Capoeira New York
Just like capoeira itself, the history of the berimbau is uncertain.
Until the 19th century, capoeira was only played with "atabaques" (drums).
In 1834, a French writer name Jean-Baptiste Debret mentioned in one of
his publications that berimbaus were used to attract customer's attention on street fairs;
to ethnomusicology researcher Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, Historians and other researches,
berimbau is a Brazilian instrument with African roots that
was later successfully incorporated into capoeira.
Today the berimbau, a single steel stringed bow, is the lead instrument
in capoeira; it dictates the rhythm.
There are three types of berimbaus: Viola, Médio & Gunga.
There are many different berimbau beats, and each one has a meaning to the capoeira game. For instance:
- Slow beat, close to the ground game, with slyness movements.
- Closed game, medium beat with lots of swings and stealthy moves.
- A rich rhythm created by mestre Bimba in order to greet guests.
- Aerial game with swings, rich in movements.
- Game for masters, with lots of choreographed moves. Sometimes used to honor a master's death.
- A simple and fast beat; game played without touching the hands on the floor; razors are used.
- A beat that resembles a horse, meaning a warning; a violent game.
São Bento Pequeno
- A midium beat with smooth moves.
São Bento Grande
- A fast beat with more aerial and fast movements.
Samba de Roda
- A beat used for samba de roda(an Afro-Brazilian dance) in capoeira performances.