WHAT IS BARRAVENTO?
A. A. Decânio Filho
Translated by Shayna McHugh
Regarding the email of Claudio
A. Sampaio Filho (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dear Mestre Decânio,
Thank you for the guidance,
I already entered in contact with Mestre Itapoan.
I was talking with my mestre
about the satisfaction of having communicated with V.Sas, via e-mail, when he asked me to ask V.Sas a doubt that he was not
able to clarify until even today with any other mestre.
Which is the Toque of Barra-vento
and in which type of Game should it be played???
Mestre Pastinha referred to
this type of toque sometimes, in the songs that he sang.
Thanks in advance, and in case
you need anything here from São José dos Campos do not hesitate to contact me.
I know that Mestre Esdras is
one of the members of CEPAC, my Mestre, Teófilo dos Santos, is always in contact with him.
the doubts persist
about the answers that you obtain
God that inhabits the heart of each one of us
Suddenly shows you
The way, the truth and the light that guides us!
ANSWER… ?... !...
Initially I should make some
observations on the question “Which is the Toque of Barra-vento”...
Which is the toque can only be answered with the berimbau… so I will limit myself to responding to what is the toque…
To continue I ask permission
to discuss a little the expression “in which type of Game should it be played???”
The music provokes a modification
of the state of the soul of the listeners, it is enough to hear the toque of silence of the bugler in the quiet of the night…
the “Ave Maria” in the darkening of twilight… the beat of the drums in a forced march… the rhythm
in a terreiro of candomblé… the sweetness of an ijexá during the parade of afoxé… the hip-shaking of a frevo (improvised
Carnaval dance)… the swing of a reggae… the smooth guitar of Doryval Caimmi singing the gentleness of dying in
the ocean… the negritude of the Lagoa do Abaeté… or the plaintive shout of the black woman of acarajé marking
“ten o’clock at night”! Thus we can understand that the atabaque conducts the human being to the trance
of the orixá, which is nothing more than a modified state of consciousness in which the dynamic of our body is manifested
when freed from the superficial standards of behavior imposed by the culture in which we grow and live. In a similar way the
toque of the berimbau conducts the practitioner to the trance of capoeira, a modified state of consciousness in which the
practitioner, free from the social standards of behavior, freely manifests his response to the rhythm-melody directly linked
to the deepest part of his biological structure, that is, the anatomic and functional foundations of the nervous and endocrine
systems. It is not a “type of game” that requires the toque, but rather the “toque,” by means of the
rhythm, the melody, and the tempo associated with ritual movements and with the code of partnership, that induces the capoeira
player to a determined motor behavior. For example the “jogo de dentro” (inside game), under the toques of Banguelinha,
Banguela and/or São Bento Pequeno, is used for the simulation of with a weapon (knife, machete, dagger, razor…), inside
the rules of the game (ritual) given the gentleness and slowness of the toque, which generates controlled movements and allows
safe dodges, thus guaranteeing the physical integrity of the partners. Whereas the toque of “Cavalaria,” rapid
and hot, brings about a fast and more violent game.
Regarding the question of what,
we can consider the definition of “barravento.”
In the “Dicionário Aurélio,”
Entry: barravento (masculine noun) 1. Favorite toque of Xangô, in Bantu candomblés. 2. The anxiety that dominates the
filha-de-santo (daughter of the saint) before the arrival of the orixá.
Entry: barlavento (masculine noun) 1. Direction from where the wind blows.
2. Side of a sea vessel turned to the direction from where the wind blows [Antonym: sotavento]
The fisherman of the Bahian
Recôncavo use barravento as a synonym of barlavento. In candomblé, beyond these meanings, there exists a toque denominated
“barravento,” faster and hotter than the ijexá rhythm.
The samba of the Bahian
recôncavo, which is a choreographic manifestation also based in the ijexá rhythm like capoeira, we find two varieties, differentiated
by the ritual and the tempo of the toques:
- in Santo Amaro da Purificação,
santamarense (also known as “samba de barravento” or “de chula,”) slower, of more demanding ritual;
each participant must sing a chula before starting to samba and only dance under the exclusive accompaniment of the orchestra,
without singing or chorus;
- in Cachoeira de São Felix,
cachoeirano, or “de corrido,” of a hotter rhythm, whose ritual allows the dance under chorus (corrido).
Given the common origin of
these cultural manifestations, Mestre Pastinha used this denomination of “barravento” to characterize a faster
rhythm, whose guideline I cannot reproduce, especially because each mestre asserts his personality on his toques – it
is in this way that the infinite musical richness of capoeira arises.
In my view, “barravento”
itself is not a toque but rather a “tempo” of ijexá. However, this does not prevent some author from creating
a toque and calling it “Barravento”… I strongly believe that the important thing is to choose a tranquil,
smooth, slow toque that develops a friendly, respectful, pleasurable game, in which each one can manifest his current potential
without the risk of injuring or being injured, capable of sealing an friendship indestructible by Time and by Death, like
that which still unites me to Cisnando, Ruy Gouveia, Tiburcinho, Mané Rozendo, Compadre Luizinho, Compadre Brasilino, Caiçara,
Ezequiel… and above all to the Mestres Bimba and Pastinha!
is a joyful dialogue
the ijexá rhythm
bodies based in a single US
the magic of the berimbau toque
is a mere game of words for mental gymnastics
is important is the game, the joy
prizes are Happiness and Interior Growth!