Queen of Cuban Country Music

Celina González
Con Frank Fernández Y Adalberto Alvarez

01 - Cantando Celina
02 - Aqui Nacen Los Soneros
03 - Aurora
04 - Santa Barbara
05 - Tonita
06 - Pedacito De Mi Vida
07 - Flores Para Tu Altar

Ensemble – Adalberto Alvarez Y Su Son
Leader – Adalberto Alvarez

Producer – Frank Fernández
Recorded By – Antonio López Rivero
Recorded At: Estudios de Grabaciones EGREM, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba. Julio 1987



 Celina González Zamora (16 March 1929, Jovellanos, Matanzas – 4 February 2015) was a Cuban singer-songwriter, who specialized in "música campesina", traditional music of the Cuban countryside. She is best known for co-authoring A Santa Bárbara with her partner Reutilio Domínguez. Her recording of it was a hit, as was Celia Cruz's version. Celina and Reutilio wrote "Yo soy el punto cubano": the recording was a hit in many countries throughout the world.

At age 16, Celina met Reutilio Dominguez in Santiago de Cuba. He became her singing partner and husband, resulting in a collaboration that lasted until his death in Guantanamo in 1971. In 1948 they began working with the famous Ñico Saquito and gained increasing popularity on radio, film and television. They performed in New York with Beny Moré and Barbarito Diez. In 1964 the duo stopped performing together and Celina continued as a soloist. In later years she sang with her son Lázaro, and was usually accompanied by the conjunto Campo Alegre.

Initially, her music was mainly that of the white countryside guajiro (peasant), with lyrics based on the poetics of décima. The musical form was often that of the punto cubano. The relationship with Ñico Saquito taught her a great deal about the son and the guaracha, and her later work made frequent use of those forms.

In 1980 she won Egrem's Disco de Plata award for the album Celina. This was the first of many awards. In 1984 she was awarded the Vanguardia Nacional for her artistic work and won a trip to the Soviet Union and Bulgaria with her son. In 1984 she won the award for Best Singer at the 27th International Music Festival in Cali, Colombia and after a successful tour in Europe in 1988 she recorded a session for the BBC.

Albums La rica cosecha and Desde La Habana te traigo were well received, and she was nominated, unsuccessfully, for a Grammy in 2001 in the 'Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album' category, for her CD Cincuenta años... como una reina. The album won instead the Cubadisco award for the same year. She died on 4 February 2015, aged 85 in her homeland Cuba.
this one and a lot more



Fiesta, Comida, Bailes, Danzas Cantares...



01. Celina González - Yo Soy el Punto Cubano [Punto] (4:03)
02. Inocente Iznaga - Sube la Loma Campana [Sucu Sucu] (2:42)
03. Conjunto Los Montunos - Parranda [Punto] (3:31)
04. Radeunda Lima - Mi Tierra Es Así [Guajira] (4:19)
05. Chanito Isidrón - Las Que Se Pintan el Pelo [Punto] (3:28)
06. Conjunto Los Pinares - Las Riquezas Naturales [Punto] (1:56)
07. Ramón Veloz - Amanecer Guajiro [Guajira] (2:46)
08. Martica Morejón - La Alborada [Punto] (5:33)
09. Adolfo Alfonso & Justo Vega - Controversia [Punto] (7:14)
10. Coralia Fernández - Mi Pedacito de Tierra [Son Montuño] (3:03)
11. Conjunto Palmas Y Cañas - Palmas y Cañas [Guajira Son] (3:30)
12. Chomat, Ana María - La Rosa Oriental [Son Montuño] (2:33)
13. José M. Rodríguez (Laúd) - Zapateo (2:22)
14. Ramón Veloz & Coralia Fernández - Guajira Guantanamera (4:23)

Production & booklet text by María Teresa Linares


  Guateque: (voz caribe) m. Fiesta con comida y baile que se da en una casa.
Guateque: El Padre Las Casas al hablar de los “bailes, danzas cantares”, que observó en Cuba, se refiere a los “Guateques” , una danza no ceremonial en la que circulaban, entre los que bailaban y cantaban, otros indios, dándoles de beber.

Oviedo dijo que los cantares y danzas se parecían a los de los labradores de España y tenían uno que los guiaba y cantaba solo, y le respondían en coro el resto de los bailadores. Tal vez esta es la razón de que a las fiestas campesinas de cantos y bailes en Cuba se les llama popularmente “guateques
Punto guajiro or punto cubano – or simply punto – is a sung genre of Cuban music, a poetic art with music. It emerged in the western and central regions of Cuba in the 17th century, and consolidated as a genre in the 18th century. Although it has Andalusian origins, it is a true Cuban genre because of its integration with African elements.

Punto is played by a group with various types of guitar: the Spanish guitar, the Cuban tres, the laúd and the tiple. The punto refers to the use of a pick (punteando), rather than strumming (rasgueado). There are three percussion instruments: the clave, the güiro and the guayo (also a scraper, but of metal). Singers form themselves into teams, and improvise their lines. They sing, or chant, an unvarying melody, with intervals between stanzas to give the singers time to prepare the next verse.

Early compositions were sometimes recorded in print, as were the names of some of the singer/composers. Beginning around 1935, punto reached a peak of popularity on Cuban radio. Nothing was done to record their work, but as it happens, a stenographer, Aida Bode, was a fan of this genre, and she wrote down the verses as they were broadcast. Finally, in 1997, her transcriptions were published in book form.

Celina González and Albita both sang punto in the first part of their careers, proving that the genre is still alive, though perhaps moribund in its original form. Celina has one of the great voices in popular music, and her supporting group Campo Alegre is outstanding. For aficionados, however, Indio Naborí (Sabio Jesús Orta Ruiz, b. 30 September 1922) is the greatest name in punto, for his decima poetry, which he wrote daily for the radio and newspapers. He is also a published author, with several collections of his poetry, much of which has a political nueva trova edge...

this one and a lot more



Que Buena Rumba...

