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revised April 24, 2015

Capoeira: mestre Traíra and mestre Cobrinha Verde

About 1963, movie actor Roberto Batalin produced a capoeira music record featuring masters Traíra, Gato and Cobrinha Verde. A while afterwards, the same LP sold under the title Capoeira da Bahia, mestre Traíra. A CD edition appeared which is easily found. To join the recordings, which are, in our opinion, among the best capoeira music recordings ever commercially published, we post the information, text and photos which the first edition featured, and were dropped afterwards.

Production

In 1960, the play Pagador de promessa (Keeper of Promisses), by Dias Gomes, enjoyed a great and deserved success. The play features the game of capoeira as an icon of popular culture which the plot opposes to the uncompassionate rigor of the Catholic hierarchy. Capoeiristas also take part in the dramatic action. After its adaptation for the screen earned the Palme d'Or in Cannes in may 1962, hundreds of thousands of moviegoers saw the capoeira game scene on the stairs of the Passo church in Salvador in Anselmo Duarte's film. This opened an opportunity for those who liked capoeira to make it better known.

cover 1About that time, actor Roberto Batalin recorded mestre Traíra's capoeira, reinforced by the participation of Gato, already established as a prominent berimbau player, and famous master Cobrinha Verde as a guest. With the help of fellow artists, Augusto Rodrigues, Carybé, Salomão Scliar, Marcel Gautherot, José Medeiros, and Dias Gomes, who wrote an introductory text, Roberto Batalin produced a LP with a 16-page album illustraded with photos and artwork, at Xauã's in Rio de Janeiro. It was this firm's second Brazilian folklore record.

cover 2 Either because the first edition was limited in number, or because after the military coup of April 1964 and the interdiction of his plays, Dias Gomes's name was no more fit to sell records, Xauã printed a new, much simpler cover for the same LP. As Mestre Bimba, in the same years, had recorded his Curso de Capoeira Regional LP, at J.S. Discos' in Bahia, it was useful to mention the origin of Batalin's recording, stating Capoeira da Bahia -- Mestre Traíra. This second edition ended better known than the first.

Text by Dias Gomes

repro
first page of the album.

The English version of Dias Gomes' text appears on the fifth page of the album.

I did not like the translation, so I wrote it over; but you'll be free to prefer the original text. The first letter of each paragraph below is a hypertext link to the Portuguese original. Whenever in doubt, we left a comment in subtext -- test it just leaving the cursor rest over the quoted word or here.

repro CAPOEIRA is a ballet dancer's fight. Dance of gladiators. Duel between fellow men. It's a game, a dance, a quarrel -- symbiosis of force and rythm, poetry and agility. Unique in that music and singing command the movements. Submission of force to rythm. Of violence to melody. Sublimation of antagonisms.

In Capoeira, the contenders are not adversaries, they are comrades. They don't fight, they pretend to. They purpose -- brilliantly -- to deliver an artistic vision of a fight. Above their competitive spirit looms a sense of beauty. The capoeirista is an artist and an athlete, a player and a poet.

repro We need to know, though, the true CAPOEIRA, that still practised in Bahia, from that which made malandros and trouble-makers famous, in the beginning of our [20th] century in Rio and Recife. In these cities, capoeira really meant street turmoil with knives and razor blades besides its characteristic blows. It caused panic in popular festivals and rightful police intervention. Even in Bahia, at that time, the upheaval that capoeiras caused worried the provincial government. To rid itself of them, it sent them to the battlegrounds in Paraguay. Now the rasteira, the au, the meia lua and the rabo de arraia were used as war weapons. With success if we judge by the historical facts.

 

But Capoeira is only roaming (vadiação) as the bahians players say. They play it in the festivals of Senhor do Bonfim and of Our Lady of the Conception churches; that is where the mestres (masters) show off, continuing the glory of legendary Manganga and Samuel God's Beloved.
 

repro THE ART OF CAPOEIRA HAS NINE DIFFERENT MODALITIES, distinct by their music and the way of playing:

The most played -- and the richest in choreography too -- is the first. There is also Master Bimba's capoeira regional with incorporates parts of jiu-jitsu, box and catch, rightly rejected by the purists of the art.

