MP Capoeira say like sem fim [without end], you always learn. You learn every day. I used to have 6,000 students in Florida in my computer, a 6,000 students in 19-, 19-, no, in 2008. 6,000
students. In Brazil I think I have more than that. They pass with me. They train, they stop. They get back, go back and forth, yeah, but I think the way to learn, capoeira. I'm open. My mind is open to learn every day. And now I'm alone with you guys a little bit. You know, I learn with my students. Yesterday I teach capoeira. I taught capoeira yesterday. I learned, I learned [from] the kid. I mean, I mean, I'm open to learn how they going to act if I say something to them. How am I gonna go to them? How am I gonna receive them when they come to me? How am I gonna treat them? So I learn capoeira every day. Capoeira to me means everything. Capoeira, capoeira... How am I gonna treat my girlfriend? I use my capoeira how to treat them to make closing respect, and Lord, my friendship, to keep my friendship. I use capoeira. The way I walk. I walk carefully. For example, today I play capoeira today carefully, because I'm not 22 years old anymore. I'm 53. So I play capoeira carefully. I can't hurt myself. I walk carefully. I talk carefully because I don't want to hurt, I don't wanna disrespect nobody. So I learn capoeira every day. For example, when I got my first chord for mestre, my title for mestre in 2003, the first level capoeira mestre I got in 2003, I stayed in 2003 16 years in the first level of mestre capoeira. I didn't feel like a mestre much of that time. I was like a contra mestre or professor. So when I got my last, last chord in 2018, I got my last chord, I feel! I say, “Wow!” I have like goose bumps. I have [it]! Wow, man! I feel that responsibility, you know, respect. I say, “Wow!” I said, well, I'm a mestre, I feel like a mestre today. So from that day until today, I put in my mind, I'm in a... I don't know how to say ligas atleta?
MP I'm not an athlete anymore. I’m a mestre of capoeira today. I'm here to teach, to learn, to help, to share, you know, to put like a unit, you know, everybody is together. That's what I feel
right now. So I learn, I learn every day. I train capoeira every day. I play instruments, I sing, but I learn with you guys. I'm open to learn capoeira with you guys. I'm open to learn capoeira with other mestres, Mestre Alabamba every single day, Mestre King Kong. I'm open to learn. So I learn capoeira every day.
A Hmm. That's powerful.
J Mestre Peti, in our conversation, you said that you are a citizen of the world and you also, I love that. And you also shared with us that in your experiences around the world, you believe that Bahia is the most racist state that you've ever encountered. And I was wondering if you could talk about the importance of the name of your school, Bantos, and the social work that you do in that context.
MP Okay. Today for example, yesterday, they say to me like, European Brazilian people, white Brazilian people, they have capoeira and their capoeira is more accepted. They accept more capoeira from white Brazilian people. Okay. I say to them, I say, it looks good, but I don't accept them because capoeira is inside your body, capoeira inside your mind. It's not about color. you, if you play capoeira good, if you have a good knowledge of capoeira, nobody can take that from you. If you respect capoeira, if you practice capoeira, if you're doing the right things, nobody gonna take, because they're gonna know your capoeira. Okay. But the racism stuff is every day in Brazil, it’s every day. To me because I learned in the United States, the United States helped me a lot. When I left from Brazil to United States, I didn't know who I am. I was like, if you people say, “Oh, you [emigrated] from Africa.” I’d say, “No, no I’m Brazilian.” But I learned that. I learned that it is so true. Nobody gonna say anything to me. First of all, first all I mean, I mean, like I say, I'm a man of the world. I used to live in Spain, United States, France. Everywhere I go, I try to learn for the culture, everything. So I know who I am. So with me, they never come because they know already. They look at me they say, “Yeah, okay, that’s a problem over there.” But the racism here is very big. I saw with people, especially with the girl, the Black girl. They so insecure to talk, even to smile, they are beautiful. They are beautiful, too. But they...shy because the system give to us. If you go to school, they teach us. We come, for example, for example, they went to Africa, and take us to work as a slave. I mean, I hate they were forced slave. I hate that for Africa. It’s different. So they try to put our mind they forced slaves for that. They put pictures of the white guys sit in the table, and the Black people serve them. I remember that one as a kid. So they teach us, they make us slave after they teach us to keep slave until today. Cause, for example, here you see in Bahia, 95% is Black people here in Salvador, Bahia. 95, but they [who] control the bureaucracy is white people. They make more money! They control the musician [who] come from us, but we sell to them. They buy, and control Daniella Mercury, verde, we make this beautiful song, but we sell to them. They buy the song. You see? So we still don't buy from them. So let’s see, for example, Tori Materia, Nina, Tato. They very good. They make beautiful song, but here in Bahia, you have no space for them. It's amazing. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. So, yeah, it's like they smile to you. They say “I love you,” but it's not never the real thing. They always take from us. Take from us because they have the control, they have more money. So you make your sound. For example, Olodum. Olodum is the biggest block of percussion in the world. Olodum. But Olodum makes sound and local people here like 6,000 people hear this song. Fine. Then Daniella Mercury come and buy Olodum song. Boom. Daniella Mercury put it in the whole world, maybe go to Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, maybe United States because United States is closed for them. The musician, the music is too strong. They don't go there, but Olodum make beautiful song for 6,000 people. Daniela may get the same song, and put the whole Brazil, because the door is open for Daniela, but closed for Margareth Menezes.