Desde Cuba
¡La Rumba está buena!


01. Saludo de Matanzas - Afrocuba de Matanzas
02. Tambor (Batarrumba) - Afrocuba de Matanzas
03. Caridad (Batarrumba) - Afrocuba de Matanzas
04. Tasajero - Afrocuba de Matanzas
05. Roncona (Columbia) - Columbia de Puerto
06. Recuerdo a Malanga (Columbia) - Columbia de Puerto
07. Oyelos de Nuevo - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
08. Lo Que Dice el Abakua, Lo - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
09. Alma Libre (Guaguanco) - Los Muñequitos de Matanzas
10. Una Mamita, A - Cutumba/Carlos Embales
11. Columbia/Batarrumba - Cutumba



This is a fantastic and exciting collection of authentic rumbas presented in clear fidelity. The recording offers plenty of space around each instrument allowing you to hear each player's individual part in detail (if you listen intently, you can even hear the skin on the palm of the player's hand against the skin of the tumba on the bass strokes). This is good, because the music is so complex, that it has revealed new patterns and juxtapositions even after seven years of listening. I have acquired other cuban rumba discs, but this remains the reference.
~ Arise Therefore
Real Rumba is a collection of four different Cuban Rumba groups: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Afrocuba de Matanzas, Columbia de Puerto Cardenas and Cutumba with Carlos Embale. The word "real" in the title refers to the fact that Son music has been mistakenly called Rumba (or Rhumba), outside of Cuba since the 1920's. This recording is truly the real Rumba.

There are three main styles of Rumba: Yambu, Guaguancó and Columbia. Yambu is a slow rhythm and partner dance. It has close ties to the Cuban-Congolese fertility dance Yuka. The Yambu surfaced with the end of slavery in the 1880's. At that time, the authorities who were of Spanish descent, looked down upon their citizens of African descent. Because of this, dances/rhythms with strong African roots were often suppressed by the authorities. So it was with Yambu. The pelvic thrust from the Yuka dance was not allowed by the authorities. African type drums were not encouraged and in fact, were often confiscated by the government. Yambu was not originally played on drums, but on packing crates. This style of playing Yambu on boxes (called cajones), has been preserved up to the present by many of today's Rumba ensembles. The group Yoruba Andabo plays cajones exclusively. Guaguancó is a partner dance like Yambu, only faster. Conga drums (called tumbadores in Cuba), are used in Guaguancó instead of the cajones. The contemporary style of Guaguancó we hear today was developed in the 1950s. Rumba Columbia is a solo dance done usually only by men. Columbia has close cultural and musical ties to the Abacua, a male secret society originating from the Cameroons, West Africa.

Real Rumba features all three styles of Rumba. In addition, we are treated to three Batá-Rumbas, two by Afrocuba and one by Cutumba. As far as I know, Grupo Afrocuba was the first group to fuse the Rumba and its three congas with three Batá drums. Batá-Rumba is a dense hybrid rhythm, but it's not really done justice here because of the rather flat fidelity of the recording. To date, the most audibly clear Batá-Rumba can be found on the CD Totico y sus Rumberos.

Cutumba comes from Santiago, on the eastern end of the island. Joining Cutumba is Cuba's most famous Rumba singer, Carlos Embale. This CD also has three typically remarkable performances by Los Muñequitos de Matanzas. Columbia de Puerto Cardenas are dock workers from the port of Cardenas. To the best of my knowledge, they perform only Rumba Columbia. They are a one-beat band. One of their trademarks is having the 4/4 cascara stick pattern played simultaneously with the typical 6/8 bell pattern. This creates a rhythmic tension and an excitement that is palatable.

The performances are excellent on Real Rumba. The sound quality of this recording is its greatest drawback. These seem to be the two main factors one considers when buying a new CD. Of course it would be great if the performance and sound quality were both extraordinary on every CD we buy, but often we must balance the strengths of one factor against the weakness of the other.

source & more to explore ; )



La rumba tiene color

"El Rey De La Tahona"
En El Barrio De Ataré


01. Anda Llevatela 2:51
02. Donde Vas, Que Te Ves Tan Bonita 4:17
03. Quimbonbo 5:39
04. La Bullanguera 5:20
05. Te Quiero, Porque Te Quiero 4:21
06. Sabina 3:10
07. Sali De La Habana Un Dia 4:22
08. Los Rumberos Se Ponen Orgullosos 5:11
09. Mientras La Sala Pide 20 Años 4:41
10. Volviste Ahora 3:22
11. Canto A Atares 4:37

Musicians include:

Mario Dreke Alfonso "Chavalonga" Voz

Pedro Celestino Fariñas Coros
Barbarito Lopez Coros
Ricardo Echemendia Coros
Gregorio Laza "Cordovi" Coros




  There aren't enough rumba records in the world, and this one helps out the situation. The groove here is stupendous; Chavalonga, a contemporary of Chano Pozo, from the Ataré neighborhood in Havana, has put together a great group, with tight coros. He's in his eighties, and his singing isn't always in tune, but there's an honesty to this that carries his work. And boy, does it swing.

Highly recommended.

(Peter Watrous, 2004-02-09)

Helio Orovio, in "Cuban Music A to Z," writes:

  "Dreke, Mario ("Chavalonga"): Author, singer, dancer, musician. Born 25 April 1925, Havana. Since the 1940s Chavalonga has been considered one of the most outstanding performers of African rhythms and rumba. Among his most popular guaguancós are "Palo quimbombó," "Los barrios unidos," "Muñequita," and "Oye lo que te voy a decir." He was a founder of the National Folkloric Ensemble [Conjunto Folklorico Nacional] and is currently the director of a company carrying his name."

