Grupo Ypiranga de Pastinha: Year-End Roda

Hey folks:

This Thursday, December 20, at 7:00 pm, Grupo Ypiranga de Pastinha will be having our year-end roda at our space, which is located at Morro do Timbau, Complexo da Maré.

Just go down the walkway of Avenida Brasil. If you come from Baixada to Centro, cross the walkway. Otherwise, after getting off the bus, just go back and take the second street on the left. Go down this hill and you will come out in front of the building. It’s a squat, inside the old Quartzolit plant.

The Timbau community is calm and the space is very close to Avenida Brasil, you can come without worry. Looking forward to seeing everyone there!




Living Legends: a Cobra Mansa & o Gavião

Eu tenho dois irmãos
Todos dois, chama João
Um joga pelo ar
Outro joga pelo chão
Se um é cobra mansa
Sei que o outro é gavião, camaradinho

Mestre Pastinha sang this ladainha in honor of his two students, João Oliveira dos Santos e João Pereira dos Santos, also known as João Grande and João Pequeno.

The above photos are a sampling of the FICA-DC photo archives. These were taken by T Gege in Washington, DC at one of the first FICA Annual Conferences. T Gege coordinates the photo archives at FICA-DC and has a few exhibits hanging around the school, including this nice one.

All are welcome to come to FICA-DC and enjoy the photo exhibits. If you have pictures you would like to contribute to the photo archives, you can email them to the blog, or send them snail mail to the school. Our address is:

733 Euclid Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

** M João Pequeno's birthday is around the corner. If you have something (pictures, a nice memory) you would like to contribute to the blog's on-line celebration, please send it to us!

Rodathon 2008: Details & Pledge Form

On February 3rd, FICA-DC along with FICA-Baltimore & FICA-Philadelphia will be hosting its annual Rodathon Fundraiser.

The Rodathon is a 7 hour roda in which participants are sponsored by friends, family, co-workers, random do-gooders, and others to complete as much of the roda as they can. Usually, participants are sponsored by the hour or given a lump sum. All funds go to support the Women's Conference that will take place in March.

The fun starts at 9 am and goes til 4. All are welcome, sponsored as well as non-sponsored capoeiristas. We'll have a little party afterwards.

If you would like to be a sponsored participant, you can download the pledge sheet here.

If you would like to sponsor someone (hmmm...perhaps the administrator of this blog??), send an email to ficadcarchives (at) gmail (dot) com and we'll work something out.

Hope to see you there.

Thanks to KatieS for the flyer.


2008 Women's Conference Info & Reg Form


enter the roda
angoleira I am
corta capim
walk on my hands
giva a rasteira
cabeça no chão
volta do mundo
giro na mão
armada then chapa
teeth on display
you look surprised
but I came here to play
rabo de arria
every which way
I shake you hand
then go ‘bout my way

FICA-DC, along with the FICA-Baltimore and FICA-Philadelphia, is proud to present the theme and design for the 2008 FICA Women's Conference in the USA. The drawing and poem were done by our recently-featured poet, Charisse Williams.

2008 FICA Women's Conference

where: Washington, DC, USA
when: March 6 - 9, 2008
invited guests: M Paulinha, M Cobra Mansa & others (to be announced)
By Jan 15th (includes t-shirt): USD$85.00
By Feb 15th (includes t-shirt): USD$100.00
After Feb 15th (t-shirt not included): USD$125.00


The Registration Form, with payment information, is available here.

We hope everyone can come, but if you are unable to get to Washington, DC that weekend there are a few other ways you can participate:

1. You can submit a piece for the literary/arts magazine that will be published in conjunction with the conference. We'll take submissions in all languages, but if your submission is not in English or Portuguese, please have it edited before you send it. More details here.

2. You can create an exhibit celebrating the women in your group that will be put up at the conference and displayed electronically here. For more information on this, please email the archives at: ficadcarchives (at) gmail (dot) com.

3. You can support the conference by pledging funds for our Rodathon (8 hour roda. whew!) that will take place on February 3-- which is open for all to attend. More details coming soon!

4. Support a woman from your group by raising money to send her to the conference.

FICA-DC: Bringing in the New Year Right

FICA-DC presents a special training weekend with Mestre Poloca & Mestre Paulinha

When: January 4 – 6, 2008
Where: FICA-DC, 733 Euclid Street, NW, Washington, DC
(between Georgia & Sherman Avenues, on the Green Line)
Contact: ficadc (at) hotmail (dot) com
Price: USD$40 for the weekend, USD$15 per class


Friday, January 4
6 – 7 pm – Music Class
7 – 9:30 pm – Movement Class

Saturday, January 5
10 am –noon – Movement Class
3 – 4 pm – Music Class
4 – 6 pm – Movement Class

Sunday, January 6
10 am –noon – Movement Class
Noon – 2 pm – Lunch Fundraiser (for the women’s conference)
2 – 5 pm – Roda!!

News from FICA-Rio

Some news from FICA-Rio:

FICA-Rio has a new space located at Rua da Lapa, 181.

