Happy Birthday, M João Grande!
Today, January 15, is the birthday of Mestre João Grande, icon of Capoeira Angola and Brazilian culture the world over. Even in 1968 he was already cited as a significant figure in the Capoeira Angola community. In his book, Ensaio Sócio Etnografico Brazilian ethnologist Waldeloir Rego wrote about João Grande, among other capoeiras of the time, in the book’s chapter, “Famous Capoeiras and their Behaviour in the Social Community”.
João Grande (José Oliveira dos Santos) is the young capoeira who knows the most about tricks of attack and defense, which coupled with an extraordinary corporal flexibility, has turned him into one of the most agile capoeiras in Bahia. When he is playing, he is like a great dancer. Canjiquinha, for example, after making various eloquent references about João Grande, offered a typical poetic sentiment, “Foi Deus quem mandou João Grande jogar capoeira” (“It was God who called João Grande to play capoeira”)
Happy birthday, Mestre!!
There will be a roda and party at Mestre’s space in New York City this Sunday. If you are in the area, don’t miss this great event.