Maria del Carmen Mestas, a cuban writer who has done more than anyone lately to document the biographies of rumberos, published piece about him recently here. (The piece was adapted from the chapter on Chavalonga in her (highly recommended) book "Pasión de Rumbero."

Below is (my) translation of her article: 

Memories of a rumbero
    If you walk through the Havana district of Atarés it's possible you will see Chavalonga, a "street encyclopedia" of rumba. Chava, as his friends like to call him, has seen many moons pass in his tired heart, but if drum is heard he is the first one in dancing.

    The night traveled in the light of thousands of stars. The scent of the leafy lemon tree competed with one of jasmins. Skinny, with a brilliant glance, the youngster entered the circle. The drums exerted their ancestral spell so that Chavalonga gave a skillful dissertation when dancing to a well-known guaguancó. It had not finished and even still many were applauding. "Avemaría! Yeah! He's fenomenal!" said the queen of jolgorio, Andrea Baró, with astonished eyes, while Carburo predicted, "Boy, you will be great!"

    "Yes, back then in Jovellanos, Matanzas, I was consecrated", exclaims Mario "Chavalonga" Dreke proudly, one of our great rumberos, when remembering that happy beginning in a genre to which he has brought his creativity to dance, song and percussion.


    Rumba has always accompanied Chavalonga, and together they've lived moments of great joys and others of secret pain. This mythical figure has worked the genre from its deepest root, giving it an expression uniquely his; that is to say, creating a style that identifies him.

    It's certain that his first rumba was savored "very small, because as soon as I opened my eyes I heard the drum, and if to others they sang it to sleep with lullabies, mine was with that sound that can be as sweet as honey.

    My family is from Limonar province in Matanzas, and when Christmas Eve arrived, everyone who could came to my house, to "the judgement," as the rumberos called it; the same
    he appeared one of Carlos Rojas, who was from Jovellanos or Jagüey, and from different municipalities. So it was that I got started in this music, drinking from that which the stars made: Carburo, Sagua, El Dinde, Celestine Domec, Jimagua and others.

    "That was my world since I was very small, and I love it because it's a part of my life that, by the way, was very risky. I couldn't exist without music because it is as if I lacked eyes to see or my voice to sing.

    "I worked with Chano Pozo in a cabaret that was called... something like
    Spotwind, and also in comparsas, that was our diversion. All year we were waiting for the carnavales to arrive and prepared ourselves by rehearsing.

    With Chano I learned to play the drum; now I dance and sing with seven. He was a very guarachero type, happy, but the atmosphere dominated him and he took the wrong path.

    "I participated in the film "Sucedió en La Habana," and I went to Mexico, where I acted in films with the comic actress Vitola [Famie Kaufman], but I became ill because the hot spices hurt me (I do not know if it was really that, or because I carried the weight of nostalgia in my heart). I came back on the boat "Lucero del Alba."

    If someone has been in Chavalonga's memory it is Benny Moré, with whom I worked in the Molino Rojo and other places in the federal district. "Benny is always in my thoughts: a man who gave it all. His thing was to sing, to throw his wonderful voice to the wind... "

    Creator of the Tahona rhythm and inspired composer of boleros in the guaguancó style, Chavalonga also appears in other films as "La última cena," "Rapsodia abakuá," the documentary about Tío Tom, "La rumbera" and "La historia del negro rumbero Mario Chavalonga."

    Chavalonga is a founder of the Conjunto Folclórico Nacional, where he not only contributed his knowledge, he also extended his own to master other genres like the songs of the Yoruba, Lucumí, Arará, Carabalí...

    With that famous group he traveled to many countries; the greatest successes of the rumbero were in Brazil, where he sang the prayer to Shangó and was highly applauded, and in Algeria, when we was inspired to compose the number "Los Gorritos."

    Brother of another famous rumbero, Enrique Dreke, El Príncipe Bailarín, my friend Chavalonga doesn't stop playing the drum, dancing the best steps, and remembering his youth full of great rumbas.

¡La rumba tiene coracón! 


¡Más para bailar!

Costa Brava De Puerto Rico
¡A Pico y Pala Pa'Que No Joma!

01. Pa' la Calle - 3:29
02. No Hay Mañana Sin Ti - 3:57
03. Como Me Gusta - 4:22
04. Hoy Supe de Ti - 4:06
05. Regalo de Dios - 3:55
06. Ya No Me Duele el Dolor - 4:32
07. Amor y Cariño - 3:34
08. La Impaciencia - 3:35
09. Pequeño Detalle - 3:50
10. Te Voy a Hacer Feliz - 5:56    


Elvin Torres, Padre - Dirección, Arreglos, Trompetas & Coros
Francisco José "Paco Pepe" Pérez - Sax, Subdirección & Coros
Rudy Pratts - Trompeta
Carlos Brandy - Trombón
Jorge Luis "Pucho" Morales - Sax & Coros
José Martinez Leandro - Piano
Edwin Martinez - Bajo
Angel "Angelo" Ramos - Bongó & Percusión Menor
Héctor "Tito Tim" Sánchez - Timbal
Vicente Gaztambide - Conga
Ulises Veldéz - Vocal & Coros
Francisco Javier Quiñonez - Vocal & Coros
David Morales - Vocal & Coros
Freddy Barbosa - Vocal

Músicos Invitados:

Elvin Torres, Hijo
Pedro "Pedrito" Marcano
Cachiro Thompson
Miguel Rodríguez
Jorge Díaz
Pedro Pérez