Classes are in the evening, Monday through Friday.

Rodas are every third Thursday of the month at the space and every third Saturday of the month in Largo do Machado.

On December 14-15, Mestre Jurandir will give an workshop at the inauguration of the new space and the end of the year activities.

Classes will resume on January 7.

Thanks to Vivian (FICA-Rio) & M Cobra Mansa for the information.


History of the Academy of João Pequeno de Pastinha

This short history of Mestre João Pequeno's school in the Forte do Santo Antônio Alem do Carmo was published in June of this year in the Diário de São Jorge, based in the state of Goiás. You can read the whole thing (in Portuguese) here.

Inaugurated in 1982, following the death of Mestre Pastinha, the Academia de João Pequeno de Pastinha had a great influence on the renovation of the Historic Center of Salvador (Pelourinho)…

In the early 1980s, Capoeira Angola was practiced in only two or three academies in the city of Salvador. They were groups of resistance that committed themselves to the diffusion of a lifestyle philosophy and not simply the formation of “folkloric groups”… Few resisted the influence of the “sportization” and folklorization of Capoeira Angola. In this context, the Academia de João Pequeno de Pastinha was born.

Created to combat this tendency, the academy became an important element in the revitalization of Capoeira Angola, preserving the line of Pastinha. Mestre Pastinha himself legitimized João Pequeno to drive this process. “They [referring to João Pequeno and João Grande, his two contramestres at that time] will be the great capoeiristas of the future, and for this I worked and struggled with them and for them. They will be mestres, not professors of improvisation like some around here that only serve to destroy our beautiful tradition. I taught everything I know to these two guys, even the pulo de gato. Because of this, I have great hope for the future.” (Diário de Notícias 10/3/1970)

Please send us any memories, articles, interviews, or pictures of Mestre João Pequeno that you would like to share with the Capoeira Angola community upon Mestre's 90th birthday.

Audiovisual Cultural Events in Salvador

The Point of Culture Audiovisual Archive of Capoeira Angola invites all to:

Free entrance

9:00 am
Where: FICA
The knowledge of capoeira and candomblé
Mestre Valmir Damasceno – FICA
Jandira Mawusi – Terreiro do Bogum

2:00 pm
Where: Pelourinho
Meeting with a Griot: Mestre Curió – ECAIG
Visit to a Cultural Point

9:00 am
Where: FICA
The Audio-Visual Memory: Archives Preservation preservação de acervos
Representative of DIMAS, Márcio Abreu – Coordinator of FICA Cultural Point

2:00 pm
Where: Liberdade
Blacks in the Scene: Liberdade
Visit to a Cultural Point, CSU Liberdade

9:00 am
Where: FICA
Digital Culture: What the heck is this?
Davi Rodrigues, Ponto Escologia
Fabiana Goa, Pontão Cultura Digital

2:00 pm
Where: FICA
Web Design
João Ramos, Design DIMAS
Diego Araújo, Web Design, Jr.

9:00 am
Where: FICA
Cinema: Photography & Art
Jairo Eledoro – Photography Director
Angel Callero – Art Director

2:00 pm
Where: Barris
Visit to DIMAS
Festival of the 5 Minute Film

Where: Pelourinho
Visit to the Cultural Point: Electrocooperativa


Call for Works: Literary Magazine


Another addition of Caxixi, the literary magazine produced by capoeiristas + their friends, families, and anyone else who wants to participate, is in the works. The magazine will be published in conjuction with the 2008 FICA Women's Conference in USA. This is a really nice opportunity to get your work published and to participate in the events surrounding the conference, even if you are far away-- in Europe, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Colombia, Mexico... or wherever you may be.

Here are the details:
Hey Angoleiras and Angoleiros, Guys and Girls, Moms and Dads, and yes, Children of the World,

It's time to break out your pens, pencils, paper, and cameras. We are calling for submissions to be included in the conference magazine. Poetry, art, essays, interviews, photos, and the like are needed. We are hoping to receive a few submissions from every group. The deadline for submissions is, Friday, January 18, 2008.

Release your inner poet, birth your artistic love child, download those pictures off your digital camera, draw a stick figure --- and send it in. All submissions should include your name and group affiliation. Please send them as an attachment in word doc formatting for written media and high resolution jpeg and eps for artwork/ photos.

The Editing Team

All submissions should be sent to caxixi.mag (at) gmail (dot) com

You can also send any questions to the e-mail above. Submit works in any languauge!


London: Christmas Roda & Party

Celebrating the holidays in the UK:

Urban Ritual Christmas Roda & Party
Friday 21st December 6pm - 11pm
@ Corbet Place
The Old Truman Brewery
15 Hanbury Street

More info at: www.capoeira-angola.co.uk

Free entry

Thanks to Fantasma for the information


"I Learned with Mestre Pastinha"

This is a nice ladainha by Mestre João Pequeno. I believe it is on his CD.