In Capoeira de Angola a ritual precedes the fight. The comrades set in a semi-circle begin to sing to the sound of berimbaus, pandeiros and chocalhos. That is the precept. Two capoeiristas squat in front of the musicians in a respectful silence. They concentrate and, according to the popular belief, they wait for the saint. The verses of the precept change, but it always ends the same:

Eh, vorta do mundo
camarado!

Eh, around the world
comrade!

repro That is the cue. Turning the body upon the hands, the capoeiristas go through the circle and begin the fight-dance which choreography the pace of the music rules. The master calls themes in varying rhythm, the chorus repeats, the music never stops, though the songs change. The first are generally mournful -- and the fight starts in slow-motion -- with large blows where the capoeiristas display their perfect muscular control. Soon the berimbau beat pattern changes and the pace speeds up -- the players change their game and the legs begin to cut the air with incredible agility. The audience stirs the contenders:
-- Lemme see a "skatetail" master Coca!
-- What a cartwheel, boy!
-- C'mon, comrade, leave that "but-but", flog him!

repro And the usual corpse-smeller says gloomily:
-- I'd like to see that for real.

Capoeira is a toy (brinquedo), so many blows are forbidden, like those which might hurt eyes, ears, kidneys, stomach, etc.

But if the fight is for real (a vera), then anything goes...

 

repro The most prominent blows are:

The BANANA TREE, the HALF-MOON and the FOOT-PLATE are variants of the WHIP.

repro There are also the Cabeçada, the Golpe de Pescoço, the Dedo nos Olhos, and many other blows or steps to this strange and manly ballet brought by the Bantu slaves from Angola with their barbaric and mighty culture.

Capoeira as played today in Bahia may owe very little to its land of origin. This record presents lyrics and melodies that let us feel the spirit of our people, its ability to assimilate and create over again. Indeed the very transformation of a fight into a dance, of a conflict into a reason for singing and dancing is very much like our folk...

Capoeira is an authentic expression of our people's character, spirit and genius. With capoeira, we Brazilian tell the world:

Wouldn't it be good if any conflict, any dispute, however violent, could be settled with music and poetry?

DIAS GOMES

repro
Middle pages of the album. Reproduction of a painting by Augusto Rodrigues.

Credits compiled from pages 2 and 14 of the album et from the disc labels.

repro Master Traíra (João Ramos do Nascimento)
Side A track 2 Cobrinha Verde (Rafael Alves França)
Berimbau Gato (José Gabriel Gões)
Chumba (Reginaldo Paiva)
De Guiné (Vivaldo Sacramento)
Pandeiro Pai-de-Família (Flaviano Xavier)
Quebra-Jumelo (Vanildo Cardoso de Souza)
Singing Didi (Djalma da Conceição Ferreira)
Production Roberto Batalin
Photos Salomão Scliar
Marcel Gautherot
Text Dias Gomes
Art Augusto Rodrigues
Caribé
Page setting José Medeiros (image)
General coordination Editora Xauã
Pça Mahatma Gandhi 2 5.910
Telefone 43-300 Guanabara Brasil
Printing Artes Graficas Palmeiras
Rua Barão de Itapagipe 60
Guanabara - Brasil
Manufacturing Cia. Industrial de Discos
Rua 29 de Julho, 169
Rio de Janeiro - Brasil

repro
last page of the album. Drawings by Carybé

A few comments

by Pol Briand

A view on capoeira

We may feel the range of different points of view on capoeira of people able to organize the recording, editing and publishing of a commercial musical record, when we compare this record with the other two sold at the same time. Musician and recording engineer Jorge Santos recorded Mestre Bimba's Curso de Capoeira Regional about 1962 in his studio in uptown Salvador; Camafeu de Oxossi's Berimbaus de Bahia was produced in the Bahian studios of the main broadcast operator, Radio Sociedade, issued about 1966 and later reissued and distributed in Europe.

The first edition, with its album of photographs and art work, aimed at an audience disposed to pay a little more to reward an artistic achievement. The complete lack of people related to the music recording industry among the contributors, and the accumulation of names reputed in the graphical arts and the movies, between whom one easily finds archives of work relationships, indicates well enough the origin of this production.