Costa Brava, one of the currently most prestigious Puerto Rican orchestras, is back with a salsa classic style for the dancer. Elvin Torres (Padre & Hijo) presents us this production with a so innovative sonority within the “Salsa Dura” genre and a so carefully chosen repertoire as well, that once more will place the orchestra in the top ten of all tropical charts during the upcoming months.
 Along with El Gran Combo, Costa Brava was one of the top Puerto Rican salsa bands of the 1980s. Formed in 1978 in Santa Isabel, a small town on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, Costa Brava is led by trumpeter Elvin Torres (Papi), whose son, Elvin Torres, Jr. (Hijo), later joined the band as pianist, composer, and arranger. During the band's prime years, albums such as Dando de Que Hablar (1986), A Tiempo Completo (1987), Orgullo de Puerto Rico (1988), and Costa Brava 90 (1990) regularly appeared on the Top 20 of Billboard's Tropical/Salsa album chart. While the band's popularity steadily faded after the turn of the decade, Costa Brava remained active not only as live performers but also as recording artists. Even if they didn't sell as well as the band's earlier releases, independently released latter-day albums such as Otra Vez (2004, EJR Music), Costa Brava en Navidad (2005, EJR Music), and ¡A Pico y Pala pa' Que No Joma! (2007, Envidia Records) found the band in fine form. ~ Jason Birchmeier



Mais Berimbau

Capoeira Senzala De Santos
Capoeira, Samba de roda, Maculelê


01. Deus Deu Capoeira Para Gente
02. Capoeira E' Minha Origem
03. Bate Palmas Luana
04. Toques De Berimbau
05. Louvacao A Nossa Senhora Maculele Percussions
06. O Escravo E' Capoeira
07. Dirim Dim Dom
08. Triste Cidade Velha
09. Samba, Berimbau E' Pandeiro
10. Vida De Negro Da Senzala 




What they say:

John Storm Roberts:

This isn't capoeira alone but other Afro-Brazilian percussion with berimbau and a fine lead singer. The music is classic -- no synth-hedged bets here -- the mood slightly lowkey (the session was in Paris, presumably during a tour). Senzala de Santos is a newish capoeira, but its founder has roots, and so does his group. The extensive notes are no doubt fine but printed too small to be read.


Vida de Negro da Senzala is probably one of the best Capoeira songs to joga to. The rhythm and chorus builds a sense of energy; you can't help but smile when you throw an armada. Axe.

Dr. Debra Jan Bibel:

Central African, Yoruba and Bantu, music from slaves had merged with Portuguese and European dance forms in the creation of choro and samba mainly in the southern cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but in the northeast, the African idioms remained strong and more intact. Among the Afro-Brazilian styles is the rhythmic accompaniment to a martial dance exercise, capoeira, where acrobatic movements of feet and low torso are emphasized (which in turn led to break dancing in the United States and now everywhere). The berimbau, a stringed long bow and gourd instrument, the drum, and the gourd rattle are the instruments, in addition to hand clapping, of this dance art. While its origin was the need for defensive fighting, capoeira entered the mainstream as a unique dance and even incorporated various martial movements from Asia. The insert includes the lyrics in Portuguese, French, and English, which praise master teachers, support of saints, capoeira itself, and experiences in other lands. The music is often improvisational in the form of toques. This album also include the music to another martial dance, maculele, of obscure celebratory Catholic and African roots that involves participants striking sticks together in a form of fencing. Each member has a pair of sticks for use in duels. Instruments are mainly percussive, such as pandeiro tambourine and atabaque conical Conga drum and double bell agogog, but may also include a 12-string guitar. One track is purely instrumental, a samba de roda of two berimbaus and pandeiro. A glossary to 37 terms is provided. This album has fulfilled a niche in my Brazilian music collection. Its very African sound help enrich understanding of Brazil's musical culture. For the capoeira practitioner the album will support the dance and exercise.



A Arte do Berimbau

Mestre Gato Preto
L'Art du Berimbau


01. Balao subiu - 3:08
02. 2 berimbau e 1 pandeiro - 6:01
03. Berimbau e pandeiro - 4:46
04. Meu piao rodou - 5:18
05. Ijexa - 6:11
06. Bateria - 5:25
07. Adeus, adeus - 7:23
08. Melodica - 5:46
09. Kess kess - 1:16
10. Apresentacao - 0:34
11. Toques de berimbau - 17:27
12. Toques de atabaque - 4:42    



 Mestre Gato Preto
José Gabriel Goes, 1929-2002

Mestre Gato Preto est né le 19 mars 1929 dans la ville de Santo Amaro da Purificaçao, dans le district de Sao Braz, Reconcavo bahiano. Il à appris depuis l'enfance à jouer la Capoeira avec son père Eutiquio Lucio Chagas,
Capoeiriste fameux de Santo Amaro.

Il était l'élève de Cobrinha Verde, puis mestre de la bateria de l'académie de Pastinha.
Il faisait partie de la délégation de Mestre Pastinha qui est allé à Dakar, au Sénégal en 1966, pour représenter le Brésil et la Capoeira lors du festival mondial de l'Art Noir.
Il fut consacré Berimbau d'or de Bahia, lors d'un concours dans lequel a aussi participé Mestre Canjiquinha.

Mestre Gato vivait à Itapuã, quartier de Salvador, avec sa dernière épouse, Dona Nicinha, avec laquelle il a eu cinq enfants.

Il a laissé des élèves au Brésil, et groupes de Capoeira travaillant dans sa philosophie. Parmi ces groupes, celui de Mestre Zé Bahiano, à Caraguatatuba - SP, le groupe de Mestre Marrom e alunos à Rio de Janeiro, celui de mestre Prego à São José dos Campos- SP et de Pinguim à São Paulo Capital.

