2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

The Lyrics of Brazilian Capoeira: Tradition, Values, and Culture
Marshall F. Edwards
Dr. Thomas M. Capuano, Faculty Mentor

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art created by African slaves. It became popular among the urban poor in the 1800s, especially in Brazil’s Nordeste region. When capoeira is performed in the roda (circle), it is accompanied by music, which dictates the speed and character of the game. The game is also influenced by the lyrics of capoeira’s songs, which communicate cultural values and stories of everyday occurrences. The lyrics also express the nature of the game, the action taking place in the roda, and the values of the players themselves. By analyzing these lyrics, we can use them as a gateway to understanding capoeira’s unique history, as well as learn about such cultural phenomena as candomblé, mandinga, patuá and axé. Issues such as gender roles, religion, philosophy of the game, and camaraderie are also explored.

Keywords: capoeira, culture, music/lyrics, martial arts, African Diaspora


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 23-3
Location: OP 2111
Time: 10:15

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