The translation of the text into English and French expresses the desire, indeed a little vague, for the production did not take care to get good translations, to promote Brazilian popular culture outside the country, within the area of interest of the organizers: Cannes, Hollywood -- as denotes the lack of Spanish and German texts. An overview of the biographies of the people involved yields the notion of a cluster of both modernistic and nationalistic intelectuals, dedicated to an artistic creating process for which the doers define their own criteria of quality.

We cannot accept a description which sets entirely aside violence in the capoeira game, and the ever-important dodges and evasions among its moves. This is the mark of an external vision, quite that of an author who left Bahia aged thirteen, and who belonged to a class quite apart from that of the illiterate, hand-working capoeiristas. But we do apreciate and support his attempt to have capoeira considered, neither as a sport in the modern sense, olympic, competitive, submitted to explicit regulations and state-sponsored, neither as a simple folkloric entertainment for tourists, but as a full-blown artistic activity defining internally and informally its own hierarchies.

chamada

The teaching of capoeiristas

It would be useless and offensive to point out all in the doing and saying of the masters recorded here, that contradicts more recent definitive affirmations by known capoeiristas and reputed observers. We have endeavoured to produce an objective description, selecting basic criteria to compare productions of diverse times, places and people. We direct our main effort to the gathering and training of a group that will be able to play music in this style, hoping to access by this way a capoeira playing style.

We feel wary enough of writing down our interpretation of this record in the light of our experience in other times and places. We fear that making explicit whatever has lit up in the corner of our eye, our discourse might mislead our readers into thinking that our sayings are true, independantly of their own situation. Except in poetry, written statements have a definite and definitive meaning, and intervene sequencially; but in life, as in capoeira as a game, these fundamentos all act together at the same time. They are each like a web of strings, more or less elastic, more or less tense, that link families of objects, of situations, of constraints. None of these webs, of these force fields, has a single influence over decisions that must be made. This fundamental difference between the quiet linearity of philosophy and the turbulent dialectics of action makes us extremely wary whenever the goal would be to pass something of our very weak wisdom through impersonal discourse.

There is one simple fact that we do dare to affirm. One does not play capoeira and its music by oneself. Both are played by two plus a number. In the game, one reacts to attack by dodging, to menace by moving, to challenge by mockery, and to any intervention of the other by the invention of the moment, hoping that a convenient decision will make one able to affirm a superiority. And one should react to music, too, which expresses the will of that number waiting to enter the roda. The music that we play for this game does not merely accompany it, but takes part to it and strengthens it, when each participant reacts to another to whom he responds and who responds to him; the flexible intercourse of these twosome links sets the band together, not their submission to a common abstract overarching time rule.

In a way, capoeiristas are hardly doing anything else at any time than adjusting their hierarchies. Who shows superiority while keeping in time with the music, makes show of a dominance approved by all. Were it or not the wish or the will of the very musicians, it becomes their view. This happens easily if the percussion orchestra, by a discreet, but timely intervention, orients the game; which occurs on the condition that musical actions answer game actions within the roda closely enough for the accent of a musical cycle to coincide with that of a movement. Same as what it needs to apply a rasteira, it is a matter of an action witheld until the exact moment when it must happen. The intercourse between players and musicians is two-way. The players follow the music, and the musicians, the player's steps.

The master's task is to guide the players, indicating the style that he would like to see from them, and setting the pace, not like a military officer gives orders, but more like the hand may roll, without much strain, a heavy wheel, by a measured impulse which speeds it up if it slacks and restraints it if it is too fast, or like a rider directs his horse. Musicians should react to one another. A berimbau may skip one or two strikes, so that the other will complete the toque in his own way; it leaves a silence around a pandeiro strike to set the marcação out; it lowers its voice, asking for an answer, in the form of a variation, from the other berimbau. The chorus responds to the leader, shouts in appreciation of a moment of the game. That is when discourse withers and fades: for between the musical actions, all the turbulent dialectics of interactions which we mentioned about individual decisions is at work.

