oh my God,
And woman also play.
Mestre Pastinha falou,
And Mestre Bimba confirmed,
Everyone can learn, oh my God,
General also doctor.[4]
I am woman, I am Maria![5]
I am woman, I am Maria!
Capoeira of value
They called me Doze Homems[6], oh my God!
It's better to know who I am, comrade.

[1] Lagoa do Abaeté is a lagoon in Itapuã, which is the small suburb north of Salvador, Bahia where Mestre Acordeon grew up, and where Projeto Kirimure is centered. See also note [3] below.

[2] Dona Sinhá is a respected Black Baiana woman. I will research other signifiers in this name.

[3] The literal translation “abbey” may (I need to confrim with further research) refer to the terreiro, or a place sacred for Candomblê practitioners, of Ilê Axé Abassá de Ogum which is located at Lagoa do Abaeté. A lavagem is a washing and consecration of sacred spaces preparatory for Candomblê rituals.

[4] The line “general também doutor” is from a ladainha of Mestre Pastinha, and has been borrowed in other ladainhas. This is a way of saying capoeira holds space for many kinds of people. There is also a capoeira song which remarks that the doctor is no general (perhaps a commentary on knowledge which serves in one social class, not having much currency in another social stratum). I will try to research more about this expression and update these notes in the future.

[5] Brazil, having a strong Catholic influence (including through Candomblé’s syncretism of Catholic, Yoruba and other West African religions), places a lot of value on the Marias as expressions of womanhood, particularly in a spiritual context. The name Maria here also probably refers to a specific person. See note [6].

[6] Maria Doze Homems, was a capoeirista who played in a time (maybe the 1920s or 1930s) where fewer women were in the art. This apelido maybe indicates ‘as strong as twelve men’. The last line in contrast the the penultimate line may connote “It is better to just be me” in contrast to the reputation given one by others. Thanks to Mestra Papagaio and Instrutore Rainha for helping me interpret this line.

Here’s a recording of Instrutore Rainha singing “Ela Joga Capoeira” a capella once solo, and then joined by the rest of us, just to get the melody: (or download mp3):

Mestre Bodinho’s coro of Vadeia Sinha Sinho sung a capella

At Contra Mestre Vira Lata’s event the first weekend of February, Mestre Bodinho from the Berkeley Capoeira Collective sang the song “Vadeia Sinha Sinho”. Here are the words of the coro, and Mestre Bondinho singing these so we can learn the melody:

Vadeia Sinha Sinho
Vadeia Iaiá Ioiô
Vadeia que tem axé pra vadiar

Vadeia Sinha Sinho
Vadeia Iaiá Ioiô
Vadeia que tem axé pra vadiar

Vadeia!

Sinha Sinho

Vadeia!

Iaiá Ioiô

Vadeia!

Que tem axé pra vadiar

Here’s the recording of Mestre Bodinho: (or download mp3):

Material from 1/13/2024

We practiced an old classic commonly sung in Capoeira São Salvador classes and rodas: “Fui lá na Bahia”. The song is sung call and response for each couplet, with the same three couplets opening, and a separate couplet ending on each go around. (coro is in red):

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

É no som do berimbau
O pandeiro vai marcar

É no som do berimbau
O pandeiro vai marcar

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

É no som desse pandeiro
Que o agogô ja vai marcar

É no som desse pandeiro
Que o agogô ja vai marcar

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

É no som do agogô
Que o tambor bate Ijexá

É no som do agogô
Que o tambor bate Ijexá

É no som desse pandeiro
Que o agogô ja vai marcar

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Fui lá na Bahia
Buscar coco de dendê

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

Você é bom capoeira
Joga é pro povo ver

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

No terreiro de Ioió
No terreiro de Ioiá

Capoeira começa a anoiteçer
Vai ate o sol raia

Capoeira começa a anoiteçer
Vai ate o sol raia

Translating:

