Muzenza Family Tree

Mestre Ary

Name: Ary Berlim de Sousa
Nickname: Mestre Ary
Profession: Capoeira Master
Av. Brasil nº132 Bairro Centro PR

Ari Berlim de Souza was born in Foz de Iguacu, Parana, Brazil. He started capoeira at the age of 12 with Mestre Domingoun. In the mid 80s Mestre Domingoun moved to Brasilia, leaving the students without an instructor. Contremestre Nicanor took over the classes soon after. Contremestre Nicanor decided to leave capoeira to devote his life for his other job. Contramestre Robino from Groupo Muzenza Capoeira arrived to start a job with capoeira in Foz de Iguacu but he also soon left, forcing Ary to train with two friends. Mestre Bene from Goupo Iuna (of Mestre Rui from Rio de Janiero) moved to Foz de Iguacu to start a new branch of Groupo Iuna. Ari and all of his friends decided to join Groupo Iuna to continue his capoeira professional life. In 2004 he decided to return to Groupo Muzenza Capoeira, where he continues to develop his work with the group in the triple boarder of Foz de Iguacu (Brazil), Argentina, and Paraguay.

Mestre Burguês

Name: Antonio Carlos de Menezes
Nickname: Mestre Burgues
Profession: Capoeira Master

Antonio Carlos de Menezes (Mestre Burguês) was born in Laranjeiras – Sergipe – Brazil. When he was only 3 months old, he moved with his family to Rio de Janeiro. His first contact with capoeira was at the age of 12, when he was going through the 6th grade at the Escola Evangelica in Ramos, RJ, Brazil, next to Escola de Samba Imperatriz Leopoldinense. He used to play football in a neighbourhood where there was a capoeira player nicknamed China who would always cause trouble and beat him and his friends. One day he decided to begin practising capoeira so that he wouldn’t suffer any more assaults from China or anyone else.
His first master was a book, which his friend Nelson bought and together they began training their first capoeira moves in the Morro do Alemao, Ramos, RJ, Brazil where Nelson lived. After some time their enjoyment grew and so they felt that they needed a tutor in order to improve their knowledge in the art. They began attending Mestre Mentirinha’s Rodas, and from the beginning they identified themselves with Mestre Paulão, Mestre Mentinha’s brother, who was also beginning to teach along with Mestre Silas in the “Clube do Bolinha”.

Before starting to take part in the classes they had no money to pay. They gathered copper, lead, old bottles and paper which they managed to sell all, earning enough money to pay for the classes 3 months in advance. This was so unusual at the time that Mestre Paulão and Silas thought they were rich and gave them the nicknames of Conde (Count) and Burguês (Bourgeois).
Later on, his friend Conde ended up putting capoeira aside, while the boy – Antonio Carlos de Menezes – became Mestre Burguês .

Mestre Burguês, after going through very hard times of cold, hunger, financial difficulties, prejudice and discrimination, managed to face several obstacles and to establish Grupo Muzenza in the South of Brazil which is nowadays known throughout the world.

Mestre Burguês took part of the foundation of Federa ção Paranaense de Capoeira (The Parana State Federation of Capoeira) in 1985; he was one of the founders of the Confedara ção Brasileira de Capoeira (The Brazilian Confederation of Capoeira) in 1992; he helped to found and is still the president of the Superliga Brasileira de Capoeira (Brazilian Super League of Capoeira) since 1998; he published 2 books: The Study of Capoeira in 1978 and Capoeira Lyrics in 1982; and he released 19 Capoeira CDs, including one which was recorded in Canada. In 1995, he created a newspaper in which the purpose was to bring back the tradition of capoeira and to help all capoeira players. He has also lectured several workshops in more than 25 different countries.

Mestre Paulão

Name: Paulo Sergio da Silva
Nickname: Mestre Paulão
Date of birth: June 16, 1955
Profession: Lawyer and Capoeira Master.

Paulo Sergio da Silva, Master Paulão, was born in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro city. He started capoeira with his brother, Mestre Mitirinia in 1960s when he was 8 years old, at Rua Ozéas Mota, nº41 casa 3 em Bonsucesso, and continued in the Academia Milton Ribeiro em Olaria and Clube Santo Antônio de Ramos. He was recognised as a ‘Mestre de Capoeira’ in the decade of the 70s. Mestre Paulo is one of the architects of capoeira conteporania, combining his high knowledge of jumps. He placed one of his best students, Mestre Burgous in the state of Parana, harmonising capoeira in the South of the country. The Mestre is a graduate of law; he is also captain of the Brazilian navy on which he received various medals.

