Archive for Rio De Janiero

3rd Tour of Duty: Brazil

Posted in Capoeira nuggets, Updates! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2009 by testcapo

A few months ago, Mestre Di Mola asked me to join him in Rio in the recording of Omulu Guanabara Capoeira’s 4th album. In all honesty, at first I wasn’t going to go. I have been to Brazil a couple of times and wanted to ideally wait another year before my 3rd return. I spent a lot of 2008 traveling within the US and abroad and I was looking forward to spending a summer of total relaxation. BUT, I checked ticket prices and it happened to be the one week of the Swine Flu scare and airline prices were LOW. Tickets to Rio were $550.

I had no excuses. I was going to Rio. It will be my 3rd tour of duty.

Palhaço was in summer school and he couldn’t miss any classes without getting kicked out so he had to stay home. I called up a couple of my girlfriends (also capoeira students) and in 24 hours we had our tickets.

Angela (Manga Rosa), Vicki (Sabeginha) and Me (Andorinha)

Angela (Manga Rosa), Vicki (Sabeginha) and Me (Andorinha)

So we were on our way to Brazil.

I was given no information about recording times, possible songs I was singing, or training times or locations. I had no information other than Professor Baiano’s phone number. That’s it. Hopefully he picks up…..

We finally got in touch with Baiano and were told to meet him at Cosme Velho to train a little bit with Mestre Preguica and Mestre Di Mola. As we get there we are greeted by all of the capoeira instructors from around Brazil. No students, just Instructors and Professors. And so it begins.

The training was excellent and as a capoeira teacher, it is rare to get to train with a group of fellow capoeira instructors. It was invigorating to challenge and to be challenged.

But I digress, This blog entry is about the music, let’s refocus on recording this CD.

A bunch of capoeira kids that joined us after training.

A bunch of capoeira kids that joined us after training.

After training, we head out to Barra Tijuca which is where the recording studio is located. It took us about an hour to get there. We were sweaty and hungry from training and seeing that we would only get started at about 10pm, it looked like it was going to be a long night.

…….And it was.An awesome night but one that kept us going until 5:30 int he morning. We recorded throughout the evening. Excellent songs, on point bateria, perfect. However, I still didn’t have the song that I was going to sing. Mestre Di Mola spoke of this ‘song’ throughout the evening but I still have yet to see anything. I was getting nervous but I have to have faith so I waited.

Finally around 2am I get the song. Baiano sings the lyrics and melody with me. For those that have heard any of  Omulu Capoeira Guanabara’s CDs you will recognize baiano’s voice immediately. He has a voice that stands apart from the capoeira crowd, it is incredibly operatic. One can easily consider him a prodigy. Simply said, he’s got vocals. As Baiano goes through the melody with me, I start to see that he is a stickler with details. He is a perfectionist and was not going to let me slide for a second. I get nervous. We decided that rehearsing at 3 in the morning was not going to get me anywhere. We finally finish at 5:30 am and it is at this point that I am reminded that I am not as young as I used to be.

Recording the 4th CD

Recording the 4th CD

Next day, I holed myself in my apartment in Ipanema. I practiced the song throughout the day. Later on I met up with Baiano and Indio. We hung out at Ipanema Beach and I, of course, continued to practice and sing. I had very little time to make this song not only sound good but also my own.

We met the next day to record. This time we met a little bit earlier because we needed to be finished in time to get to Lapa for the roda. This means that I cannot mess up because I will NOT be the one making Mestre DiMola late to his Lapa roda. We go through all of the songs and I was the last to go. I was ready.

A shot of cachaça settled some of my nerves and I was felling confident. Let’s do this thing.

BUT then Mestre DiMola flipped the script. He wanted Baiano and I to do a duet. Wait. What?? That is like trying to hang with Mariah Carey. So, ladies and gentlemen, it was time for my ‘A’ game. Take no prisoners. Let’s unleash the dogs.

It it turned into an experience that I will always remember. Signing with Professor Baiano forced me to push myself out of any comfort zone. He has got crazy vocals and an ability turn any melody into something that is absolutley poetic. It was truly a humbling experience but also one where I know that I let there be no boundaries on my own voice. It was then that I realized that I hold back quite a bit when I sing in the roda and I am not sure why. Singing with Baiano gave me license to unleash my own true ability.

The contributors of the 4th CD

The contributors of the 4th CD

And that is priceless.