I went to Bahia
Looking for coconut of dendê

You are a good capoeira
Play and let people see

In the square of Ioió
In the square of Iaiá

In the sound of the berimbau
The pandeiro gonna mark

I went to Bahia
Looking for coconut of dendê

You are a good capoeira
Play and let people see

In the square of Ioió
In the square of Iaiá

In the sound of this pandeiro
The agogô already gonna mark

I went to Bahia
Looking for coconut of dendê

You are a good capoeira
Play and let people see

In the square of Ioió
In the square of Iaiá

In the sound of the berimbau
The pandeiro gonna mark

And in the sound of the agogô
The drum beats Ijexá

I went to Bahia
Looking for coconut of dendê

You are a good capoeira
Play and let people see

In the square of Ioió
In the square of Iaiá

Capoeira begins at dusk
Goes until the sun comes up

Click below to listen to a poor-quality recording of us practicing this song: (or download mp3):

Material from 12/30/2023

Shakira shared a lovely song titled “Vim no Navio de Aruanda”, and here it is (coro is in red):

Vim no navio de Aruanda, Aruanda ê&—
Vim no navio de Aruanda Aruanda a&—
Por que me trouzeram de Aruanda
Pra que me navio de Aruanda
Vim no navio de Aruanda, Aruanda ê&—

Vim no navio de Aruanda, Aruanda ê&—
Vim no navio de Aruanda, Aruanda a&—
Porque me trouzeram de Aruanda
Pra que me navio de Aruanda
Vim no navio de Aruanda, Aruanda ê&—

Sometimes the person leading the singing will change the scond to last line to:

Me deixa voltar pra Aruanda ê&—

However, the coro remains the same. The translation:

I came on the ship from Aruanda, Aruanda[1] yeah&—
I came on the ship from Aruanda, Aruanda whoa&—
Why was I brought from Aruanda?
For what was I brought from Aruanda?
I came on the ship from Aruanda, Aruanda yeah&—

[1] Aruanda connotes a fabled good place from which some enslaved Africans originated, and connotes a spiritual wholeness.

Click below to listen to us practicing this song: (or download mp3):

Material from 12/16/2023

Colga Velho” is a beautiful song by Mestre João do Morro, who is a student of Mestre Medicina (I will track down the name shortly).

Colega velho do tempo do cativeiro

Colega velho do tempo do cativeiro

Nego jogava capoeira o dia inteiro

Nego jogava capoeira o dia inteiro

Colega velho do tempo da escravidão

Colega velho do tempo da escravidão

Nego lutava em busca da libertação

Nego lutava em busca da libertação


O le le le

Bata atabaque pra bater

O la la la

O berimbau pra retocar


So da Bahia capital é Salvador

So da Bahia capital é Salvador

Onde seu Bimba, seu Pastinha ensinou

Onde seu Bimba, seu Pastinha ensinou


O le le le

Bata atabaque pra bater

O la la la

O berimbau pra retocar


Aquele tempo eu sei que ja não volta mais

Aquele tempo eu sei que ja não volta mais

O capoeira lhe balança mais não cai

O capoeira lhe balança mais não cai


O le le le

Bata atabaque pra bater

O la la la

O berimbau pra retocar


The translation:

Old colleague the time of captivity

Old colleague the time of captivity

The Black dude played capoeira all day

The Black dude played capoeira all day

Old colleague the time of slavery

Old colleague the time of slavery

The Black dude struggled in search of liberty

The Black dude struggled in search of liberty


O le le le

Bang the atabque to hit

O la la la

The berimbau to ‘replay’[1]


Bahia's only capital is Salvador

Where Mr. Bimba, Mr. Pastinha taught


O le le le

Bang the atabque to hit

O la la la

The berimbau to ‘replay’


I know that time will never come again

The capoeira shakes him, but he doesn’t fall


O le le le

Bang the atabque to hit

O la la la

The berimbau to ‘replay’


[1] The verb ‘tocar’ means both ‘to touch’ and ‘to play’ and is the verb used in Portuguese for playing the barimbau (contrast with the verb ‘bater’ meaning ‘to hit’ which is the verb used for playing a drum like the atabaque or the conga). The verb ‘retocar’ literally traslates as ‘to re-play’ or ‘to re-touch’, but connotes that the rhythm played on the berimbau brings together the music of the other instruments, and makes them groove.

