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Capoeira

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Biography

Capoeira (IPA: [ka.pu.ˈej.ɾɐ]) is an Afro-Brazilian art form that makes a ritual of movements from martial arts, games, and dance. It was brought to Brazil from Angola some time after the 16th century in the regions known as Bahia, Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro. Participants form a roda or circle and take turns either playing musical instruments (such as the Berimbau), singing, or ritually sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The game is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Less frequently used techniques include elbow-strikes, slaps, punches, and body throws. Its origins and purpose are a matter of debate, with the spectrum of argument ranging from views of Capoeira as a uniquely Brazilian folk dance with improvised fighting movements to claims that it is a battle-ready fighting form directly descended from ancient African techniques.

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Music is integral to capoeira. It sets the tempo and style of game that is to be played within the roda. The music is composed of instruments and song. The tempos differ from very slow (Angola) to very fast (são bento regional). Many of the songs are sung in a call and response format while others are in the form of a narrative. Capoeiristas sing about a wide variety of subjects. Some songs are about history or stories of famous capoeiristas. Other songs attempt to inspire players to play better. Some songs are about what is going on within the roda.

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