18?? - Was born.
1936 - Newspaper O Imparcial, 12th March: Samuel Querido de Deus challenged Bimba. Diário da Bahia, 13th March: "The maximum title of Bahian capoeira - Bimba refutes Samuel de Souza's allegations [..]."
1937 - Appears as a capoeira de Angola informant in the book Negros Bantus by Edison Carneiro (photo below). On 11th January in Estado da Bahia about the II Afro-Brazilian Congress: "The 14th [of January] - Capoeira de Angola exhibition, under the command of Samuel Querido de Deus [..]". Read more!.
1938 - On 18th September (Sunday) was photographed in a capoeira Angola roda in Itapagipe by Ruth Landes (the photos and the passage from Landes's book below).
1945 - Jorge Amado talks about him in the book Bahia de Todos os Santos.
194? - Died (In O Cruzeiro of 10/Jan/1948 Juvenal talks about him in the past).
The photos 2 and 3 below made by Ruth Landes on the 18th September of 1938 in Itapagipe, Salvador, are part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection in the US*. Landes writes in her book The City of Women (1947), that she participated in a feast in Cabaceiras da Ponte in Itapagipe (see the map below!). And continues to describe a capoeira roda that see watched there:
«We had arrived at the spot where the men were forming for capoeira. Watchers were crowded four deep around a wide circle, and there was not a woman or a priest among them. To one side of the innermost ring stood three tall Negros, each holding a berimbau with one end resting on the ground. Two more musicians soon came - one with a chocalho, or metal rattle, and the other with a pandeiro, or tambourine. Edison and the others helped me push front, and we were glad of the diversion.
Two capoeirists were squatting there facing the musicians. One was the champion Beloved of God, with the Christian name of Samuel. He was tall, black, middle-aged and muscular, a fisherman by trade. His challenger was The Black Leopard, a younger man [29 years old, born in 1909 - velhosmestres.com], shorter and fatter. They were barefooted, wearing striped cotton jersey shirts, one with white trousers, the other with dark, one with a felt hat, the other with a cap which he later changed to a hard straw hat.»
So on the two photos we see a pair of men playing. M Querido de Deus is supposedly the one, that has the "striped cotton jersey shirt" and the other may not be Onça Preta, because doesn't have that shirt nor dark pants nor is he barefoot. It is probably the third capoeira, who pushed Onça Preta back to enter into the game.
* Ruth Landes had another series of photos from 23rd of October 1938 showing a capoeira roda, however she doesn't describe it in her book. And there isn't sufficient data on the Smithsonian Institution's collection to say who these capoeiras are.
Cabaceiras da Ponte
The City of Women
We arrived at the spot where the men were forming for capoeira. Watchers were crowded four deep around a wide circle, and there was not a woman or a priest among them. To one side of the innermost ring stood three tall Negroes, each holding a berimbau with one end resting on the ground. Two more musicians soon came - one with a chochalho, or metal rattle, and the other with a pandeiro, or tambourine. Edison and the others helped me push front, and we were glad of the diversion.
Two capoeirists were squatting there facing the musicians. One was the champion Beloved of God, with the Christian name of Samuel. He was tall, black, middle-aged and muscular, a fisherman by trade. His challenger was The Black Leopard, a younger man, shorter and fatter. They were barefooted, wearing striped cotton jersey shirts, one with white trousers, the other with dark, one with a felt hat, the other with a cap which he later changed to a hard straw hat. Squatting in their hats and bare feet, one had his left arm on his left thigh, the other had his right arm on his right thigh, and they stared straight ahead, resting. It was required of them to keep siletn, and the requirement carried over to the audience.
The orchestra opened the events by strumming an invocation, and this monotonous accompaniment too was essential to
the occasion. It was a sort of whining nasal-toned framework within which the men executed acrobatic marvels, always to the correct beat, while the musicians chanted mocking verses:
"I stood at the foot of the cross
Saying my prayer
When there arrived Catherine
The very image of the Devil.
