• Rio de Janeiro
     Capoeiristas from Bahia give a spectacle this evening in the Great Journey of TV-Tupi 

    [..] mestre "Cobrinha Verde" and his group of capoeiristas, showing, live, the "arrastão", the "encruzilhada", the "rabo de arraia" and other capoeira kicks.

    • Read below!

    • Read below!

    O Jornal, 1961

    The text

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      Capoeiristas from Bahia will give a spectacle this evening in the Great Journey of TV-Tupi
      O Jornal, 9/Nov/1961

      An authentic capoeira spectacle will be presented this evening by TV-Tupi, duing the program "The Great Journey", which will focus also the traditional and picturesque things of the city of Salvador.

      The program will go to air at 21:34 hours, and will bring together, in the studios of Channel 6, mestre "Cobrinha Verde" and his group of capoeiristas, showing, live, the "arrastão", the "encruzilhada", the "rabo de arraia" and other capoeira kicks.


      A sport, ballet or a religious cerimony, capoeira is the three things at the same time. Or, at least, these get mixed up in the secret origin of capoeira. Before, however, it was only a fighting style, brought by the negros from Angola. A fight where the maximum importance was given to the feet and the headbutt, while the hands served only as support. Capoeira made invincible those who practised it and for this was right away persecuted in all the slave huts. But the negros didn't delay in finding a solution: the camuflaged the fight with pantomimes, mimics and dances, accompanied by music. This way they fooled the supervisor. This was the origin of what we today know as capoeira.


      Capoeira comes from "capão" [a patch of forest in the field] because it was in the forests and in the forest clearings where the runaway negros were hiding ready to react with very violent kicks against those who would come to recapture them. With the abolition capoeira became mainly in Rio and in Recife a malandro privilege. However, in Bahia, capoeira conserved and brought together its character of a folcloric manifestation, substituting the boldness of the kicks for an admirable coreographic richness, becoming a true tourist attraction.

      There are countless capoeira groups in Bahia. All of them are led by a "mestre", who all have the "closed body" through mandinga and, following the tradition, there is only one weapon that can beat them: the "ticum", a wooden knife. It's a secret of capoeira. It a mystery of Bahia.


      The baribau is the typical capoeira instrument. It was already used by the indians. It has only one chord and it is only but a bow with is connected to a steel wire in both endings. This steel wire is a modern improvement, because the authentic indian baribau had a taut cipó "imbé" [lacy tree philodendron]. A gourd in one of the endings serves as a sound box. The baribau is plucked with the help of a copper coin, which the tradition demands to be a dobrão, an old brazilian coin. The caxiui is made of a little weaved straw bag which holds seeds inside. When shaken, it functions as a rattle. The pandeiro nowadays substituted the african drum, which was used in capoeira in the old days.

      These instruments make the "orchestra" which accompanies capoeira. The baribau is the instrument which makes the music, being for this matter the main instrument. The caxiui and the pandeiro provide the rhythm.

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      Today, capoeira, in Bahia is an authentic sport. People from all social layers practise it with enthusiasm. There are university capoeira groups and also countless "academies" for the study of capoeira. While capoeira can only with difficulty be regulated as sport to serve for competition because the tendency of its kicks is to seriously wound one of many adversaries. However with its original coreography and rough and primitive music, capoeira is a dignified ballet which is seen to hold folcloric peculiarities. And it's before anything a style of rhythmic gymnastics which is capable to develop the general physical preparation, and specially the agility and the resistance.

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