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Disappearance of Capoeira Angola



A. A. Decānio Filho

Translation by Shayna McHugh


Maya, regarding your e-mail:


“I heard that during the 1970s capoeira Angola almost disappeared. Do you remember this? Can you explain to me why? Do you think that I can ask mestres of capoeira Angola that question?”


I take advantage of the opportunity to publish the response online.


At one time I observed the disappearance of the capoeira game of Bahia or, as it is the custom to say today, capoeira angola, which is practiced in a spontaneous and natural fashion by our people, whose soul seems to flow in permanent flux. Simultaneous processes occurred: the growth of the space occupied by capoeira regional in the headlines of the newspapers, the migration of new mestres to other states and countries, and the disappearance of the old mestres, leaving an emptiness that only time would come to fill. It is necessary to highlight the distinguished role of the two “Joćos de Pastinha,” Joćo “Grande” and Joćo “Pequeno,” and of the “street capoeiristas,” especially the “Group of the Mercado Modelo,” main pillars of our traditions, while the new generations of capoeiristas and mestres reproduce in anonymity to appear, innumerable, in the 1990s and renew the values of our art-and-skill. Remembering also the numerous more modest and humble mestres, and those of lesser merit and ability who swarm in the rodas and who still hang out in our midst, some truly excellent. I believe that the mestres of capoeira angola would be honored with your question.