Importance of Music

“Rhythm is the “heartbeat of capoeira “and song is the soul.”?

Music has a great influence on capoeira. There are very few martial arts which have evolved to the sound of musical instruments. The concept of capoeira as a martial art is so related to music that its presence is almost compulsory. The percussion sounds give the body a kind of rhythm which, through which the vibrations stimulate conscious and unconscious reactions in the capoeira player. The player gives up their body and mind to that sound with great psychological interpretation and body expression, where music is a fundamental part of the whole process. The music brings to a roda much psychological strength and thrilling emotion from the union of the thoughts of each of those gathered to take part. On the other hand, a roda without rhythm or sound doesn’t have the same motivation, leaving its participants less exited and even distracted.

Most of the lyrics are very simple, telling stories about slaves, about the freedom of the oppressed… but if they are interpreted with the feeling they express, many of them bring a lot of emotion to the one who sings and to those who listen.
The music is one of the most important aspects of the roda de capoeira as it leads the feelings of the capoeiristas, conducting them to a nice, serious, joyful, or an aggressive game. The responsibility of the musicians is perhaps the most important position in the roda. Normally the instruments will be in the hands of the mestres or the most experienced capoeiristas, as incorrect.

The berimbau will be leading the rhythm, followed by the panderios and supported by the atabaque. There must be a very good combination between the berimbau, as when this happens a wonderful melodic rhythm takes over the whole roda making every person present feel an unexplainable sensation. The panderios will also be helping and making sure that the berimbau keep the right rhythm in the percussion, guaranteeing if any mistake happens with the berimbau’s, the panderios will be right behind covering. The atabaque is the most important drum as it has the propensity to be the loudest instrument in the roda. The atabaque player must have the patience to back up the berimbaus and the panderios, guaranteeing the percussion of the rhythm.


The Berimbau is a one stringed musical instrument with a bow like structure, with the following components:

The Verga or Madeira is a stick of about 7-8 palms in length and 3 cm in diameter;
The Baqueta is a polished stick of approximately 40 cm;
The Cabaça is a polished, varnished and hollowed gourd;
The Arame is a wire attached to the verga which is struck to make the sound. It is extracted from a car tyre;
The Doubrão is traditionally a large bronze coin used in late colonial Brazil; nowadays it is manufactured from any metal specially to play the berimbau;
The Pandeiro is a tambourine made of wood and leather measuring 10 inches ;

The Attabaque is a large drum with a wooden base a leather skin, held together with cord, metal ring, and wooden pads for tuning.

Grupo Muzenza´s Rhythmic Arrangement

Grupo Muzenza’s rhythm is composed by 3 berimbaus (Gunga or Berra-Boi, Médio and Viola), two Pandeiros and one Attabaque.

The Berimbaus must be without painting on and made of Biriba wood or a similar kind of wood, must measure about 8 palms long

Some Song Lyrics

Paranà ê
Vou dizer minha mulher, Paranà
Capoeira me venceu, Paranà
Paranà ê, Paranà ê, Paranà
Ela quis bater pè firme, Paranà
Isso não aconteceu, Paranà
Paranà ê, Paranà ê, Paranà
Oh Paranàuê, Paranà
Paranàuê, Paranà
Paranà ê, Paranà ê, Paranà
Assim dera que o morro, Paranà
Se mudou para a cidade, Paranà
Paranà ê, Paranà ê, Paranà
É batuque todo dia, Paranà

la vai viola
O lê lê la vai viola
Tim, Tim, Tim, la vai viola
O viola meu bem viola
Tim, Tim, Tim, la vai viola
Jogo o bonito no jogo de angola
Tim, Tim, Tim, la vai viola
Jogo de dentro e jogo de fora
Tim, Tim, Tim, la vai violaO lê lê

Gunga é meu
Gunga é meu, gunga é meu
Gunga é meu, é meu, é meu
Gunga é meu, gunga é meu
Gunga é meu, foi papai que me deu
Gunga é meu, gunga é meu
Gunga é meu eu não dou a ninguem
Gunga é meu, gunga é meu