He was an active member of a movement to recognise capoeira as a genuine Brazilian martial art which took place in 1972-1973, where the cordéis with the Brazilian colours were recognised as graduations. At the time the green cordèis was the first level or iniciante (beginners), green and yellow was graduado (graduate), yellow was guerreiro (fighter), yellow and blue was respeitado (respected), blue was professor (teacher), green/ yellow/blue was contramestre, green and white was mestre on first grading, yellow and whiter was mestre on second grading, blue and white was mestre on third grading, and white was mestre with more than 30 years training.

Mestre Paulao graduated 3 mestres:

– Mestre Burguês,
– Mestre Fernando,
– Mestre Paulinho Suam

He took part in volume 10 of the CD from Goupo Muzenza de Capoeira, along with Mestre Gege. He is a registered physical educator on the Conselho Regional de Educacao Fisica and presently fights for the professionalism of the art.

Mestre Mintirinha

Name: Luiz Américo da Silva

Nickname: Mestre Mentirinha,
Date of birth: 28 th of August 1950
Profession: Capoeira Master

Luiz Américo da Silva, Mestre Mentirinha, was born on the 28 th of August 1950. In 1956, around 6 years old, he passed with his mother in Bonsucesso and heard a different sound that he did not recognise and asked his mother to bring him around to see what was happening. When he got there he realised that that was the sound of the berimbau. He was amazed at what he was seeing, people training a fight following the rhythm of that instrument.

He then asked his mother to enrol him to Groupo de Capoeira Sou Bento Piccano that was lead by Mr Osvaldo Lisboa dos Santos, better known as Mestre Parana, who didn’t charge anything and taught in his back yard. Due to the music that he came in one day singing, Mestre Parana said now tell me another little lie, from which he got his nick name Michrina. He got other nick names such as Indio after. Later on, at about 15 years of age, in 1965 he started to teach capoeira to a group of people. In 1966 he was in a roda in the hall of ESTAÇÃO PRIMEIRA DE MANGUEIRA, when Mestre Parana introduced him as Mestre Mintrinha. At that time there were 3 capoeira groups: Grupo de Capoeira São Bento Pequeno from Master Paraná in Bonsucesso, Mestre Artur Emídio in Higienópolis, and Master Mário Santos, da Bonfim, in Olaria. In 1966 Mestre Mitrinha was invited by Mestre Maio Santos to teach in his gym.

During his life as a capoeirista, Mestre Mintrinha has had glorious moments such as when he became the first Brazilian capoeira champion, and four times champion of capoeira in Interstates, organised by the Brazilian confederation of Pugilism. Famous wherever he goes, it is necessary for just his gunga to play to notice that there is the oldest living capoeira mestre in Rio de Janero, not to mention an excellent percussionist. Mestre Mintirinha has travelled 18 countries and has had the opportunity to record with Paul Simon, and has met Maria Bethania when he was young. During a period of his life he worked for Instituto Padre Severino, where he taught capoeira and met his wife Miss Cleide who motivated him to teach in gymnasiums, and he funded group Terra de Capoeira that has existed for 9 years. Mestre Mintirinha is known for training kicking bags of 120 kg and the first capoeirista to break tables, tiles and other objects. The Mestre received the most honourable title given to a citizen of Rio de Janeiro, which is the Comenda Tiradentes in the Assembléia Legislativa do Estado of Rio de Janeiro.

Some famous phrases spoken by Mestre Mititina:

“I am the wind you pass and when I pass you stay”

“I am a little grain of sand in an ocean called capoeira, and the master is called god”.

Mestre Paraná

Name: Osvaldo Lisboa dos Santos

Nickname: Mestre Paraná
Date of birth: 1923
Profession: Musician and Capoeira Master

Osvaldo Lisboa dos Santos is known as Mestre Paraná.

All capoeira communities have heard the music:

Paraná, Eh!

Paraná, Eh! Paraná!

Mestre Parana was one of the best berimbau players in history. He was born in Salvador, Bahia in 1923, and was the first to play the berimbau at Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (The Symphonic Orchestra of the Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiro). He also had a part in the film “O pagador de Promessa”. He travelled all over Brazil showing capoeira and the incomparable sounds of his “berimbau gunga”, recording a double CD by CBS (Capoeira Mestre Paraná), which was the first Capoeira CD to be recorded. Invited by Mercedes Batista, he went to Portugal to show capoeira as it was played in Brazil.

Mestre Paraná founded Grupo de Capoeira São Bento Pequeno, in the 50’s which contained the starting point of Grupo Muzenza. On 7 th of March 1972, at Iapase, Rio de Janeiro, victim of a sudden heart attack this great man died, leaving an irreplaceable space in the Art.

Mestre António Corró

Mestre António Corró was a black slave who taught Mestre Paraná.
Note: there are no documentaries or registries about Mestre António Corró’s life.