Material from 11/14/2023

We practiced a playful and very short song with the following lyrics:

Sobe no coqueiro, tira o coco

Pra fazer cocada

Toque essa banguela mandingada

Com muito dendê

And that's about it! The playfulness of the song is that the person leading it doesn’t have to sing “Sobe no coqueiro&…” followed by “Toque essa banguela&…” and repeat: so the chorus need to listen and be sure that the correct response is sung to the correct line! (It's a little like “A maré ta cheia, iaiá” and the “mão pelo pé” songs that way). The translation shows why the correct response need to be sung to the correct call:

Climb the palm tree, take the coconut

In order to make cocada[1]

Play the rhythm ‘banguela’[2] mandingada[3]

With more dendê[4]

[1] Cocada is a sweet treat made out of sugar cane juice and coconut&… kind of like a cookie, kind of like coconut candy.

[2] A capoeira toque that inverts São Bento Grande de Angola to go Tch-Tch Dong Ding Ding.

[3] Feminine for a person who has been bewitched (presumably by a mandingeiro/a/e).

[4] Dende is the red palm kernel oil used in Bahiana food. The line is like saying “With more buttah” in English.

Click below to listen to us practicing this song: (or download mp3):

Material from 9/30/2023

We practiced a few portions of Mestre Boa Voz’s song “Dindinha”, from his album Reflexões.

Foi na la mata de Sinhá
Eu ouvi a Iúna canta

Foi na la mata de Sinhá
Eu ouvi a Iúna canta

Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha&—

Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha ê&—
Dindinha&—

Chega pra cá, dindinha
Vem escutar, dindinha
Eu nunca vi a Iúna canta

Chega pra cá, dindinha
Vem escutar, dindinha
Eu nunca vi a Iúna canta

There's stuff to unpack here, and I do not yet understand the meaning of the song. I can say that “dindinha” means “little girl”. “Iúna” is a town in Espirito Santo state, is the name of a toque played on the berimbau, and also the name of a jogo or tradition around the jogo played to this music (and what that jogo or tradition are differs from one group or teaching lineage to another). I don't know if Iúna is also a person, or bird or animal, or something else also. I will edit this entry as I learn more.

And I will post a recording of us practising this much of the song in the near future.

Material from 9/16/2023

The pandeiro is one of the main instruments of the capoeira bateria. Its basic pattern is three quarter notes and then a quarter note rest starting on the one. If we say it while we play it, it goes:

Dum BAH Dum

Click below to listen to me demonstrating this basic pandeiro rhythm: (or download mp3):

Here’s how we say it while we play it for a more elaborate version of the basic pandeiro pattern:

Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit

Click below to listen to me demonstrating this basic pandeiro rhythm: (or download mp3):

Finally, here are some variations for pandeiro. These are sparingly dropping in, depending on the context of the music and the jogo. Mostly leading with two repetitions of the elaborate pandeiro rhythm, and saying it while we play it these go:

Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum BAH Dum BAH Dum dit

Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum-BAH BAH Dum BAH Du dit

Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum-BAH-BAH-BAH Dum BAH Dum Dum-Dum BAH Dum dit

Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum dllll Dum Shake-Ah dit
Dum BAH Dum Shake-Ah dit Dum dllll Dum dllll Dum dllll Dum Shake-Ah dit

Dum BAH Doing Shake-Ah dit Dum BAH Doing Shake-Ah dit (this was not captured well in the recording)

Click below to listen to me demonstrating these pandeiro rhythm variations: (or download mp3):

The song “A Bananeira Caiu” came up yesterday. I like the many layers of meaning in it. At the literal level, a big knife (“facão”, like a machete) hits the base of the banana tree, and it falls. On another level, this is a song played sometimes when a child plays with an advanced adult capoeirista. Relatedly, when someone who is young in the art, a beginner, plays too big for their britches&—an unskilled yet aggressive game&—with someone with many years of capoeira experience, like a mestre or contramestre, the song gives a wink at the dynamic of the game. Finally, “A Bananeira Caiu” signals to experienced capoeiristas that in this game the take downs&—tesouros, bandas, arrasteiras, arrastãos, vingativas, cabeçadas, etc.&—should really take the other person down. Here are the lyrics, including some new to me from yesterday:

Mas facão bateu embaixo

A bananeira caiu!

Ô facão bateu embaixo

A bananeira caiu!

Cai, cai bananeira!

A bananeira caiu! (This line of the chorus sung at a higher pitch)

Cai, cai, cai a bananeira ai ai ai

A bananeira caiu!

Translation:

So the big knife hit low

The banana tree fell!

