Capoeira music is led by the berimbau. The berimbau, is originally an ancient African instrument whose descendant is the guitar. The berimbau leads the rhythm and sets the tone for the roda. One to three berimbaus are used during a roda. The gunga berimbau has the largest gourd. The medio has a medium sized gourd, and the viola berimbau has the smallest gourd. The caxixi, dobrao and baqueta help to create the sound that the berimbau makes. The berimbau is accompanied by the atabaque, the capoeira drum, the pandeiro, a tambourine, and the agogo, a bell.
The capoeira songs are all in Portuguese. Many of the songs date back hundreds of years. The songs often tell stories. Sometimes the songs set the tone of the game, calling for the game to be played faster or slower for example. The singing is done in a call- and response fashion, led usually by the mestre or one of the instrument players, and responded by all of the people in the roda. The people in the roda also clap. In the game of Angola it is a series of two claps, and in the Regional game it is a series of three claps. Students are expected to learn how to sing the capoeira songs, and how to play the instruments. Once the student has played in the roda, it is recommended to take an instrument to play to learn and allow the instrument players to play capoeira as well. Good capoeiristas should not only be proficient at playing capoeira, but also at playing all of the instruments and singing the songs.
There are different types of capoeira songs:
- only in Capoeira Angola, it is a song that tells a story about something of the past related to capoeira, for example a story about a famous Mestre. The ladainha is sung by the most senior Mestre present at the roda. It is sung usually at the beginning of the roda, like an introduction. However if the Mestre decides to sing a ladainha in the midst of an ongoing roda, the two capoeirstas playing in the roda are expected to stop playing and kneel before the berimbau until the Mestre allows them to play again. 2. Lovacao-
the song that pays respect to whatever the Mestre desires to pay respect to, such as to the art of capoeira, to God, to another mestre, or to a city that capoeira is known for. 3. Corrido-
a short song that is easy to repeat and remember.
You can download the words to many more capoeira songs here