Menino, quem foi seu mestre ?
Quem te ensinou a brincar
O teu mestre foi Besouro
Aprendeu com Manganga

Eu aprendi com Pastinha
Quero contigo brincar
A capoeira de Angola
A africano quem mandou

Na capital de Salvador
Foi Pastinha que me ensinou
Na roda de capoeira
Reconheço esse valor

Per usual, we'll leave the music translation up to you all.


Celebrating 90 Years All Month Long!

This month in Salvador, Mestre João Pequeno will celebrate his 90th birthday. There are a bunch of events lined up that will take place in his academy (see below), including a birthday celebration. Since not all of us have the luck to be Salvador, we'll also be celebrating his birthday here on the blog, dedicating the month of December to various posts about this important and influential capoeira mestre.

We'll start with a little history. This biography comes from João Pequeno's book, "Mestre João Pequeno, Uma vida de Capoeira", and was sent as part of the invitation to the December events at his academy. Enjoy.

Ninety years is no joke, its history

On December 27, 1917, João Pereira dos Santos was born in the city of Araci, in the interior of Bahia, son of Maria Clemença, a ceramicist and descendant of native Indians, and Maximiliano Pereira dos Santos, a cowboy on Fazenda Vargem do Canto in the Queimadas region. When he was fifteen (in 1933), João fled on foot from the drought, going all the way to Alagoinhas. Later he went to Mata de São Jorge where he stayed for ten years, working on the sugar cane plantation as a cowboy. He met Juvêncio, a metalworker and capoeirista, on the Fazenda São Pedro, and it was then that João learned about capoeira.

When he turned 25, João moved to Salvador, where he worked as a tram conductor and as an apprentice bricklayer in civil construction. He continued in construction, eventually becoming a master bricklayer. It was during his time that he met Cândido, who introduced him to Mestre Barbosa who worked as a porter in the Largo Dois do Julho. Barbosa led trainings, gathered a group of friends, and went to Cobrinha Verde’s rodas in Chame-chame on the weekends.

João became a part of the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola, which was a group of capoeiristas coordinated by Mestre Pastinha.

From then on, João stayed with Mestre Pastinha, who soon offered him the position of treinel. This was around 1945. Some time later, João Pereira became known as João Pequeno.

At the close of the 1960s, when Mestre Pastinha could no longer teach, he passed the responsibility to João Pequeno, saying, “João, you take care of this, because I will die, but only my body will die, my spirit lives. As long as there is capoeira, my name will not disappear.”

At the academy of Mestre Pastinha, João Pequeno taught capoeira to all the other great capoeiristas who came from that academy, and later became great mestres, among them, Moraes, Curió, and João Grande - who became his great capoeira partner.

Mestre Pastinha advised João to work less and dedicate himself to capoeira. Even though he thought that he would not live longer than 50 years, he thought that he would live much better til this age.

Having to deal with the difficulty of a big city, João Pequeno worked as a market stall merchant and as a coalworker. He became known as João do Carvão. He lived in Garcia, a neighborhood close to the Dique do Tororó.

His first wife passed away, but a while later he met Dona Mãezinha in Pelourinho, during the Golden Age of Mestre Pastinha’s academy. He had a family, and with much effort, built a house in Fazenda Coutos, far from the city center, where they went to live and receive visits from capoeiritas from all over the world.

For João Pequeno, a capoeirista must be well-educated; “a good tree to produce good fruit”. Capoeira is good not only to maintain a flexible and fit body, but also to develop the mind. It can even be therapeutic. It can be worked like the earth from which we take sustenance.

João Pequeno sees capoeira as a process of individual development, a struggle created for the weak to confront the strong, but also as a dance in which one should not hurt their partner, demonstrating that the good capoeirista knows how to stop their foot as to not hurt their opponent.

In 1982, a year after the death of Mestre Pastinha, Mestre João Pequeno re-opened the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola in the Forte Santo Antônio Alem do Carmo, where he created a new base for resistance, where Capoeira Angola emerged for the world. Even though he faced many difficulties maintaining the academy, he was able to graduate mestres and a large number of students.

In the 1990s, the Bahian state government made various attempts to evict the residents from the Forte Santo Antônio in order to reform it. Paradoxically, at the same time, João Pequeno was honored as “Citizen of the City of Salvador” by the town council, awarded an honorable doctorate degree from the University of Uberlândia (Minas Gerais), and honored as “Protector of Culture of the Republic”, by President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Everyone who has had the opportunity to meet Mestre João Pequeno agrees that "he is a sweet person", whose simplicity, spontaneity, and charisma seduce all those who go to the Forte Santo Antônio to participate in his rodas. He’s a joker, but he also does not anyone forget the fundamentals of the play and the dance.

His birthday is truly a spontaneous capoeira event, where there is big roda with the participation of many mestres and members of the capoeira community.

Beyond impressing all those who have the opportunity to see him play his excellent capoeira and mandinga, João Pequeno has distinguished himself as a capoeira educator, a major authority on capoeira, a reference in the struggle and life in defense of this noble Afro-Brazilian art.
More to come!

If you have something you would like to contribute regarding M João Pequeno, please e-mail it to us at ficadcarchives (at) gmail (dot) com.