The big knife hit low

The banana tree fell!

Banana tree falls, falls

The banana tree fell!

The banana tree falls, falls, falls, oh my!

Mas eu pisei na folha seca
Eu ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”
“Chué, chué”
“Chué, chuá”

Ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”

“Chué, chué chué, chué”
“Chué, chué chué, chuá”

Ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”

Joga o[1] nego para cima, deixa o nego vadiar

Ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”

Mas quem não pode com mandinga[2], não carrega patuá[3]

Ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”

Na volta que o mundo deu. Na volta que o mundo dá[4]

Ouvi fazer “chué, chuá”

Translation:

I stepped on the dried leaf
I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”
Crunch crunch
Crunch crunch

I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”

“Crunch crunch crunch crunch”
“Crunch crunch crunch crunch”

I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”

Play the high game Black man, Black man leaves bruised

I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”

But those who can’t carry mandinga[2], don’t wear the patuá[3]

I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”

In the turn that the world took. In the turn that the world has taken[4]

I heard [it] go “crunch crunch”

NOTES

[1] In Brazilian Portuguese, written words ending in a vowel which are followed immediately by a vowel elide and the second vowel is what is pronounced. So “joga o” is pronounced like “jogo”. Notice that this happens again with “deixa o” which is pronounced like “deixo”.

[2] In capoeira traditions mandinga frequently refers to a kind of tricksie sorcery. Sometimes that is a literal sorcery, as in legends of Mestre Besouro Mangangá having a corpo fechado which could not be pierced by bullets or knives, or being able to turn invisible, or transform into a non-human animal. But mandinga also refers to the skills of incredible trickiness and skills in the jogo, which leave those playing and watching amazed and asking “How did that happen?!” More broadly, Mandinga describes a West African ethnic group (also known as Mandinka and Malinke), from whom many were enslaved and transported to Brazil.

[3] A patuá is a kind of amulet sometimes used ritually in candomblé. Historically, the patuá was associated with enslaved people from Muslim ethnic group or groups originating in the northern enslaving regions in West Africa. Because these people were literate (strongly contrasting with enslaved people from many other ethnic groups), they often held a social status with more license&… for example to travel unattended on errands. The patuã had its origins in small pieces of Quranic scripture carried in a sanctified pouch. My understanding as that wearing a patuá was sometimes appropriated by enslaved members of other ethnic groups, in order to pass themselves off as part of the enslaved Muslim class and so obtain some of the social protection, and perhaps some of the spiritual protection that went with the amulet. If someone, such as a police officer or an actual Muslim, suspect that a pearson wearing a patuá was not actually Muslim or literate, they might check by asking them to quote the Quaran, speak Arabic, or read. Thank you Contramestre Vira Lata for this historical note.

[4] An idiom roughly corresponding to the English language “What goes around, comes around.”

Material from 9/9/2023

A simple common song “Areia do Mar” has many variations and verses. Here’s lyrics for one version we commonly sing in Grupo São Salvador (coro is in red):

Ô areia&—
Ô areia

Ô areia&—
Ô areia

Ô areia&—
Ô areia do mar

Ô areia&—
Ô areia

Dá licença aí

Areia!

Que eu queiro passar

Areia!

Areia do rio

Areia!

Areia do mar

Areia!

Translating the verso and coro:

Oh sand
Oh sand

Oh sand
Oh sand

Oh sand
Oh sand of the sea

Oh sand
Oh sand

Excuse me there

Sand!

I want to pass through

Sand!

Sand of the river

Sand!

Sand of the sea

Sand!

Toque Cavalaria was traditionally played as a warning that the police were coming. Traditionally the toque also signifies that an unfamiliar person has entered the capoeira space, and that capoeiristas should play a simple game, and be wary of the potential for the unfamiliar player being unfamiliar with the local rituals, or playing with aggression or trickiness. Cavalaria comes in a few versions. If we say it while we play it, this simple version of Cavalaria goes:

Don-ch Don-ch Dong Ding
Don-ch Don-ch Dong Ding
Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (these two measures are a common variation)
Dong Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (another common variation)

Click below to listen to me demonstrating this simple version of the Cavalaria toque (or download mp3):

(Added 9/15/2023) A more ‘intermediate’ version of toque Cavalaria adds an extra chiado. If we say it while we play it, this intermediate version of Cavalaria goes:

