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What is Barravento?



A. A. Decânio Filho

Translated by Shayna McHugh


Regarding the email of Claudio A. Sampaio Filho (


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.



If the doubts persist

Continue asking

Meditating about the answers that you obtain

Until one day

The 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,” we find:

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!


Capoeira is a joyful dialogue

Under the ijexá rhythm

Of bodies based in a single US

By the magic of the berimbau toque

Theory is a mere game of words for mental gymnastics

What is important is the game, the joy

The prizes are Happiness and Interior Growth!