A Yeah. You're commenting on the historical reality of and legacy of slavery that continues to exist today and disproportionately affect Afro descendants, Black and brown people, especially Black women, like you said. And, and I just, I think it's so important to place and really
emphasize the racial dynamics. And the class dynamics that you're highlighting because as you said, capoeira is a large world in and of itself. Recently, there was a report that shared there's over 6 million practitioners with capoeira, but that doesn't mean that everyone is a capoeirista, something that I've learned and continue to learn and to hear from folks who really grew up in the culture. And I'm wondering about the role that you see with women and Black women in leadership in capoeira, if you see that exists. I know that there are other women, women that I enjoyed, like learning from and training with when I came and visited. I loved working with the young people and teaching them. Really, really capoeira was such an inspiration for the founding of Break the Boxes. And it was a gift to be able to teach through Break the Boxes at Cosme de Farias English and creative writing and poetry, and to learn from, you know, I trained with acarajé or Formiga, Ingride, I think her name is. And even I think Boneca, just other women. And I'm curious where you think women's role and leadership lies in capoeira, especially Black women.
MP Bantus Capoeira, Bantus [is an] African name. Bantus. The first, the first African people
come to Brazil to work as a slave: Bantus. So the people, Bantus Capoeira. Bantus is very
smart African people. They create a Kingdom and help the Kingdom of Congo. So I saw, I say,
“Wow! Look like me.” I love the name Bantus, strong, African, and smart. Sometimes people call me clever. So it's smart. So I say, “Wow, I love them.” The first African people coming to Brazil, walk as clever. Let's see. Wow. So I take anything from me. No, I’m not like it. For example, for example, I come from Europe, it takes so many things, now makes sense. It’s from my origin, I want to take care of Capoeira. Capoeira as capoeira before nobody played regional or Angola. Everybody played capoeira as a capoeirista. So Mestre Bimba created capoeira regional, capoeira local, capoeira regional after Mestre Bimba created, put in the gym, everything then Mestre Pastinha gave the name capoeira Angola. I'm not a student of Mestre Bimba. I'm a capoeirista. I play capoeira. I follow the Berimbau. Because before capoeirista play capoeira on the floor, they play capoeira [standing] up. I’m a capoeirista. Whatever the Berimbau plays, I'll do my game with no problem at all, with no separation. I have a lot of respect for Mestre Bimba, a lot of respect for Mestre Pastinha. I say “thank you very much” to them, but I mean my first mestre is aluno Mestre Canjiquinha. Mestre Canjiquinha come from Mestra Aberrê, Mestre Aberrê come from Mestra Pastinha. I can’t say I’m an Angoleiro because my first mestre, didn’t teach me capoeira Angola, they [taught] me capoeira. So I’m a capoeirista. Contemporânea? I don’t know, I don’t know what's going on with contemporânea. I heard Mestre Camisa say “Capoeira right now is contemporânea da da da.” Then he says contemporânea, contemporânea, it never did. Now it’s going to capoeira Sertão here in Bahia. He's very smart. So a lot of people lost right now. Oh, contemporânea? They get lost. So I don't know about contemporânea. But I created that. I created Bantus Capoeira to keep helping. You know, young people integrate, and put it in the right way [into] sociedade [society]. With capoeira, make them help, you know, to keep the capoeira strong in Bahia, you know, to teach the right thing. I don't wanna create anything else because it's impossible to create anything else in capoeira and is here and just gonna keep capoeira, respect, capoeira, you know, and teach [them] the right things. I don't need to prove anything to nobody. I just gonna keep teaching the right thing. I went to Europe, I saw they have their style contemporâneo. We have, I don't know. Maybe I gotta learn capoeira again. Because here you guys create everything. Can you guys explain to me what’s contemporânea mean? So contemporânea comes from Mestre Camisa, is you guys Mestre Camisa student? They say No. So I am lost here. What's going on. Explain to me. They don't have no idea how they gonna explain to me. They got lost. We go to play capoeira. Capoeira is a martial arts. Capoeira is created by the slave to protect by the owner. Capoeira is a fight after that you have a culture, musician, everything is created to protect by the owner. So they play capoeira over there. They play, they smile. They make it...but I get lost. I say I think I gotta learn Capoeira again. So I have a big meeting over there. Three mestres said to me, “Mestre thank you for saying that I question myself right now. I don’t know how they make contemporânea. Because contemporânea is not based on not reality. Reality makes no sense. So some mestres of capoeira agree with me. And some mestre didn't like, they didn’t like what I said. So that's why I say contemporânea, I don't know how to say contemporânea, but I know about capoeira. Capoeira before I say, capoeira. You know why? The year of 1980, the capoeira ‘85 is like very, very weak year by year because Mestre Pastinha [was] sick. The whole Mestres of Capoeira and Mestre Bimba, in ‘85 already left from Bahia. You know who kept capoeira in Bahia, it was capoeira de rua, in mercado modelo, capoeira in piedade. They keep the capoeira in Bahia. After Mestre Moraes come to Brazil in ‘82 he talked to all the old Mestre’s, and made the capoeira Angola come alive again... Oi?
A Oh, no, I was just thinking about Mestre Moraes’ work with capoeira Angola in the Forte do
Santo Antônio and the influence.