We may now hint at how a music style can relate to a game style. To keep the capoeiristas in tune with the pace and style required or proposed by the music, the basic, characteristic strike pattern of the toque must sound frequently enough, and the pace marking drum ( marcação ) must soar clearly. The instruments can't dive into endless and complex variations all at a time. Typically, one berimbau plays its basic toque while the other produces a variation; then it will answer this variation with another, when its partner has fallen back into its own basic toque. Variations that suppress or shift strikes are more efficient, in that they do not cancel the other's part. Singing or handclapping should not be so loud as to cover the berimbaus. The players likewise cannot engage in long bouts of acrobatic or fight movements which give the percussionists no timing clue. Their ginga is to them what the basic toque is to the instruments in the orchestra. Their movements, like the hand on a drum, slap and rest, they do not flow rhythmlessly. That is their part of the relationship to the music.

We perceive in modern capoeira an excess of attack and a lack of dodging; in its music, an excess of action and a lack of silence. Listening to the instruments, we wonder whether everyone wants to play the whole toque alone, as if one felt no interest at all in reacting to the other. The result nears mechanical, hypnotic regularity, with whimsical variations unrelated to each other.

We have been wondering whether literacy, the pressure of the mass media, individualist education, and all the facts of life in the present era, would free people from the desire of interacting with fellow humans, or if conversely, the practice of capoeira in the style that we have briefly outlined, could offer a way to develop the abilities, maimed by the same social structures, to fulfill this desire of interaction understood as a fundamental human need. As said poet Octavio Paz, rhythm is a world vision.

That is to say how much we value the present record.

March 27, 2007.

Bibliographic and discographic References

Annexes

Music

Summary of the contents of the 7 tracks. Except when quoted, the designation of berimbau toques is ours. The identification of the lead singer is that which the disc label mentions. Please read our definition of descriptive terms chula, corrido, etc.

  1. 9:07 Santa Maria -- Lead: Traíra.
    • [Toque: Angola q=80]
    • [Toque São Bento Grande q=92]
      • Corrido Santa Maria. 8 call of same lines and chorus answers.
      • instrumental q=100
    • Iê final.
  2. 5:31 São Bento Pequeno -- Lead: Cobrinha Verde.
    • [Toque Angola q=72]
    • [Toque Santa Maria]
      • … end of Canto de entrada, 3 lines.
      • Corrido Santo Antônio é protetor varying call lines [pacing up]
      • instrumental q=104.
    • Iê and final whistle.
  3. 5:21 São Bento Grande -- Lead: Traíra.
    with some ambient sound.
    • [Toque Angola q=74]
      • Chula: 10 verses, the first repeated Quando morrer não quero grito no enterro
      • Corrido chorus -- Cordão de Ouro. In F#. two calling lines of same meaning, a little different in wording for 19 rounds. q=82
    • berimbau call
      • Corrido Dona Maria do Camboatá
    • [Toque de São Bento Grande]
      • … cont. of corrido Dona Maria do Camboatá a total of 26 rounds of same lines.
      • instrumental q=90
    • [Variating Toques], instrumental.
    • Iê and final whistle.
  4. 6:34 Jogo de Dentro; -- Lead: Traíra.
    • [Toque Angola q=80]
    • Short berimbau call
    • [Toque São Bento Grande q=94]
      • short instrumental
      • Corrido Parana é, 8 different call lines for 12 call and response rounds.
      • instrumental.
    • Iê and final whistle.
  5. 5:10 Cavalaria -- Lead: Traíra
    • [Toque Cavalaria] instrumental q=90→100
    • Berimbau call
      • Corrido Ponha laranja no chão tico-tico (in F#, lead tiles over the chorus) …
    • [Toque de Angola solta]
      • … cont. of corrido Ponha laranja no chão tico-tico
    • [Toque de São Bento Grande]
      • … cont. of corrido Ponha laranja no chão tico-tico a total of 43 call and response rounds with two different call lines. q=104
    • Final whistle.
  6. 1:38 Iuna
    with some ambient sound.
    • [Toque Iúna]
      • Instrumental: two berimbaus, no marcação, short pandeiro inputs.
  7. 7:36 Sequência de rítmos
    Instrumental: Varied Toques with announcements.
    • Angola Pequena; q=74
    • Angola; q=80
    • Angola Dobrada; q>=88
    • Santa Maria; q=88
    • Regional; q=94
    • Cavalaria; q=98
    • Jôgo de Dentro; q=96
    • Guarani; q=96
    • Gêge; q=98
    • Kêtu; q=98
    • final whistle
  8. Total time:40:45

Terms

We use popular musical descriptive term in an unaccustomated strict, rigorous sense. This is only for convenience, in order to shorten the description of the musical events in the recordings, and we do not intend to impose these meanings on anyone.

