Um Berimbau e Dois Pandeiros

It is common to be asked, usually by new students, why do we not use more instruments in our roda.

One berimbau and two pandeiros are symbols that identify the Capoeira Regional groups. Arriving at any roda one will immediately notice the difference, the formation of which is an increasingly rare sight given the growth in popularity of other styles of capoeira. Group Porto da Barra is one of the few guardians of this tradition.

There are two explanations as to why Mestre Bimba created Capoeira Regional to use only one berimbau and two pandeiros.

The first is that by putting only one berimbau, with the accompaniment of two pandeiros, the capoeiristas could quickly distinguish evidence of a roda and still play well in cadence.

The other according to the Mestre Geni, is that there were not enough players for the composition of a larger orchestra. Only two students could “get” the berimbau, at the academy of Mestre Bimba: Gigante and Piloto.

The berimbau (whose wood is taken from a tree called “beriba”, eschweira ovata) must possess a pointy tip at one end. It consists of nine parts: beriba (shaft), cabaça (gourd), leather, nail, arame (wire), cordão (white cord), baqueta (stick), caxixi (shaker) and dobrão (metal coin). The berimbau commands the roda, while the pandeiros is simply accompaniment.

The berimbau should not have any kind of paint and/or garnish. Only coconut oil can be used to serve as a natural varnish.

Pandeiros should be built with wood and leather goat skin. Other models (samba, plastic etc.) cannot be used in the roda.

Knowing the history and the ways in which the instruments are used within Capoeira Regional is essential, for it maintains a long tradition and keeps us connected to our lineage. Very few groups in the world use this style that was conceived by Mestre Bimba, it is something feel proud of and to keep alive.