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.