Dong Tch Tch Dong Tch Tch Dong Ding
Dong Tch Tch Dong Tch Tch Dong Ding
Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (these two measures are a common variation)
Dong Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (another common variation)

Click below to listen to me demonstrating this intermediate version of the Cavalaria toque (or download mp3):

(Added 9/15/2023) Finally, here is a more ‘advanced’ version of toque cavalaria. If we say it while we play it, this advanced version of Cavalaria goes:

Don-ch Tch Don-ch Tch Dong Ding
Don-ch Tch Don-ch Tch Dong Ding
Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (these two measures are a common variation)
Dong Dong Dong Dong Dong Ding (another common variation)

Click below to listen to me demonstrating this advanced version of the Cavalaria toque (or download mp3):

(Added 9/15/2023) Toque Cavalaria is really varied, and you will encounter versions that sound more or less like what I have demonstrated here. For example, here’s a documented version by Mestre Bimba (for those of you who read Western music notation… the “<” symbols refer to unmuting) as recorded in the 1977 ethnomusicology text The Berimbau-de-barriga and its toques by Kay Shaffer (this version is very similar to the version notated by Mestre Acordion in Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form):

Material from 8/26/2023

We went over the coro from the song “Viola de Violeiro” by Mestre Fanho (not sure that the YouTube link is to Mestre Fanho, but the recording artist is singing the melody of his song… also sings a different third line in the chorus), but discovered some lack of clarity about melody and rhythm since we did not have a recording to work from. More to come, but for now, here are the full lyrics of the song (coro is in red):

Viola de violeiro
viola de cantador
Vem chegando o capoeira
berimbau já lhe chamou

Viola de violeiro
viola de cantador
Vem chegando o capoeira
berimbau já lhe chamou

O que eu levo de esta vida
É o axé dos meus irmãos
É o amor de uma morena
Com calor no coração
Eu não tenho paradeiro
Não sou bom e não sou mal
Mas não pos so resistir
Ao toque do berimbau

Viola de violeiro
viola de cantador
Vem chegando o capoeira
berimbau já lhe chamou

Ô, os mistérios desta vida
Eu ainda não descobri
O que dela vou fazer
Não preciso decidir
Eu começo a estremecer
Quando ouço um a viola
E quase sem perceber
Eu viajo nessa Angola

Viola de violeiro
viola de cantador
Vem chegando o capoeira
berimbau já lhe chamou

Ô, o jeito que o gunga toca
Faz o corpo arrepiar
Debaixo do candeeiro
Eu vi a luz do luar
Vou lembrando da morena
Que me deu tanto calor
A saudade vai batendo
Saudade do meu amor

Viola de violeiro
viola de cantador
Vem chegando o capoeira
berimbau já lhe chamou

Translating the coro:

Viola of the viola-player
Viola of the singer
Capoeira is coming
Berimbau already called you

We broke down some common toques! We started with the toque Angola. If we say it while we play it, that goes:

Dong Ding Tch-Tch

Click below to listen to me demonstrating the Angola toque (or download mp3):

And we practiced the very common toque São Bento Grande de Angola. If we say it while we play it, that goes:

Ding Dong Dong Tch-Tch

Click below to listen to me demonstrating the São Bento Grande de Angola toque (or download mp3):

We also practice the toque São Bento Pequeno, which is like toque São Bento Grande de Angola, but omitting the second “Dong”. If we say it while we play it, that goes:

Ding Dong Tch-Tch

Click below to listen to me demonstrating the São Bento Pequeno toque (or download mp3):

Finally, we briefly practiced the toque São Bento Grande de Regional (SBR) and also called São Bento Grande de Bimba. We practiced SBR a few weeks ago, check out the instructions and recordings from 8/12/2023.

We went over the song “Dalila”, both following and leading. The song has several interesting structual characteristics: initially, lines of the song are led and responded to verbatim, and individual lines can be repeated several times, or omitted by the person leading the song before moving onto the next line. Also, the lines begin at different places in the measure. Here are the lyrics (coro is in red):

Ê&— Dalila
Iê iê&— Dalila o&—

Ê&—& Dalila
Iê iê&— Dalila o&—

Capoeira mandou lhe dizer, tambem
Capoeira mandou lhe chamar

Capoeira mandou lhe dizer, tambem
Capoeira mandou lhe chamar

Queiro falar
Com Dalila Dalila Dalila Dalila

Queiro falar
Com Dalila Dalila Dalila Dalila

Dalila! Dalila!

