A Brazilian Capoeira Master's Global Following

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 game. i i

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

itoggle caption Brakkton Booker, NPR
The mestre (in center background) plays while watching a capoeira game.

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.

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

itoggle caption JoaoGrande.org

Audio is not available

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.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.