4 minutes reading time (840 words)

Capoeira week two

Ok so I know I said I would talk about the instruments of capoeira but I have just finished a class where the importance of the songs came up.

The songs of Angola capoeira come in two main structures and act as both a referee and commentator for the game (roda).

The first is the ladainha (littany), a solo often sung by the most senior member present, usually the one playing lead berimbau.

These songs may be improvised on the spot, but are most often chosen from a canon of extant ladainhas. Topics can be stories, history, important news as well as pure poetry, and almost always metaphorical. Here is a ladainha I pulled off the net.

Eu já vivo enjoado
Eu já vivo enjoado
de viver aqui na terra
amanhã eu vou pra lua
falei com minha mulher
ela então me respondeu
que nos vamos se deus quiser
Vamos fazer um ranchinho
todo feito de sapé
amanhã as sete horas
nos vamos tomar café
e o que eu nunca acreditei,
o que não posso me conformar
que a lua vem à terra
e a terra vem à lua
todo isso é conversa
pra comer sem trabalhar
o senhor, amigo meu, colega velho
escute bem ao meu cantar
quem é dono não ciuma
e quem não é vai ciumar

I am sick
of living here on Earth
Tomorrow I'll go to the Moon
I said to my wife
And she responded
Then we'll go, God willing
We'll have a little ranch
All made of straw
Tomorrow morning at seven
We'll have some coffee
What I never believed
Nor could I ever confirm
The moon would come to Earth
And the Earth to the Moon
This is just talk
to eat without working
Sir, good friend, old colleague
Listen well to my song
He who is the master of his land doesn't envy
And he who isn't certainly will


An interpretation of this song could be: Nothing comes easy without hard work. The person who sings the ladainha cries out "Ieeeeeeee" (pronounced YaaaaaaaaY) to call to order the attendees of the roda, that the roda is starting. The ladainha ends with "Camará", "Camaradinho" (fits better rhythmically), or conversely, "É hora, hora" (It's the hour). This tagline marks the end of the ladainha and the beginning of the chula, or more properly louvação (praise). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capoeira_music

The other type of song found in capoeira Angola is a basic call and response style. This type of song can give encouragement, call for a better game or comment on someone’s great move. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it.

The chorus is often indicated by being used as the first line in the song:

Ai, ai, aidê
oiá Joga bonito que eu quero ver
Ai, ai, aidê
oiá Joga bonito que eu quero aprender
Ai, ai, aidê
oiá nossa senhora quem vai me protejer

Ai, ai, aidê (a girl's name)

Play beautifully so I can see
Play beautifully so I can learn
Our Lady will protect me

The corrido communicates with the action in the roda (though without the level of interaction in a traditional samba de roda) to inspire the players, to comment directly on the action, invokes, praises, warns, tells stories, and teaches moral values. There is a corrido for welcoming the roda, for closing the roda, asking for the players to play less aggressively, more aggressively, to not grab the other person, and the list continues. Corridos can also be challenges (desafios). The lead will sing a corrido then after some time sing one very similar, requiring the chorus (everyone else save the two playing in the roda) to be paying close attention to sing the correct response or two singers can switch corridos on a certain subject. This use of the corrido in a roda is more rare, requiring a bit more expertise on the part of the singers than normal. The desafio/challenge can be used with ladainhas as well. The corridos have the broadest melodic variation from one to the next, though many corridos share the same melodies. Thus a vast repertoire of corridos can be learned and improvisation within corridos becomes a less daunting prospect. Like the louvação, the corrido response is sung in unison, and like the louvação an occasional harmonization, usually a third above, is used as a punction by one of the singers.

These songs add an extra dimension to the game and the importance of learning Portuguese is really apparent when the laugher starts and you’re the only one not getting the joke. In one game we had all three berimbau break and the next song to be sung was to bless the instruments (at least I think that’s what happened). But the songs really help make the game feel like a game.

Well sorry for the late blog I have been busy as a bee

Next week instruments and movement!!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hike/129697297044343 this is my fb

oh and if there is anyone you think would be great to train with let me know!!


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Wednesday, 07 June 2023

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