Ê&—& Dalila
Iê iê&— Dalila o&—

O Dalila Dalila

Ê&—& Dalila
Iê iê&— Dalila o&—

And here are the lyrics conveying information about where each line starts. The numbers indicate the count where the line starts; assuming he “Clap Clap Clap” of the palmas de Bimba as corresponding to the counts of 1, 2, and 3 with the count of 4 corresponding to the rest between the last and the first clap (coro is in red):

Ê&—& [3]
Dalila [1]
Iê iê&— [1]
Dalila o&— [1]

Ê&—& [3]
Dalila [1]
Iê iê&— [1]
Dalila o&— [1]

Capoeira man- [1]
-dou lhe dizer, tambem [1]
Capoeira man- [1]
-dou lhe chamar [1]

Capoeira man- [1]
-dou lhe dizer, tambem [1]
Capoeira man- [1]
-dou lhe chamar [1]

Queiro falar [1]
Com Dalila Da- [1]
-lila Dali- [1]
-la Dalila [1]

Queiro falar [1]
Com Dalila Da- [1]
-lila Dali- [1]
-la Dalila [1]

Dalila! Da- [4 (of the same measure the coro is singing)]
-lila! [1]

Ê&—& [3 (of the same measure the lead is singing)]
Dalila [1]
Iê iê&— [1]
Dalila o&— [1]

O [4 (coinciding with the “o” sung by the coro in the same measure)]
Dalila [1]
Dalila [1]

Ê&—& [3 (of the same measure the lead is singing)]
Dalila [1]
Iê iê&— [1]
Dalila o&— [1]

Click below to listen to a solo recording of me singing both parts just to convey the melody and rhythm: (or download mp3):

And click to listen to the group of us practicing “Dalila” (or download mp3):

Material from 8/19/2023

Canario broke down a slight variation on the São Bento Grande de Angola toque, which replaces the first chiado (“Tch”) with a hammer-off from the second open note (“Dong”), If we say it while we play it, that becomes:

Variation (twice): -ch-Tch Ding Dong Dong-ch-Tch Ding Dong Dong-

Received (twice: Tch-Tch Ding Dong Dong Tch Tch Ding Dong Dong

Click below to listen to us practicing this variation on the SBA (São Bento Grande de Angla) toque (or download mp3):

We broke down the Idalina toque into its constituent notes. If we say it while we play it, in order they go:

First part: Dong Dong Ding Dong Don-ch Ding-ZZZ

Second part: Dong Dong-Dong Ding Dong Don-ch Ding-ZZZ

Click below to listen to us practicing the Idalina toque (or download mp3):

And click to listen to three of us practicing Idalina against São Bento Grande de Regional with variations improvised (or download mp3):

Material from 8/12/2023

(Lyrics for the coro are in red.)

Sabiá[1] cantou no pé da larangeira
Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Vou tocar[2] meu berimbau e vou jogar[3] capoeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira, sabiá

Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira

Ela cantou ao som de uma viola[4]
Ela cantou ao som de uma viola
Vou fazer jogo de dentro, vou fazer jogo de fora
Vou fazer jogo de dentro, vou fazer jogo de fora

Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira

Ela cantou ao som do berimbau
Ela cantou ao som do berimbau
Vou fazer jogo de Angola, e também Regional
Vou fazer jogo de Angola, e também Regional

Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Sabiá cantou no pé da larangeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira
Vou tocar meu berimbau e vou jogar capoeira

Sabiá cantou bonito de se ver
Sabiá cantou e é bonito de se ver
Vou jogar a capoeira e bater[5] maculelê
Vou jogar a capoeira e bater maculelê

Traslation of the verso and coro (in red):

Sabia[1] sang at the foot of the orange tree
Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
I’m going to play[2] my berimbau, and I’m going to play[3] capoeira
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira, sabia

Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira

She sang to the sound of a viola[4]
She sang to the sound of a viola
I am going to make a close-in game, I’m going to make an open game
I am going to make a close-in game, I’m going to make an open game

Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira

She sang to the sound of the berimbau
She sang to the sound of the berimbau
I’m going to make a game of Angola, and also Regional
I’m going to make a game of Angola, and also Regional

Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
Sabia sang at the foot of the orange tree
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira
I’m going to play my berimbau, and I’m going to play capoeira

Sabia sang beautiful to watch
Sabia sang, and it’s beautiful to see
I’m going to play my berimbau and play[4] maculelê
I’m going to play my berimbau and play maculelê

NOTES

[1] A “sabiá” is a species of true thrush.