Mestre Gato Preto était un excellent capoeiriste, un grand angoleiro. Il jouait admirablement bien et était renommé pour son incroyable agilité. Mais aussi, pour son abileté et à jouer du berimbau et pour ses grande qualités de musicien.

with Mestre Gato Preto (1999)

Translation into English: Shayna McHugh

Mestre Gato Preto will turn seventy years old on March 19th of this year. He has spent over fifty years in capoeira and he’s still going strong, giving an example to the newer students.

José Luiz Gabriel began Capoeira when he was eight years old. By the time he was twelve, everyone thought that he already knew everything. He did not believe this and kept seeking to learn more, as he does until this day. He never “officially” graduated in Capoeira. He understands that a capoeirista is not a PhD, who learns everything and then graduates in order to exercise his profession. “Capoeira never ends,” he says.

After living with other great Capoeira practitioners in Salvador-Bahia, Mestre Gato Preto has become a traveling ambassador of Capoeira, visiting many countries and transmitting his knowledge to young and old capoeiristas in the four corners of the world. In this exclusive interview with Capoeira Magazine, he unhesitatingly shares all his precious experience:

When and how did you first encounter capoeira?

I began, at eight years old, with my father, Eutíquio Lúcio Góes. He was my mestre. At twelve years old (1941), people thought that I had nothing left to learn. The trainings took place in a small enclosed room. He attacked with a maculelê stick or machete, in order to make me defend myself. When I messed up, he corrected me…until one day when I gave a strong cabeçada and he fell. When he got up, he came running after me, threatening to cut me and yelling: “Come here, boy!” After that he stopped teaching me.

Later I learned with my uncle João Catarino, a student of Besouro, until he died of a hemorrhage. After this period came Leo, Cobrinha Verde, Mestre Waldemar, Mestre Pastinha, and also Gildo, Roberto, and João Grande, who played berimbau and was a very important capoeirista at that time. In the roda, João Pequeno, Moreno, Albertino, Valdomiro, and I made up the bateria.

And your contact with the mestres of the time?

There were many mestres who played well in Bahia, such as Canjiquinha, Zéis, Vandir, Agulhão, Zacarias, Bom Cabelo. There were also others who were not mestres but who also played very well, such as Deodato and Bigodinho. All the capoeiristas from Liberdade (the neighborhood of Liberdade, in Salvador), trained by Mestre Waldemar, were good, good, very good! There was a plumber, who died at 28 years old, who was a great angoleiro!

In those days, who were the most distinguished capoeiristas, in your eyes?

In my opinion, João Grande, in the inside game. In terms of dancing around, it was this guy Gilberto who took care of himself well and today is very old.

What was the orchestra of Capoeira?

Three berimbaus (a gunga, a berra-boi, and a viola), two pandeiros, a bamboo ganzá (not a metal ganzá), and a reco-reco. The first berimbau played Angola; the second, São Bento Grande; and the third, Angolinha. This was the bateria, accompanied by singing.

What was the profile of the capoeirista in that time?

The capoeirista was a worker: a conductor, a sugarcane worker, a dock worker at the port, a stonemason, a carpenter, an electrician, a commercial traveler, a sailor – ultimately, he was a worker who, whatever his job was, played capoeira for love, for leisure, as a type of therapy. The capoeirista did that as a dance, which made him feel well and get what he wanted, through concentration.

No one earned money? No one lived off of capoeira?

The money came later, with games in the roda. Someone would place a banknote in the center of the roda on top of a red handkerchief and the capoeirista would have to pick it up with his mouth.

The two partners played until one was immobilized with a blow of the foot – never of the hand – and the other got the banknote. It was necessary to immobilize one’s opponent to avoid the risk of receiving a kick in the face. After everything, the two players hugged and the money was placed in the cabaça of the berimbau in order to pay for a round of beer, soda, or rum after the roda. This was the only way that money entered capoeira.

Not even the mestres had capoeira as a profession?

No one did. They were all workers, they had their professions. Pastinha was a toll collector, and afterwards he went to organize capoeira; Daniel Noronha worked on the dock; Canjiquinha and Caiçara worked in the Town Hall; Paulo dos Anjos worked as a driver; Mestre Ferreira and myself worked as frame-layers. No one lived off of capoeira. I lived in capoeira during 40 years without earning any cash!

But we learned a lot in those days. A group from Liberdade was brought to visit me in Itapuan and one group played with another. Whoever received a rasteira and fell with their butt on the ground lost the game. Also, one could not dirty the opponent’s clothing. That was bad manners. The mestres embraced and conversed. We played the whole afternoon.

And modern capoeira?

It evolved. To evolve is very good, but it is necessary to have a root, a beginning, so that capoeira does not go down a wrong path, because this art is so rich! Capoeira is your life, my life, and the life of many others. There’s no way to control that. It’s necessary to control education, so that capoeira does not lose this beautiful thing that it possesses.

What does a capoeirista need to become a mestre?

First of all, graduation does not exist in capoeira. A final point does not exist, because capoeira has no end. It will take you wherever it wants you to go. The same will happen with your son, your grandson, or great-grandson: it goes on and on. Capoeira is universal, it walks, it is dynamic; it doesn’t have a “graduation” like the doctor who learns everything, graduates, and goes to work in his profession.

Wisdom is the doctorate of capoeira. In order to achieve it, one must prolong one’s life in the art. How? By giving a cord to the boy and letting him train for four years, in order to prepare himself and learn about reality, in order to achieve wisdom. With ten years, he could be a contra-mestre, thorough research and study. Then, with twenty years of experience he may or may not have conditions to be mestre.

Everything depends on wisdom, and wisdom has nothing to do with age. The title, given by mestres, of “coming to be ready,” may be granted. It does not mean being graduated, because the work and the learning continue. Capoeira never ends, never dies.

Capoeira has 180 blows and 180 counterattacks. One does not learn ten or twelve movements, say that one knows six regional moves and other angola moves and then go around saying that one is a capoeirista. It is necessary to know, discover, and face all the attacks.