Sometimes I wonder why I stayed with capoeira for such a long time. Sometimes I fell like capoeira is the boyfriend that I can’t break up with even though he can sometimes give me a huge headache. But then I am reminded. Capoeira brings me gifts. All the time. It brings me training with world classes mestres, recording CD’s, staying up till all hours of the morning with fellows capoeirstas signing capoeira songs and drinking chopp, dancing samba and pagode, and, of course, roda’s in Lapa.

Muito Obrigada, Meus Mestres, Rio, e capoeira!




An Interview with Mestre Preguiça

Posted in Capoeira nuggets with tags , , , , on April 29, 2008 by testcapo

CHECK IT OUT! This is an interview with Mestre Preguiça. Definitely an important read.

Interview with Mestre Preguiça

Source: Revista Capoeira
Translated into English by Shayna McHugh

Mestre PreguicaWaldenkolk Oliveira, known as mestre Preguiça, was born in Sítio do Mato in Bahia, Brazil. It was June of 1947. His mother died when he was only seven years old, and he was left alone to face the world about which he knew so little. Three years later he was in Salvador, living on the streets, sleeping under bridges along with other street kids. In the constant search for a direction that he could follow in life, he would spend time in the poor neighborhoods of the Bahian capital, like Calçadas and Ribeira. That was where he met Gilson Capoeira of the Periperí neighborhood in 1959, who taught him his first Capoeira moves and brought him to Mestre Bimba’s academy. The powerful mestre then taught him the rules of discipline and respect that Waldenkolk longed for.

How was your first contact with Mestre Bimba? Do you remember much?

When we entered the building, the students were training in a small room on the second floor of the Academy. Mestre Bimba rested on a bed in a side room. He was seated in silence, and his eyes observed each detail. Since that moment when I saw him for the first time, I felt that that man was a great and powerful mentor who didn’t need a weapon to defend himself. I was attracted by the power of the martial art and by the spirituality that I felt in the atmosphere. I knew then that Capoeira would be an important part of my life.

Were you soon accepted as a student?

When I told the mestre that I wanted to train, he mumbled and told me to do a ‘queda de rins.’ Although I fell over, he still invited me to join the class. I trained there until graduating from Mestre Bimba’s Academy.

What was the graduation ceremony like?

The graduates gathered in Mestre Bimba’s house for the ceremony. We all wore white pants and shirts and shoes, as was the tradition. That way, if our bodies touched the ground during the game, the dirt would show. Each graduate received a blue belt and a small silver metal with an engraved figure of a capoeirista. Afterwards there was a big party, with all the capoeiristas and their friends.

And why is your nickname Preguiça (lazy/sloth)?

The control, strength, and flexibility of Bimba’s students scared me a lot and I used hide behind the bench, afraid to participate. I was always one of the last to enter the roda, because of a little bit of fear and also caution. This slowness led the mestre to give me the nickname Preguiça.

Did your participation in Bahia’s folkloric performing groups help you go to Rio de Janeiro?

Yes. After I graduated around 1965, I went to Rio with the group Vem Camará.

Talk a little bit about your experience in Rio.

In 1968 and 1969 I was crowned national champion of the Golden Berimbau competition. Since I was champion in three consecutive years, I won the Golden Berimbau trophy, which was the biggest Capoeira prize at the time. The following year, I prepared two of my best students, Mosquito and Borracha, to go to the same event and I was entitled the Best Coach of Brazil, for my success as a teacher. To further develop my professional skills, I studied physical education at the university. This university was the first to offer a Capoeira course, and I was the professor.

And your experience in Europe?

I went to Europe as part of the Brazilian Ballet Show and I spread the practice of Capoeira in almost all the countries there. When I returned, I continued giving classes with Senzala, while I finished my degree. In 1976 I went to Austria to do a specialized Physical Education course, and I also taught Capoeira. Upon my return, besides my normal classes, I performed Capoeira in shows, theaters, nightclubs, and on TV. I ended up forming two groups: Mucuiu nu Zambi and Ganga Zumba. I also did a performance on Fantástico [a very famous Brazilian TV show], playing the role of Madame Satã.

How was your experience in the United States?

I didn’t speak English, but I liked the challenge of teaching Capoeira in another language. I began by writing the words “right” and “left” on my hands, which helped me give instructions to the students. After a year, I had already developed a strong base of study.