[2] The verb “tocar” means “to play” here, and connotes striking or especially touching the arame of the berimbau with the baqueta.

[3] The verb “jogar” also means “to play (a game)”.

[4] “Viola” here means the high-tuned berimbau which tends to play variations on the lead toque played by the medio berimbau

[5] The verb “bater” also means “to play” and connotes slapping or especially hitting the head of the atabaque or conga drum with the palm of the hand, or alternately, striking the maculelê sticks together.

Sabiá Cantou” is a song written and recorded many times by Mestre Suassuna.

We practiced a meditative toque as an exercise to accustom our ears and berimbau chops around a strong ‘wah-wah’ like effect with muting and unmuting. This toque is performed slowly in four measures of three quarter notes (¾ time).

Begin by striking the open note (‘Dong’) fully muted on count 1. On count 2 completely unmute by pushing the berimbau away from your torso. Be sure to not unmute until the count of 2. Pull the berimbau back on count 3.

Repeat these three counts for two more measures. Conclude the pattern with three open notes fully unmuted. Then repeat these four measures.

Both strong and weak ‘wah-wah’ effects can be produced with the closed note (‘Ding’), although this takes a little more practice because there’s more muscular use of the pedra/dobrão.

You can listen to the strong ‘wah-wah’ muting exercise here (or download mp3):

We practiced a second meditative toque as an additional exercise to accustom our ears and berimbau chops around a weak or mild ‘wah-wah’ like effect with muting and unmuting. This toque is performed slowly in four measures of three quarter notes (¾ time).

Begin by striking the open note (‘Dong’) fully unmuted (berimbau away from your torso) on count 1. On count 2 completely mute by pulling the berimbau close to your torso. Be sure to not mute until the count of 2. Push the berimbau back on count 3.

Repeat these three counts for two more measures. Conclude the pattern with three open notes fully unmuted. Then repeat these four measures.

In contrast to the strong version of this exercise which centers attention on the ‘wah-wah’ effect, the weak version centers attention on the open note (‘Dong’), and uses the ‘wah-wah’ effect more for intonation or infection.

Both strong and weak ‘wah-wah’ effects can be produced with the closed note (‘Ding’), although this takes a little more practice because there’s more muscular use of the pedra/dobrão.

You can listen to the weak ‘wah-wah’ muting exercise here (or download mp3):

We broke down the São Bento Grande de Regional toque into its constituent notes. These are as I learned from Mestre Acordion. If we say it while we play it, in order they go:

Dong Tch Ding-ZZZ Tch Dong Dong Ding-ZZZ Tch

Click below to listen to us practicing vocalizing the toque (or download mp3):

And click to listen to three of us practicing the toque slowly with variations improvised (or download mp3):

Material from 8/5/2023

(Lyrics for the coro are in red.)

Andei, andei… andei
Para Curimar

Andei, andei… andei
Para Curimar

Andei, andei
Para Curimar
Para Curimar
Andei, andei

Andei, andei… andei
Para Curimar

I believe this may have been taken from the pop-samba recording “Andei Para Curimar” by Dona Ivone Lara, although the melody is different.

(Lyrics for the coro are in red.)

Vento forte é ventania
Vento forte é furacão
Vento forte é capoeira
Dentro do meu coração

Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!

Vento forte enche a vela
Do saveiro a navegar
Pescador que vai pra pesca
Não tem hora de voltar

Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha lá tudo hoje
Quebra!
Amanha nada quebra
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!

Vento forte é barravento
Quando o santo vai pegar
Quando a roda está boa
Náo tem hora de acabar

Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!
Olha quebra gereba
Quebra!

Ventania” is a song by Mestre Acordeon, as recorded on Capoeira Voices Vol-I Pedir o Axé.