Many players don’t want to discuss or learn all of capoeira. They thus meet their end, because they will never surpass the minimal amount that they know. The worst off in all this is capoeira itself, because these people end up losing the talent that they do have. They separate capoeira from its reality.

You referred to a time in which everyone was friends; there was unity. Today there is much rivalry; a big and strong capoeirista enters in the roda intending to destroy the other player. What do you think about this?

In those times, the mestres respected each other and encouraged consideration on the part of their students. The guy might be big, like Agulhão, who was two meters tall, or strong like Mestre Waldemar, Traíra, Zacarias, Davi, or Dada – who gave the greatest capoeira show of the time – but there was control and respect. Anyone who took a cabeçada fell and got up to shake his partner’s hand without aggression or bitterness.

Today I see that there are many people teaching their students to hit, wanting to be the best and filling the heads of those poor students – who don’t know any better – with the idea that this is important. These are people who only see the destructive side. The mestres get blamed for the consequences and capoeira ends up unable to show its full potential.

Did this used to happen among the old mestres?

No. The only mestres who argued in Salvador back in those days were Canjiquinha and Caiçara, but everything was play-acting, in presentations for tourists. They made fun of each other in laughter and jokes. The two died on good terms with each other. Bimba had an academy in the Maciel de Cima and Pastinha had one in the Largo do Pelourinho. Very close to each other. They did not visit each other, but also they did not speak badly of each other’s academies. I have with me newspaper articles from 1984 about João Pequeno and João Grande, in Itapuan. One can see how they liked and respected each other!

Caiçara and Canjiquinha were my friends until the ends of their lives. Bimba’s students have maintained friendships with me for 45 years. I have no enemies in capoeira and if I did they would not be against me, but against the art. I don’t do anything against them. Some destroy themselves; others reeducate themselves and appear without entering in that treachery.

More recently, I met students who even want to hit their mestres, alleging that they learned nothing. Do you know what this is? Lack of education. The capoeirista has to educate himself in order to respect and be respected.

 "José Gabriel Góes nasceu em Santo Amaro da Purificação, a 19 de março de 1929. Começou na Capoeira aos oito anos de idade, e nunca se formou em Capoeira, por convicção. "A capoeira nunca pára", diz ele. Sempre foi um excelente capoeira, dono de agilidade incomum. Conviveu com grandes expoentes da Capoeira. Desde 1966, quando integrou a delegação brasileira no Premier Festival International des Arts Nègres, em Dakar (Senegal), tornou-se um embaixador itinerante da Capoeira, tendo visitado muitos países e transmitido seus conhecimentos. Foi consagrado em algumas obras de Jorge Amado. Um dos mais requisitados tocadores de berimbau de toda a Bahia, Mestre Gato Preto é uma das figuras mais queridas no universo da Capoeira, graças à grandeza de seu caráter. "




Berimbau Bahia

Dinho Nascimento
Berimbau Blues


01. Berimbau Blues
02. Taina
03. Mina Brilha
04. Baroneza
05. Banana Boat (Day O)
06. Toque de Mestre
07. Embalae
08. Cancao a Maria Cecilia
09. Danca Pra Miles
10. Chama Viva




 Review by Alvaro Neder

The percussionist Dinho Nascimento dedicated his solo album to his originals and the berimbau instrument (a stringed bow with a gourd for resonance, which is stroked with a stick and a coin). The instrument's limited resources can impede a fuller musical gratification, but Dinho invests heavily in the rich Bahian folklore, with singing, other percussive and even mainstream instruments, resulting in an appealing regional album (not a mainstream world album, even if there are pop songs like "Baronesa" and the Burgie/Attaway hit "Banana boat"). His sincere approach to music and solid skills as a percussionist makes this an important release for Bahian and Brazilian music fans.

Berimbau Blues é o nome da composição instrumental na qual Dinho utiliza um copo d’água como slide para tirar a melodia no berimbau. É também o nome do primeiro cd idealizado e produzido por Dinho Nascimento, que também assina a maioria das composições que interpreta. Lançado originalmente em 1996, ganhou o X Prêmio Sharp de Música (Revelação) em 1997.

Dinho Nascimento é um percussionista, compositor e vocalista baiano que se revelou um criativo adepto de fusões musicais às quais acrescentou a novidade do berimbau elétrico. Assim como outros músicos de sua terra natal, aprendeu a tocar berimbau e percussão nas "rodas de caopeira" e "festas de rua".

Aos 16 anos, teve a chance de aprimorar seus conhecimentos estudando piano e iniciação musical no Seminário Livre de Música. Participou de muitos festivais estudantis e no final dos anos 60 formou o grupo Arembepe, com quem atuou por mais de uma década, conseguindo boa repercussão com seu afro-rock de tempero baiano.

Mergulhando na carreira de percussionista, trabalhou ao lado de inúmeros medalhões da música brasileira como João Donato, Walter Franco, Tom Zé, Renato Teixeira, Vidal França, Zé Ketti, Flávio Venturini, Renato Borghetti, João Bá e Pena Branca e Xavantinho.

Sua música desperta especial interesse de coreógrafos e dançarinos, o que favorece o desenvolvimento de projetos conjuntos, dos quais alguns , com muito sucesso.

Quando não está na estrada fazendo shows, Dinho usa seu tempo livre na organização de workshops infantis na área do Morro do Querosene, no bairro paulista do Butantã, onde vive há 15 anos. Costuma convidar amigos e colegas para trocarem idéias e, numa pracinha próxima de sua casa, transmitirem um pouco de seus conhecimentos sobre capoeira e percussão aos garotos do morro.