Chula
Solo singing of more than four verses, without chorus response.

The first piece of a complete capoeira sequence. When it lasts, that is, nearly always in present use, it is called a ladainha (litany). This difference is of no use in this work, since our goal is to describe the musical form, and we indicate the actual number of lines sung. There is no game generally during the chula.

Corrido
The soloist, called puxador or tirador sings an improvised call, one or two lines long, which the chorus responds to always by the same line.

Sung while capoeiristas dance/fight. The soloist may prefer rhythmic variations over a single line.

Canto de entrada (entrance song)
The soloist sings four-feet calls which the chorus repeats, adding the word camará (comrade).

Always after a chula and before a corrido. Generally the game begins when this song ends, see precept in Dias Gomes' text.

Pace
We write the approximate tempo in the european music school notation. Two quarters make up a basic berimbau toque cycle. When we heard no clear marcação sound, we decided that the pace concept was unfit.

The terms chula and corrido are found in samba de roda context, with the same meaning, including about dance. The term marcação is also common in Brazilian folk music.

Translation as on fourth page of the album.

CAPOEIRA is a ballet dancer's fight. Dance of gladiators. Duel between fellow men. It's a game, a dance, a dispute -- harmony of force and rythm, poetry and agility. Unique in the movement comanded by music and singing. The submission of force to rythm. From violence to melody. The sublimation of antagonisms.

In Capoeira, the fighters are not adversaries, they are comrades. They don't fight, they just pretend to. They search most in geniusly for a way to give an artistic vision of a combat. Besides the competitive spirit they have a sense of beauty. The capoeira man is an artist and an athlete, a player and a poet.

However, we must distinguish the true CAPOEIRA, as that still practised in Bahia, from the one which marked the malandro and disorders in the beginning of our century in Rio and Recife. In these cities, the Capoeira was really a street fight including knife and razor blades besides their characteristic strikes. It caused panic in popular feasts and almost always provoked police intervention. Even in Bahia, at that time, the capoeiras worried the province authorities by the disturbances they caused. To banish them, the government sent them to fight in Paraguay. And for the first time the rasteira, the au, the meia lua and the rabo de arraia were used as war weapons. With success if we judge the historical facts.

But the Capoeira is just a vadiação -- as the bahians call it, practiced nowdays in the glorification feasts of Senhor do Bonfim and Our Lady of the Beach Conception, where the mestres (masters) exibhit the selves continuing the glory of Manganga and Samuel God's beloved, legendary capoeiras. We find Nine different Modalities of the Capoeiras Art, distinguished basically by the music and the way of playing it:

The most practised -- and also the richest in terms of choreography -- is the first one.

We have the regionalistic capoeira or regionalistic bahian fight of Master Bimba with inserts of jiu-jitsu, box and catch as catch can, justly refused by the purists of the art.

In Capoeira de Angola a ritual preceeds the fight disposed in a semi-circle, the comrades start the singing under the berimbaus tunes pandeiros and chocalhos. Crouched before the musicians the two players are still in a respectful silence. That is the presept. The capoeiras men concentrate themselves and according to the popular belief they wait for the saint. The verses of the precept vary. But the lasts are always the same:

Eh, vorta do mundo
camarado!

Eh, come back to the world
comrade!

That is the signal. Turning the body upon the hands, the capoeiras go through the circle, initiating the fight-and-dance whose choreography is dictated by the musical rythm. The music is never interrupted varying the tunes played by the master and repeated by the chorus. The first melodies are generally dolent -- and the fight starts in slow-motion -- with large strikes wher the capoeiras display their perfect muscular control. Soon the berimbau beat changes and the rythm accelerates -- the players change their game and the legs start cutting the air with incredible agility. The assistance stimulates the contendors -- I wanna see a ‘skatetail’ Master Coca --Boy what an ‘au’ -- Hurry up my comrade leave this ‘but-but’ and use a ‘whip’ on him. And there is always a defunct smeller saying gloomily -- I would like to see it for life or death.

