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Capoeira instruments
The History | The Game | The Music | The Rhythms | The Etiquette



For those who have never seen Capoeira played, the roda (circle) is where everything happens. It is the climax of the art of Capoeira. At the head of the roda is the orchestra consisting of three berimbaus, two pandeiros and one atabaque. The berimbau is a mono-chord instrument from Central Africa, it dictates the flavor and speed of the Capoeira game inside the roda. This lead instrument can play over 10 different traditional rhythms with countless variations. The berimbau's unique acoustic sound is accompanied by the atabaque, a drum much like a primitive conga. The atabaque is the heartbeat of the Capoeira roda and is accentuated by the pandeiro (tambourine).

The Capoeira orchestra is completed by the chorus, the ring of voices echoing from the roda in a call and response style song lead by one of the Capoeiristas. Capoeira songs tell of the art's powerful history, stories of legendary mestres, and of playful anecdotes. These stories, true and legendary alike, are colorful, inspiring, funny, and sometimes sad. Above all, Capoeira songs illuminate the intensity and vision of the art. Songs are sung in poetic, rhythmic Portuguese, Capoeiristas of all races and ethnicity are inspired to learn the language.