 "O blues, para mim, é um estado de espírito. Sempre achei que o berimbau, por sua origem africana tem tudo a ver com o blues e é assim que Berimbau Blues aconteceu. Aquilo que emociona, que faz a gente se mexer, cantar, dançar é que é o meu trabalho, que tem um pouco de tudo, de afoxé, salsa, capoeira, jazz e blues." 



Bom Berim Bam Bim Bau

François Kokelaere
The Art of Berimbau 
(Brazilian musical bow)

01. Guarda - 1:22
02. Santos - 4:07
03. Grand Teles - 6:30
04. Babunda Song - 3:52
05. Indianafrika - 10:49
06. Tarantella - 4:27
07. L'ombre L'a Dit - 29:29
08. Sur Un Fil - 4:25

François Kokelaere: Berimbau

John Boswell: Tabla (track 05)
Maitre Sombra: Berimbau  (track 07)



 Masterful Work of Skill

Even though the berimbau is not a well known cultural instrument, it has its deep cultural roots. This single steel bowed instrument is largely connected with the Brazilian fight dance, Capoeria, and is primarily considered a percussion instrument. Francois Kokelaere creates wonderful rhythms and textural tones with the hash sounding instrument. Whether it is the culturally rooted "Santos", the riveting "Babunda Song" or the extended masterpiece, "L'ombre L'a Dit" where he plays with Master 'Sombra'; Kokelaere creates a wonderful album highlighting the great berimbau. Even though those who aren't used to berimbau or cultural music may find "The Art of Berimbau" strange at first, listen carefully and you will hear the art and wonder of the strong instrument. As a player myself, I respect the skill needed to play such an instrument well and with the clear and concise program notes about the composer and the instrument this album is definately a tribute to the strong cultural berimbau.

By Adam
 François Kokelaere

a étudié le berimbau (arc musical) au Brésil avec le maître Sombra de l’Académie de Capoeira Senzala de Santos et le tambour djembé en Guinée avec le chef-tambour du Ballet National Djoliba, Koungbanan Condé. Il est titulaire duDiplôme d’État de professeur de musique et fut membre de jury pour le Certificat d’Aptitude en Musiques Tradionnelles auprès du Ministère de la Culture.
A joué avec le groupe Magma de Christian Vander et joue actuellement avec le saxophoniste Julien Soro, le tubiste François Thuillier, la guitariste Fabienne Magnant, le trio Mandingo World Project avec le joueur de kora Prince Diabaté.
Fondateur et directeur artistique de l’Ensemble National des Percussions de Guinée en 1987 à la demande du gouvernement guinéen jusqu’en 1995 et du groupe Wofa tournées internationales (amérique du nord, asie, europe).
Directeur musical du groupe de Momo Wandel Soumah – “Matchowé” (Buda Musique) et de “l’anthologie du balafon Mandingue en trois volumes” de El Hadj Djéli Sory Kouyaté (Diapason d’Or musique traditionnelle).
Conseiller artistique du projet Korongo Jam d’Erik Aliana à Yaoundé et de la chanteuse camerounaise Kareyce Fotso – « Kwegne » (Label Contre-Jour).
Directeur artistique de la Compagnie L’Heure du Thé et des « Rencontres Touzazimuts » autour des expressions artistiques contemporaines.
Coordinateur de la venue de 115 artistes guinéens pour”La Marseillaise “ de Jean-Paul Goude sur les Champs-Elysées de Paris le 14 Juillet 1989.
Compositeur pour les pièces chorégraphiques de la Cie l’Arbre-Voyageur – Doriane Larcher.
Création en 2005 du spectacle Jeune Public “Chemins de paille” et en 2007 du spectacle « Le voyage de Monsieur Tambour » enla collaboration du plasticien JCh Fischer.

The Brazilian berimbau de barriga, or simply berimbau, is a gourd-resonated, braced musical bow of African origin. The instrument consists of a 4'–5' (1.2 m–1.5 m) branch of biriba, bamboo, oak or other wood bent into an arc. The bow is strung with a single metal string, usually recycled from an industrial use.

Attached to the convex back of the bow with a small loop of string is a gourd resonator, although coconut, calabash or a tin can is occasionally substituted for a gourd. The string loop also serves as a bridge, dividing the metal string into two sections. The little finger of the musician’s left hand (assuming a right-handed player) passes underneath the string loop to hold the berimbau.

The string is struck with a thin stick called a vaquita or vareta, which is held in the player’s right hand along with a small basket rattle called caxixi. A small coin (dobrão) or stone (pedra) held between the musician’s left thumb and index finger is pressed to the string, resulting in a pitch change of about a minor or major second above the berimbau’s fundamental tone.

The berimbau originated in an early nineteenth-century Brazilian slave culture. Several historical notices and depictions from this period demonstrate the continued presence of a variety of central African musical bows (Koster 1816, 122; Graham 1824, 199; Walsh 1830, 175-176; Debret 1834, 39; Wetherell 1860, 106-107). Popular among African-Brazilian vendors and street musicians, these musical bows were known by African names such as urucungu, madimba lungungo, mbulumbumba, and hungu (Shaffer 1976, 14; Kubik 1979, 30). As a result of pan-African technology-sharing, organological traits of these various musical bows were fused to create a single African-Brazilian instrument (Graham 1991, 6).

Sometime in the late nineteenth century, this new musical bow received a Lusophone name—berimbau de barriga, or "jaw harp of the stomach"—and entered a new cultural context, the African-Brazilian martial art form known as capoeira (Kubik 1979, 30-33). Beginning at least as early as the eighteenth century, capoeira was fought to the music of an African-derived hand drum or to simple handclapping. Capoeira is now fought to the toques (rhythms) of the berimbau, which accompany the songs known in Brazil as cantigas de capoeira.