Capoeira is a toy. So many strikes are forbidden like those which could hurt the eyes, hears, kidneys, stomarch, etc.

But when they really mean it everything goes in the stream …

The most prominent strikes are

The Banana Tree. The Middle Moon and the Flat Foot are the Whip's variations. There are still the Cabeça, Golpe de Pescoço, Dedo nos Olhos and many other strikes or steps of this strange and viril ballet brought by the Bantu Slaves from Angola among their barbarian and powerful culture.

It's possible that Capoeira as practiced today in Bahia owes very little to it's country of origin. In the verses and music recorded in the present long playing, we feel the presence of our people in his capacity of assimilation and recreation. And the own transformation of a fight in a dance, of a conflict in a motiv for singing is very much for our people.

With this, we enable ourselves to send everywhere in the world the following message:

How good it could be, if every conflict, every dispute could be cleared up with music and poetry.

Sundry information

What Pagador de Promessa (Keeper of Promisses) is about

A play by Dias Gomes, 1960.

A simple peasant, Donkey Jo, followed by his wife, arrives in front of a church in Salvador, carrying an heavy wooden cross which he intends to leave below the altar of Saint Barbara to keep a promise that he made in an emergency. The priest, who approves not of superstition, leaves him waiting outside of the church; more so, when he hears Jo's explanations, which mix candomblé (the popular African-originated cult) to catholicism, and he learns that the motive of the promise is the well-being of an animal, Jo's donkey. Resolute in his determination to keep his promise, the man waits on the stairs of the church. Passers-by gather...

Ladainhas

In his comunication on berimbau to his colleagues of the Instituto Geográfico Histórico da Bahia in 1956, Albano Marinho de Oliveira notes:

Presentemente, porém, vêm sendo criados temas, quasi sempre longos, de pouco efeito melódico, uma vez que o mestre de capoeira demora-se entoando os numerosos versos de extenso solo, versos sem métrica, nem rima e quasi sem o acompanhamento coral do grupo de tocadores. Presently, though, themes are created, nearly always long, of little melodic effect, since the capoeira master belates himself singing many lines in an extended solo, meterless and rhymeless verses with almost no chorus from the music-playing group.

Oliveira 1956:255

The author took his information from capoeira masters Waldemar and Bimba. I know of no long theme sung by the creator of Capoeira Regional. As a matter of fact, in Lorenzo Turner's recordings, dating from late 1940, all chulas, whoever the group, are four to ten lines long; in Anthony Leeds', taped at Waldemar's in 1950, there is a ladainha more than seven minutes long, a particular version in 144 seven-feet redondilha maior verses, of the story of the Valiant Vilela, broadly printed in the literatura de cordel booklets. The introduction of long chulas seem to relate to the Sunday practice of the capoeira game, in a way that we deem quieter than at the time of police repression. Waiting endlessly, squatting before the instruments, for the cue to go and play, could make the capoeiristas call such long songs, mockingly, litanies.

Two of the three chulas that Traíra, a close associate to Waldemar, sings, may leave the players waiting long enough to deserve being called litanies, with 28 lines in two minutes and 40 lines in two minutes and a half. His other two titles do not fall in the common capoeira sequence, chula, canto de entrada, corrido(s). Cobrinha Verde's contribution conforms to this canon, with a short chula, as in the 1940 recordings.

Riachão

More than to any existing singer, this song refers to the famous Desafio de Riachão e do Diabo (Challenge of Riachão and the Devil), an elaborate rendering of a poets improvising challenge, of which exist a quantity of versions in Northeastern Brazil literatura de cordel peddler's booklets, and which many capoeira singers refer occasionally to.

The literatura de cordel is a vast repository of seven-feet verses which can often, not always, depending, I think, on the poet, fit to the capoeira song rythm.

