Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Capoeira has introduced me to so many ideas... i had a wonderful session with master weaver Roberto Bottaini, from Pescia, Italy, as we attempted to make caxixis from materials that are indigenous to the specific region of Tuscany where i'm from.
They may not be optimal for the roda, but i learned a lot!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The struggle isn't over

On Tuesday November 24th, WWU cancelled classes because of racist threats made against students of color on social media. Meanwhile, five black lives matters activists were shot and wounded in minneapolis while attending a vigil protesting the Nov. 15 shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, by Minneapolis police officers. It's easy to say: solidarity! from behind a computer - just like it's easy to be an asshole and make threats from behind a computer screen. The real work can only be to redouble our efforts in real life. Look up the Bellingham Racial Justice Coalition. For more trivial things: our practices at WWU have ended for Fall Quarter. We will resume on Monday, January 11th, at 6pm in the Multipurpose room. For training information over break, email us at ficabellingham@gmail.com

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall quarter 2015

We will begin training in The Multipurpose Room of the Viking Union at WWU on Mondays from 6pm to 8pm.

Everyone is welcome - no experience necessary! Wear comfortable pants, shoes you can move in, and a t-shirt that can be tucked in.

Other times and locations will be announced, but for now we are trying to arrange for thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30, location TBD.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


It is a thrill to find out that the International Capoeira Angola Foundation officially recognized its first female MestrA - Gege Poggi! It's a proud day to be an angoleir@!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer is no time to be idle...

it's time that can be used to prepare cabacas and arame for berimbaus!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer 2015

Carver Gym is closing its doors for the summer. Back to Boulevard Park!

Monday June 8th: 6:30pm to...
Thursday June 11th: 8:00pm till sunset
Monday June 15th: 6:30pm to...
Thursday June 18th: 7:30pm to...

What will happen after that is still up to negotiation at least until mid-August.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

...se todos juntarem as maos!

Words cannot adequately express the gratitude that we feel for the opportunity to have such a great weekend of capoeira.

Lindsey and Leika playing at the Bellingham Farmers' Market, with our very special guest Treinel Eva on Gunga
a women's bateria at the end of the roda on saturday evening

Mestre Silvinho and ContraMestre Kamau look on as they orient us us on the roda on Sunday Morning
I was reminded - yet again, about the ways in which the small roda of capoeira simulates life, the great roda.
Without the support and the energy of all the members of the community, each one contributing what they can (their voice, their energy in the game, their skill at playing the instruments...), there could be no roda, and no capoeira.
Similarly, without strong community support, this event would not have been possible. Our deepest gratitude to the bellingham storytellers' guild, the community food co-op, the WWU Dance and Anthopology departments, and of course the AS Activities Council for their support with the funding of the trip, especially the travel costs for CM Kamau and Treinel Eva; JiaJia Chang for the beautiful poster; everyone who offered up their home so that our guests could have a place to stay; Ivana for a delicious and unexpected pot of fried rice on Sunday; all of the teachers (and their teachers) who shared their gifts with us: Kamau and Eva, Keith Doran (doni doni drums), Antonio Diaz (Rumba Northwest), Dora Oliveira, Manimou Camara, and Mestre Silvinho.

Thank you also to all of the people who joined us to share the energy, from Vancouver BC, Corvallis (OR), and Seattle!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Afro-Brasilian Fesival - May 16th and 17th

Mark your Calendars!

The event is free for students, $5 per class per person for the general public!

Saturday May 16th:

10am: Capoeira Angola roda at at the Bellingham Farmers' Market

(all afternoon events in Carver Gym room 60/Dance Studio)
1pm: Capoeira Angola Class with CM Kamau and Treinel Eva from FICA- Philadelphia
3pm: West African Drumming class with Doni Doni Drums (BYODjembe) / Capoeira Angola Music Class with CM Kamau and Treinel Eva (BYOBerimbau)
4:15pm: Cuban Salsa class with Rumba Northwest
5:30pm: Capoeira Angola Roda

In the evening, we are tentatively scheduled to meet at Café Rumba on State Street for companionship, music and dancing!

Sunday May 17th:

(all events in Carver Gym D)

10am: Capoeira Angola class with CM Kamau and Treinel Eva
12:30pm: Samba class with Dora Oliveira
1:45pm: Capoeira Angola Music Class with CM Kamau and Treinel Eva
3pm: West African Dance Class with Manimou Camara
4:30pm: Capoeira Angola roda

Here is the facebook event page.

Many thanks to the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, the Community Food Co-op, the Bellingham Storytellers' Guild, and the WWU departments of dance and anthropology for their support!

Monday, April 13, 2015

On cultural appropriation.

I found the website Decolonizing Yoga, which makes for fascinating reading - of particular interest for me, of course, as the discussion of cultural appropriation relates to Capoeira Angola as currently practiced by people who are non-Brasilians and not Black.
The video below explores these issues in some depth.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Quarter 2015

This quarter our regular practices will continue to be held in carver Gym room 60 (dance studio) but we will go from 6:30 to 8:30 (a half hour later).

