Sunday, May 7, 2017

Afro-Brasilian Festival!

Sunday, May 15th in the Multipurpose Room of the Viking Union!

 10am: Capoeira Angola Class with Mestre Silvinho
1:30pm: Samba Class with Dora Oliveira
2:45pm: West African Drum Class with Manimou Camara
4pm: West African Dance Class with N'nato Camara
5:15: Capoeira Angola Roda

 Free for students, $5 per class for the general public.

 Thanks to:
 WWU Dance Department
WWU Anthorpology Departmet
WWU Music Department
Bellingham Community Food Co-op
International Capoeira Angola Foundation

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

At Culture Shock 2017

Culture Shock is an excellent, annual, free event hosted by the Ethnic Student Center at WWU.

We were honored to share some what we have learned about Capoeira Angola there.

Note: our performance starts at 1:38:20

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mark Your Calendars...

The 2017 Afro-Brasilian Festival at WWU will be Sunday May 14th! Capoeira Angola Class with Mestre Silvinho, Samba class with Dora Oliveira, West African Dance class...

Friday, March 10, 2017

A climate of fear and violence in Washington

-On March 04, Deep Rai, a 39-year-old Sikh man in Kent, Washington, heard a cry of “go back to your own country”—before he was shot in the arm. The assailant is described as a six-foot-tall white man, with a mask covering the lower half of his face. -18-year-old Ben Keita was last seen at his mother’s home in Lake Stevens around 1 a.m. on November 26. his body was found “by a passerby January 9, dangling from a long rope tied to a high branch.”A January autopsy report says: “Although at autopsy I did not see any evidence of trauma beyond the evidence of hanging, the circumstances of the very high tree branch, uncertain location of the decedent for the six weeks prior to discovery (with a report that the area where the body was found had been previously searched), and lack of any reported suicidal ideation or attempts makes a definitive classification of the manner as suicide uncertain.” “Ben was a happy, young man,” said Ben’s father, Ibrahima Keita. “We believe that somewhere, someone must know something about this case and we urge people to come forward and contact the police.” Ben was Black and Muslim. -The story of racist threats against Belinda Seare, former WWU Student President, can be found here: - - - - - - - - In all of our small ways, we must fight this hatred and fear.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

About Capoeira and cultural appropriation

Our Mestres teach us that Capoeira is not just for the 'little roda' (of Capoeira itself), but it is also for the 'grande roda' of life. Our Mestres' message, as I have heard it, has always been that we should always be striving to learn more, to challenge ourselves, to do our own research and then bring the issues or questions we find back to our groups.

Sometimes our challenges may be physical (doing a beautiful and effective au'), sometimes they may be linguistic (learning a long corrido in Portuguese), sometimes they may be emotional (overcoming our fears, or our tendency to get upset, when we play in the little roda). Sometimes those challenges come to us in the 'grande roda' of life with its many injustices.

In the context of the broader struggle for racial justice, we can often find ourselves confronting the ugly reality of the insidious ways in which racism as a phenomenon influences our lives - including in our practice of Capoeira Angola. After reading an insightful article about these issues by Maisha Z. Johnson, which I recommend to everyone, I wanted to jot down questions that should be in the back of our minds:

1) In our Capoeira practice, do we trivialize the history of violent oppression against Black people in Brasil? In general, in our lives, do we trivialize the history and current practice of violence against Black people by the state and by individuals both in Brasil and in the United States?
2) We appreciate the culture of Black people that are participating in. Do we actively seek to challenge our prejudices and stereotypes about Black people?
3) Do we judge White and Black people differently for practicing Capoeira? Or for participating in elements of African/Black culture? 
4) In our practice of Capoeira, do we gain monetary or financial benefit off of undervalued labor of Black people?
5) Do we get rewarded or celebrated for things that the creators of the art, and our Mestres, have not been acknowledged for, or are not rewarded for?
6) In our Capoeira Angola practice, are we spreading a misrepresentation of history? Do we actively seek to learn more about the history of Capoeira and the experience of colonization and the slave trade?
7) In our practice of Capoeira Angola, are we perpetuating racist stereotypes?
8) We have access to something that Black people were punished for doing. What are we doing to increase access to Capoeira for Black people?

Devagar se vai ao longe - P'ra crescer se leva tempo;
Slowly you will go far - to grow it takes time.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indigenous People's Day

Capoeira Angola arose out of the experience of African people who were enslaved and taken forcibly to the Americas. Capoeira Angola is a living testament to their determination to resist the physical, cultural, and spiritual oppression that resulted from their enslavement - an oppression that continues today in a myriad of ways.

Another part of the experience of colonization was the disposession of Indigenous People, and a centuries-long effort to eradicate them physically, culturally and spiritually.

Though the United States federal government still celebrates Columbus Day, various cities around the country are renaming that date "Indigenous Peoples' Day." In Bellingham, the city council approved a resolution to rename it Coast Salish Day.

We can celebrate this day, and honor the treaty that the Federal Government signed with the Indigenous People of this land, as we do in the tradition fo Capoeira Angola, with a song:


Reconheço que essa terra
é a casa ancestral
de um povo bem antigo
que é preciso respeitar.

A essencia desse povo
é na terra, é no mar
é nas arvores, nos rios
é a historia do lugar.

Agora moramos juntos,
juntos vamos trabalhar
para defender essa terra
para defender o mar!

Nessa roda de Angola
é bonito de se ver
vem p’ra roda meu colega
a amizade vai crescer, camarada!

I recognize that this land
is the ancestral home
of a very ancient people
who are worthy of respect

The essence of this people
is in the land, is in the sea,
is in the trees, in the rivers,
it’s the history of this place.

Now we live together,
together, let us work
to defend this land
to defend the sea!

In this roda of [capoeira] angola
it’s good to see you
come to the roda, my friend,
our friendship will grow!