DISAPPEARANCE OF CAPOEIRA
ANGOLA IN THE 1970s
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.