People

We will welcome warmly any information about people mentioned on this page, particularily about those about whom we know nothing. Photographs from the time will be much apreciated. Authors and contributors will be duly credited.

portraitCobrinha Verde
Rafael Alves França Cobrinha Verde (Santo Amaro, BA c. 1910 -- Salvador, 1983). One of the most famous capoeira masters in the 1950's and 1960's. He had learned capoeira with his famous cousin Besouro Mangangá (killed 1927). Forced to leave Santo Amaro, he was gunman, regular soldier, builder, healer, viola-de-samba player. His capoeira he set first in Curva Grande; then urban expansion pushed him away in suburban Nordeste de Amaralina, where he opened his academia with the name Dois-de-Julho. Towards the end of his life, he declared that he kept the promise made to his master and cousin never to earn money with capoeira.
portraitTraíra
João Ramos do Nascimento (Cachoeira BA 1920? -- Salvador c. 1970). Famous capoeirista of Liberdade (neighbourhood of Salvador), associated to Mestre Waldemar da Paixão. Like his comrade, Traíra was quite discreet about his life. He appeared in Alexandre Robatto's film Vadiação (1954), playing berimbau and demonstrating movements in front of the camera.
Gato
José Gabriel Goes (Santo Amaro, BA, 1929 -- Salvador, 2002). Capoeira master and known berimbau player, as such participated in the Brazilian delegation to the Festival des Arts Nègres in Dakar, 1966. His academia, from 1962, got influent. Mestre Gato singled out at that time by teaching capoeira to women, notably to students of the University Ballet class. He recorded a CD in 2000, Mestre Gato Preto, L'art du berimbau.
Coca
Character, ficticious as far as we know, a capoeira master in the play Pagador de Promessa. Antônio Pitanga plays the part in the film.
portraitRoberto Batalin
also Bataglin, or Battaglin. Brasilian actor (4 sep. 1926 -- before 2004). Appears in many movies, among which the best remembered will probably be Nelson Pereira dos Santos's Rio 40°, (1955). He also was involved in sound an owned a recording studio for film work in Rio.
portraitDias Gomes
Alfredo de Freitas Dias Gomes, Brasilian playwright and screenplay writer (Salvador, 1922 -- São Paulo, 1999). He left Bahia for Rio de Janeiro at age 13. His theatrical career began as early as 1942 with a comedy, Pé-de-cabra. His drama Pagador de Promessa (Keeper of Promisses) rewarded him with nationwide celebrity in 1959. In this play, he uses capoeira, like samba as an dance attraction and releaver of tension, but also as a symbol for a popular culture which vehemently opposes clerical intolerance. Director Anselmo Duarte earned the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1962 with the movie closely based on the play, shot in natural settings in Salvador. After the military overtake of 1964, Dias Gomes was decommissioned from his post as art director for Rádio Nacional, censorship prohibited his plays, and he went through a period of obscurity. Afterwards, he took the genre of TV serial to levels of quality and of dramatic and social interest not reached before him.
portraitCarybé
Hector Júlio Paride Bernabó, painter and draughtsman (Lanús, Argentine, 1911 — Salvador Bahia, 1997). Reared in Italy after World War I, he settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1938, then in Salvador in 1950. He is mostly known for his drawings and sculptures on candomblé and capoeira themes. He also worked for the movies (documentation and design of sets and costumes for Lima Barreto's O Cangaceiro, 1955). The drawings printed on the last page of the album are from his Jogo da Capoeira, col. Recôncavo, nº3, Bahia, 1951, republished 1962.
portraitAugusto Rodrigues
Brazilian painter, draughtsman, caricaturist and teacher (Recife, PE, 1913 -- Resende, RJ 1993). Settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1936. In 1948 he opened with other artists and teachers the first Escolinha de Arte do Brasil (Little Art School of Brazil).
portraitMarcel Gautherot
French photographer (Paris, 1910 -- Rio de Janeiro, 1996). Settled in Brazil c. 1945. Books and exhibitions have recently shown his work, originally published in reviews and newspapers.
The Rio de Janeiro newspaper Correio da Manhã dated January 28, 1964, published the photograph on the 11.th page of the album, crediting it to Marcel Gautherot. The picture ilustrated Capoeira de Angola, by Benedito Peixoto. We have no clue about which of the photographers in the list must be credited for the other photos.
portraitJosé Medeiros
Brazilian photographer (Teresina, PI, 1921 -- Aquila, Italie 1990). He influenced a generation by his work published in the weekly O Cruzeiro, until 1962. Noteworthy is his reported on candomblé in Salvador in 1951. Afterwards (1965) he was a director of photography in Brazilian movies.
Credited with Paginação ... image), he could as well be the author of some of the photos or possibly of the reproduction of the artwork.
Salomão Scliar
Brazilian photographer and film director (Porto Alegre, 1925 -- idem, 1991). Directed the feature movie Vento Norte, 1952 and documentaries.
portraitAnselmo Duarte
Brazilian actor and film director (Salto (SP), 1920 -- ). After acting in lover roles, he directed his first film in 1957. His second, Pagador de Promessa (Keeper of Promises) was his greater success (Palme d'Or in Cannes 1962). This film used a fair number of capoeiristas for the scene shot on the stairs of the N.S. dos Passos church, in the Pelourinho neighbourhood, collectively credited as Master Canjiquinha and his capoeira academy. Bahian film director Glauber Rocha had prepared the shooting in Salvador; neither writer Dias Gomes nor director Duarte had a direct knowledge of Bahia and Bahianos and of local power play. On the previous year, Glauber Rocha had already used Canjiquinha in his own, very tight budget, feature film Barravento.

