References of Brazilian Capoeira Recordings

Pol Briand – polbrian@mandinga.fr

Revised: Dec 12, 2006.

Meaning of terms used in:

Glossary

These descriptions do not have any normative character; they apply to what one hears in the recordings.

Musical instruments

Agogo
small handheld idiophone, made of two iron bells struck with a wooden stick in capoeira context.
Atabaque
long, conical, medium-sized drum, hand-struck in vertical position in capoeira context.
Berimbau
percussive musical bow with calabash resonator. The player hits the single metal string (often tyre wire) with a wooden stick. He may shake a caxixí along with the stick. He may move the tone up, generally a little less than one tone, with a large coin pressed against the string. He may change the sound pressing the calabash opening against his stomach, or opening it. From the 1950's, only capoeirists play this instrument, which has turned a signal for their art.
Caxixí
small weaved rattle held in the hand that strikes the berimbau string with wooden stick.
Pandeiro
small hand-held frame drum often, not always, with four or five sets of cymbalets set in the frame (same as tambourine, basque drum or egyptian riqq). Widespread in Brazilian popular music.
Rêco-rêco
scraper idiophone. In capoeira context, notched bamboo scratched with wooden stick.

Musical forms

Canto de entrada
opening song. Invariably after chula and before corrido. Leader sings call, chorus repeats, adding the word camará. Generally sets situation, and pays lipservice to God and one's master in capoeira. The capoeira game begins as this song ends.
Chula
Opening song of a capoeira sequence, performed by the leader with no intervention of the chorus. Often reduced to a quadra (four-verse stanza) or sextilha (six-verse stanza). The name originates from Portuguese folk song. In capoeira context, often uses the seven-syllabe verse of the popular poetry of Northeastern Brazil (literatura de cordel. When lenghty, termed ladainha (litany)
Corrido
Leader sings one or two-line improvised call, chorus answers with one-line fixed refrain. This form exists in samba. In capoeira context, the leader often uses the seven-syllabe verse of the popular poetry of Northeastern Brazil (literatura de cordel. Sometimes he only performs rythmic variations on a single verse. Sung while the capoeiristas dance/fight.

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For more on the same subject, please refer to the french version of this document.