Capoeira Resource: Soul Capoeira Blog

23 01 2008

Berimbau, atabaque, pandeiro, reco-reco, agogoHey everyone, I wanted to tell you about an awesome capoeira blog/website I’ve been following for a bit now, called Soul Capoeira.  It’s an extremely prolific and informative site, run by Chan Griffin, that offers everything from in-depth history, to stories and tales, to intricately retold memories, to basic as well as (very) specific information about all sorts of capoeira topics. 

What really got me, though, was the inclusion of beat-by-beat musical rhythm instruction!!  You have no idea how excited I was to find this.  I don’t know how it was for you when you first started learning the berimbau, but I know for many people they do it intuitively, by listening to and watching someone else play, then copying as best they can.  For me though, I had to know exactly in my mind that it was, for instance, “1 down, 2 up, 2 buzz, repeat” or “4 down, 2 buzz, 3 down 1 up, 2 buzz, 4 up, 2 buzz, up-down-up-down” before I’d be able to play the toque successfully.  (Yes, I do find it easier to remember that than mimicking and yes, my friends thought I was crazy too.) 

Anyway, I still find that to be the most effective way I learn new rhythms (unfortunately, my teachers haven’t always agreed with me on that point XD), and it applies to the other instruments as well.  So if you happen to learn that way too—or even if you don’t, it can still be useful—Soul Capoeira comes through amazingly.  Whether it’s pandeiro technique, berimbau toques, or maculelê on the atabaque (at long last, our intrepid Joaninha has stumbled upon the Holy Grail!), if you can read…you can play!  Thanks, Chan!

Picture source:



7 responses

23 01 2008

Hah, I was going to put up a post directing people to his instrument tutorials, but you beat me to it!

Yeah, it is a good site/blog though.

24 01 2008

Good blog indeed.
With all these good blogs/websites around, I don’t get enough time to practice anymore 😉

24 01 2008

Thankyou for your kind words mandingueira, I hope to help in anyway I can. I really am in love with teaching, and it really touches me to see people who benefit from the little I can pass on. One of my students told me today that a lot of drum rhythms in some parts of africa are all learnt verbally first. For some of them who are true to their art they sometimes have to practice for up to two years verbally before they even get to touch a drum. Everyone has so much to give, they just need to find a way how.

25 01 2008

To Faisca: Lol. Yeah, the tutorials are awesome–makes me wish I also owned an atabaque and pandeiro to practice on!

To Xixarro: I know what you mean!!! Sometimes it feels like I spend so much time reading about things I have none left to actually put what I read into practice. Once one of my capoeira teachers said how he wanted to go on sites like and yell at all the “frequent users” on the forums for spending so much time talking about capoeira on forums instead of getting away from their computers and training capoeira. 😛

To Chan: You’re welcome 😀 Wow (about the African drum rhythm learning), really? Two years of saying “right left right right” and/or “edge edge middle edge” before actually touching a drum? That’s pretty incredible…although technically I guess you could still practice the physical movements on any flat surface—it wouldn’t be like having to play an “air berimbau” for two years before touching a real one. XD

25 01 2008

Re: learning rhythms,

Your style of learning can change. Like you, I used to be very driven by notation and counting beats… I had a music theory background, so that way of learning made the most sense to me.

But over time, that changed. Partially because of increased familiarity with the rhythms, and partially because the rhythms of the variations I was learning were far too complicated to write down easily and accurately.

Nowadays I remember stuff by “hearing the shape” of the rhythm… and I bet you’ll reach the point where you can do that too 🙂

26 01 2008

I think I know what you’re talking about Shayna, and I can see all of that happening to me as well, hopefully sooner than later! Sometimes I feel like I can “hear the shape”, but then I still mentally translate the shape into instructions to solidify it in my memory. Does that count?

7 03 2008
Donn Gobin

Check out my new Capoeira commercial. Thanks for watching.

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