The musical ensemble employed in contemporary capoeira features one to three berimbaus, an atabaque (conical hand drum), a pandeiro (tambourine) and an agogô (double bell). Where multiple berimbaus are employed in an ensemble, they are often tuned to separate pitches. In Salvador de Bahia, the cultural epicenter of capoeira, different names are used for berimbaus of various sizes, including viola (small), medio (medium) and gunga (large) (Lewis 1992, 137). From the 1940s, a number of capoeira schools in Bahia began to paint their berimbaus with colorful stripes and other decorations, reflecting their pride in their individual academias (traditional capoeira schools) (Shaffer 1976, 26).

Richard P. Graham
Asheville, North Carolina

read it all here: 




It takes two...

Sohrab PourNazeri
Nocturnal Gypsy Wind



01 - Shabgard
02 - Kooliye Baad
03 - Saharkhani
04 - Rakhse Baad

Sohrab PourNazeri: Tanbour
Roubik Aroutzian: Duduk




 'Gypsy Wind's Nightwatch', ... by internationally acclaimed Iranian musician Sohrab Pournazeri was released ...

It was recorded in 2010 in Los Angeles, the US, Musicema reported.

The album features 'tanbur' player, Pournazeri, in duet with accomplished Armenian duduk player Roubik Aroutzian.

Pournazeri was born in 1983 in Kermanshah. His father, Keykhosro Pournazeri was a well-known musician who played 'tanbur' and tar. Keykhosro was the founder of the first ensemble of 'tanbur'. He introduced this instrument to the urban musical culture of Iran. His ensemble also introduced several musicians who later became noted artists of Persian music.

Sohrab began studying 'tanbur' and 'daf' from a very early age and later went on to 'tar' and 'setar' before finding his true interest by taking up 'kamancheh'.

His first choice was the folk instrument 'tanbur' due to his orientation, but he added 'kamancheh' to improve his career as Iranian classical musician. At the age of 15, he teamed up with 'Shamss' ensemble in performing before audiences.

Sohrab learned 'tanbur' from his father, Keykhosro, 'kamancheh' from Ardeshir Kamkar, vocalization from Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh.
Sohrab Pournazeri, virtuoso of the tanbour and the kamancheh, is a phenomenon in modern Iranian music. He is a singer and instrumentalist whose music has transcended the borders of Iran, fusing with cultures and artists as far and wide as China and the United States. His talent and courage have been acknowledged as extraordinary by no less than Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the great master of Iranian music.

Sohrab was born in 1982 to the musical Pournazeri family. His father Kaykhosro Pournazeri is one of Iran’s most influential musicians and musicologists, and his brother Tahmoures has sparked a new movement in Iranian music through his performances and compositions.

Music was Sohrab’s mother tongue; he learned it as other children learn to speak. At age 2 he would play his father’s tanbour (whose body was larger than his) and sing the poetry of Rumi and Hafez. At age 13 he was introduced to the stage as part of the Shams Ensemble, and today he is one of the core members of the group. Also at age 13, Sohrab began studying kamancheh with Ardeshir Kamkar, and because of his musical talent was able to begin performing as a soloist with the Shams Ensemble after just two years of study.

While following in the footsteps of his musical family, Sohrab has developed distinct and idiosyncratic instrumental, vocal and compositional techniques that have enabled him to steer the distinct Pournazeri musical form–with its emphasis on passion, emotion and inventiveness–toward new horizons.

Sohrab is well versed in the regional music of his native Iran, as well as in Western classical music, and he holds a degree in music performance. As an instrumental soloist and vocalist, Sohrab has collaborated with artists and ensembles worldwide, including Ostad Shajarian, Shujaat Hussain Khan, the Beyond Borders Project and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

Does anyone have any info about Roubik Aroutzian?!



It takes a woman... and a man...

Faribâ Hedâyati Nikfekr
The Drop



01. Colorful Dream (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
02. Chaharmezrab (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
03. Daramad Afshari
04. Araq & Qarayi
05. Maqam–e Saba
06. Seven Cities of Love (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
07. Forud (Afshari)
08. Daramad Chahargah
09. Image of Sorrow (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
10. Avaz in Bidad Mode
11. Lover & Beloved (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
12. Avaz–e Hesar
13. Raha (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)
14. Forud (Chahargah)
15. Colorful Vision (feat. Seyyed Behnam Ma'sumi)

 Setar: Faribâ Hedâyati Nikfekr

Tombak & Kuze: Seyyed Behnâm Ma'sumi




 Faribâ & Seyyed


 Fariba Hedayati NikFekr, was born in Tehran in a family with great love for traditional Iranian music and was introduced to this art at an early age by his father who also played the ney. In 1982 she began her tutorship of the setar with Ataollah Janguk, the renowned master of this instrument. She was tutored by Janguk in various radifs of traditional Iranian music for five years.

In order to further her knowledge of various styles of playing the setar, Fariba continued her training with such masters of this art as Ahmad Ebadi, Jalal Zolfonun, Hossein Alizadeh, and Daryush Talayi . Since 1987, Fariba was tutored by Hossein Alizadeh to whom she owes most of her expertise in this field.

Her first public performance was as a member of Khojaste Group, comprising exclusively of Iranian ladies, which performed a concert at Rudaki Concert Hall in Tehran under the leadership of Ms. Susan Aslani (Dehlavi) in 1992.

Ava-ye Doust Group was formed by Fariba in 1994 and has since performed several concerts both in Iran and abroad under her leadership. The music performed at the said concerts comprised entirely of her own composition.

Her participation in various international festivals as leader of the first traditional Iranian musical group comprising solely of Iranian ladies since the Islamic Revolution of Iran has served to reintroduce this concept to the international community. Two CDs of her concerts entitled ‘Rozaneh', and ‘Aseman' performed in Morocco (the Fez Festival), have already been published abroad.

In addition to composition and performance of concerts, Fariba has also been engaged in tutoring setar students for several years.