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A Brazilian Capoeira Master's Global Following

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A Brazilian Capoeira Master's Global Following

World

A Brazilian Capoeira Master's Global Following

A Brazilian Capoeira Master's Global Following

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5225100/5225101" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Mestre Joao Grande is a 78-year-old master of the black Brazilian martial art called capoeira — a rich blend of music, dance and ritualized combat.

The mestre (in center background) plays while watching a capoeira "jogo," or game in Los Angeles. Brakkton Booker, NPR hide caption

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Brakkton Booker, NPR

The mestre (in center background) plays while watching a capoeira "jogo," or game in Los Angeles.

Brakkton Booker, NPR

Enslaved Africans brought the roots of capoeira with them when they were brought to South America in the 1600s, and the skill was taught and practiced in secret for hundreds of years. The martial art has evolved to become one of Brazil's most valued exports, practiced by millions of enthusiasts worldwide.

Mestre Joao Grande plays the berimbau. JoaoGrande.org hide caption

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JoaoGrande.org

Hear Mestre Joao Grande sing and play berimbau, accompanied by Mestre Joao Pequeno.

Audio will be available later today.

The highest-ranking artists of the craft are the mestres, or masters. Mestre Grande is one of only two men alive chosen to head the elite capoeira academy founded by Mestre Pastinha, considered to be one of the founders of the modern capoeira movement.