"Eh, eh, Ah-Ruanda!
Missy, let's go away!
To beyond the sea!
It's a sharp knife, Missy,
It's for piercing.
Missy, throw it to this side,
Missy, throw it to that side.
Eh, eh, long live my master
And my mistress, who taught me!
Master, leave me to the vagrant life!
Missy, to the capoeira life!
Missy, may the earth revolve!
Master, may the world go on!*
It was a song of challenge and hope and resignation, containing fragments of rebellious thoughts. It did not possess a simple theme well worked out, but it summarized a type of life and of protest. And it opened the fight.
Beloved of God swayed on his haunches while he faced his opponent with a grin and gauged his chances. The fight involved all parts of the body except the hands, a precaution demanded by the police to obviate harm. As the movements followed the musicla accompaniment, the flowed into a slow-motion, dream-like sequence that was more a dancing than wrestling. As the law stipulated that capoeirists must not hurt each other, blows become acrobatic stances whose balancing scored in the final check-up, and were named and classified. Various types of
* This song and those following, to p. 109, translated from the Portuguese of Edison Carneiro, Negros Bantus, pp. 149-153, 155, 158, 133, 138-140.
capoeira had evolved, with subtleties in the forms and sequences of the blows and in the styles of playing the berimbau.
Beloved was prodigiously agile in the difficult formal encounters with his adversary, and he smiled constantly while the ritual songs droned on:
"They told my wife
That a capoeira man had conquered me.
The woman swore, and stamped her foot down firm
That this could not have been."
And the berimbaus changed again:
"There was I. Oh! There was my brother,
There was my brother and I.
My brother rented a house
But neither he paid, nor I!"
Impertinently, with slow, calculated, beautiful movements, Beloved butted his adversary with his hatted head, catching him lightly in the pit of the stomach, upsetting him so that he fell on his head. Thereupon the orchestra struck up triumphantly:
Capoeira kills one!
"The cutting knife is bad,
Prepare your stomach to catch it!"
The challenging echoes silenced, the round over, the two men walked and trotted restfully in a counter-clockwise circle one behind the other, the champion leading with his arms high in the air, and the other grasping his wrists from behind while the orchestra played and sang teasingly:
"In the days when I had money
My comrade called me 'kin.'
After my money was gone
My comrade scorned me as 'bold.'"
Gradually, having rested, the one in front wheeled to face the one behind, and they parried to the beat of the songs, never [stopping]. [page missing]
[The spectators] remained silent, only shuffling to ease their positions and inner excitement. Soon the bows whined an invocation for the new round:
"Who taught thee this good magic?
It was the mistress' nigger boy.
The nigger costs good money.
Good money needs to be earned.
"Fall, fall, Catharina,
Rise from the sea, come see Dalina.
"Tomorrow is a holy day,
Day of Corpus Christi.
He who has clothes goes to mass.
He who has none
Does - as I do!
"Fall, fall, Catharina..."
To me this was a performance incongruous and wonderful; to the others it was wonderful and completely absorbing. To them it was right. But the phrases startled me into conjectures about slavery, rebellion, and mockery, and I was astounded most at the manner of the performance, which robbed capoeira of its original sting. The police had removed the sting, and the blacks had converted the remains into a weird poignant dance. Did the songs carry meaning to the people now? Did they recall the struggles that inspired them, or did they merely dramatize black men, as candomblé dramatized black women? The rown of watchers were still, and their faces were impassive.
Again, the challenger and the champion began to trot with knees bent, arms swinging loose, Beloved amusing himself with intricate little movements of his feet. Suddenly a boy jumped into the center of the ring flourishing a pot of money. He had just made the rounds with his had requesting contributions for the fighters; and the orchestra, which rules the occasion, had decided that instead of apportioning the moeny, it should be left to a new pair to try for with their mouths, each fending off the other à la capoeira. The boy announced this [decision]. [page missing]