If anyone shows up at 6pm, we can play berimbau in the first available classroom on the west side of Bond Hall.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A bit of our past

I stumbled upon a very interesting interview between two people who are part of our FICA family: Njoli Brown (currently with FICA NYC) and ContraMestre Kamau, of FICA Philadelphia - who we hope to bring to Bellingham for the Afro-Brasilian Festival!
Kamau has been involved with FICA in the United States from the early days, and the snippet below tells a little bit of that history.

You can (and should!) read the whole thing here.

- - - - - -

Njoli:  [...]  You also talked a bit earlier about how some of the racial encounters that were going on in the states were very different.   You know, we recognize that concepts on race relations are diverse, whether you’re talking about from the perspective of African Americans, Africans, Brazilians or any of us descendants throughout the diaspora because of our varied histories and experiences.  So I’m curious about how you felt about the different roles race has played in your Capoeira experience, whether that means in the context of FICA or Capoeira Angola or whatever.
ContraMestre Kamau playing with Treinel Puck
ContraMestre Kamau:  Well, my foundations were and are in activism and Africanist thoughts and theory.  I grew up with that and it got even stronger when I got to undergrad.  Coming up here (Philadelphia), the community, it’s not as large and the culture is more… northern, not as connected, not as… friendly. So it’s much easier to cultivate oneself  down south.  Here, you can still feel isolated, can feel like there’s beef between organizations that actually look like or seem like they’re supposed to have the same motives.  You don’t have that so much down south.  Up here you grow into a kind of aesthetic of toughness. People don’t share space as much.  There’s kind of a different vibe.
    I remember our first years playing Odunde, ’95 or ’96.  It was black people, playing Capoeira , black folks, and I remember there was one year that Cobrinha came and he had some guests with him and some of them were white.  It shook a lot of people, there was a kind of embarrassment.  I think people were caught up in this idea that maybe the crowds not feeling us this year, some old “Oh, I thought this was this.  Why you got them with that?” The challenge was a fear that we wouldn’t have this feeling of being at home anymore or of having a community that would support us.  After you’d do some demo, your hope was that people would want to come learn more about Capoeira and that year maybe the thought was we would finish and people would be like “I don’t want anything to do with that.”
   It was a difficult transition and I know in my own group we had a separation of thoughts and ideologies.  There were people who thought that kind of integration was a threat to a kind of African centered thought and people who wanted to make sure that anyone could train, white, black, whoever.  Those two camps became very polarized and, the truth is, none of those people are training now.  For me, when I looked around I realized that no one was left.  It ended up being a big transition for me, realizing you can spend all kinds of energy worrying if all the people in your group look the same or acts the same or has dreadlocks or eats the same food or any of that. You just have to make sure you have quality people that can stay committed, can make sacrifices without complaining and can be consistent and can be depended on.  That’s how you figure out your go-to people.
   Clearly, I’m an African and this is an African Brazilian martial art and it’s only right that you have people who share that lineage, culture and connection and spiritual energy in your circle.  I’ve always wanted that and I still want that but that’s not the only component to creating a positive and workable energy and it took me a lot of time and thought to gain the maturity to recognize and understand that.  That was a big thing for me.
   From another perspective, in Brazil, nationality is very important.  But here I am, here you are and we both teach Capoeira Angola.  So, someone can flip the script and ask a similar question. “How do you feel being from the states and teaching Capoeira?” I know exactly how that feels and have had the experience of some Brazilians looking at me like “watchu talking about Willis?” and not understanding what right I have to connect with Capoeira on any deep level.

Obrigado, Mestre Silvinho and Caitlin!

Thank you Mestre Silvinho and Caitlin for coming to Bellingham to train with us and help us grow in the art!

During his workshop, Mestre mentioned percussionist Nana Vasconcelos. Below is a video displaying his amazing use of the berimbau.

Mestre Silvinho was in Bellingham to do a series of workshops organized by Kuntz and Co. His visit was covered by the Western Front and by the Cascadia Weekly, which unfortunately included a picture of another artist.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

At the MLK Conference!

Just a couple of images from Saturday's conference.

An intergenerational community practice

angoleir@s from Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver!

Thank you Mestre Silvinho, Caitlin, Camilo and Gabi! and to the organizers of the MLK conference at the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

As a final note, if you haven't seen the movie Selma - go see it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter Quarter 2015!

Feliz 2015!

For the rest of the school year we should be meeting on mondays (starting next week) at 6pm in carver gym room # 60.

We'll discuss the possibilities for meeting at other times as well.

Two great events coming up: saturday january 17th Mestre Silvinho will be in Bellingham to lead a workshop at the annual Martin Luther King Conference at WCC. We will also have more workshops that afternoon!

Whatcom Human Rights Task Force

We are also in the early stages of planning another workshop by Mestre, this time at northwest indian college, the evening of either february 25th or 26th. Mark your calendars!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Capoeira is part of the humanity's Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - recognized capoeira as part of humanity's intangible cultural heritage on November 26th 2014.

The video below (in English) was made by UNESCO:

The video below (in Portuguese) was made by the Brazilian Minister of Culture: