Why is November the month of the Black Consciousness?!

Bust of Zumbi in Brasília. The plaque reads: "Zumbi dos Palmares, the black leader of all races." sourced from the 'Zumbi' wikipedia entry on 22/11/10

November 20 is remembered and celebrated among us as the Day of the Black Consciousness. In fact November is full of important references to the Brazilian Black community and to capoeiras all over the world. This is the reason why this month is also a contemporaneous form of protest among us. A protest because it’s celebrated by the Black community, as well as by other oppressed minorities, over the 13 of May, the day of the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil. November draws its symbolic strength from other important events, all somehow related to Capoeira; at least for those who see it as an art of resistance. The Revolt of the Whip; the death anniversary of Zumbi dos Palmares (20/11/1695) and of Mestre Pastinha (13/11/1981); and the birth anniversary of Mestre Bimba (23/11/1899) all happened in November, making off this month an important opportunity to debate and learn from such protests and historic events.

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Seu Vicente ‘The Philosopher’ Ferreira Pastinha


The first time I saw this video featuring Mestres Pastinha, Bobó, and João Pequeno playing was in a symposium in 2006 in Florianópolis, Brazil. The footage was found by Luiz Victor a student of Mestre João Pequeno, in an abandoned collection of a library in Rio. The TV Show Veja o Brasil was produced and directed by the folklorist Alceu Maynard Araújo in 1950. Maynard also authors the narrative, that I captioned for this video. The footage is quite interesting in itself, but in commenting about it I would like to take the chance to discuss a few random issues. All, of course, as part of this little tribute to Mestre Pastinha’s death in November 13 of 1981. And yet, as part of the celebration of November as the month of the Black Consciousness in Brazil. Huge thanks to Professor Calango from Volta do Mundo productions who shared the footage file with me a while ago. Continue reading

Radio Soap Opera on Mestres Bimba and Pastinha

The IRDEB (Educational Broadcasting Institute of Bahia) is broadcasting a radio soap opera on Mestres Bimba’s and Pastinha’s lives (in Portuguese). This is the same Institute that produced ‘Capoeiragem na Bahia’, one of the most important documentaries on Capoeira done so far. IRDEB has put available an audio database with previous broadcastings. Continue reading