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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Almedia Audio Clip and Transcript

Almeida Audio Clip

The Big Roda: A Metaphor for Life

So you have a scene, perhaps, you have the berimbau commanding the actions and the two capoeiristas, the two persons who will perform the game will kneel beneath the berimbau, squat right there. And then at some moment, this person will jump into that circle to perform the art. This is a very important moment, is when we pull together, yourself, is when you feel the mood of the roda, is when you try to understand who you are. You need to tame your fears, because it can be dangerous. It’s also needed to tame your arrogance if you are much stronger than your opponents. It’s when you need it to control your emotions, perhaps, you wanted to kick someone else but you feel that, that is not exactly that way that you should behave. Or is when you needed to face someone that’s big and strong, technically better than you, that you feel that this other person wants to kick you, but you need to face because if you kneel beneath the berimbau, it’s like to kneel in a Catholic church. If you kneel in the Catholic church you need to pray, you do not kneel if you don’t want to pray; you kneel beneath the berimbau you need to play the game. So music is important to bring out this kind of thing to get to the person you get there.

Because this big roda is like a metaphor for life, there is a lot of treacheries that you face, there is a lot of problems, and a lot of realities that you don’t want to face too. It is when you are by yourself alone, sometimes you face yourself in the mirror, you do not like what you see, but you need to live with it because it’s your own reality. So you look at that.

And in Brazil, in which capoeira has a meaning stronger than United States for the people, because it’s deeper into the culture, and because you do not have so much alternatives in terms of art forms or in terms of therapy, in terms of, mean of self-expression or as a ritualized way of you to be accepted among your peers that belong to that, or as a means of self-expression, and to reflect your personality or to grow at that moment. So that capoeira actually is dangerous, can be dangerous, and you need to proceed with a lot of respect to this danger and to this reality. So, that’s what I think on the music came to play a strong role. Because the individual there, they feel that everything’s connected in our universe, in an atmosphere that the music is what is responsible to give it a structure, some definition.

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Almedia Audio Clip and Transcript