The spirit of the times

A world in conflict

A few dates:

April 21, 1960
Brazilian capital transferred to brand-new Brasília. The Federal District of Rio de Janeiro becomes the Guanabara State.
May 1, 1960
US spy plane U2 shot down over USRR. Paris talks abandoned.
July 29, 1960
Theatrical debut of Pagador de Promessa (Keeper of Promisses) by Dias Gomes, directed by Flávio Rangel at the TBC (Brazilian Comedy Theatre), in São Paulo.
January 3, 1961
USA break diplomatic ties with Cuba after nationalization of US assets.
January 31, 1961
Jânio Quadros takes charge as President of Brazil under a democratic label.
April 12, 1961
Russian cosmonaut Gagarin orbits around the Earth.
April 15-17, 1961
Cuban forces repell invasion at Baía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs).
in 1961
  • Glauber Rocha films Barravento, with capoeira scene on the beach and music by Mestre Canjiquinha.
  • Navy officer Lamartine Pereira republishes his self-instruction manual Capoeira, a arte da defesa pessoal brasileira (Capoeira, the Art of Brazilian Self-Defense) as Capoeira sem Mestre (Capoeira Without Master).
  • The review Tablado Folclórico republishes musicologist and folklorist Renato Almeida's Brinquedo da Capoeira (The Capoeira Toy) report on capoeira in Santo Antonio de Jesus, in the Recôncavo, of 1941.
  • Jorge Amado updates the chapter about capoeira in his Bahia de Todos os Santos (1st. ed. 1945), including mestre Traíra.
August 13, 1961
Construction of the Berlin Wall.
August 25, 1961
President Jânio Quadros resigns, provoking a political crisis, as Vice-President João Goulart belongs to the other, nationalist, wing in Brazilian politics.
7 setembro 1961
João Goulart takes up presidency, with a change in the Constitution having him controlled by the Congress.
October 15-31, 1962
Missils Crisis between Cuba, USA and USSR.
October 29, 1961
USSR explodes 50 megaton hydrogen bomb, the mightiest ever.
February 7, 1962
The USA decree a commercial embargo on Cuba.
May 1962
Pagador de Promessa earns the Palme d'Or in Cannes.
in 1962
  • Army officer Inezil Penna Marinho republishes his Subsídios para o ensino da Capoeira (Resources for the teaching of Capoeira) (1st. ed. 1945).
  • Carybé's Capoeira art book of 1950 reissued in a volume grouping the whole Recôncavo collection.
  • Producer Jorge Santos records Mestre Bimba's Curso de Capoeira Regional in Salvador.
June 16, 1962
Brazil wins its second consecutive soccer World Cup in Chile.
October 11, 1962
Opening session of Council Vatican 2.
January 6, 1963
A national vote sets the presidential regime again in Brazil.
August 28, 1963
Dr. Martin Luther King delivers his I had a Dream speech in Washington in front of 300000 protesters against institutional racism.
November 22, 1963
US President J.F. Kennedy killed by a sharpshooter in Dallas.
March 30, 1964
Military coup overthrows Brazilian President João Goulart.
in 1964
  • Salvador's Municipal Tourism agency publishes Capoeira Angola, by Mestre Pastinha (probably ghostwritten by journalist Wilson Lins).

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