Mestre Chocolate made a berimbau for me. The gift is at once an honor and a challenge — an honor in that the berimbau is the beating heart of any Capoeira practice, and a challenge because he is basically telling me to step up my game.
There are three types of berimbau — Gunga, Media, and Viola — which are classified by tone. Gunga is the lowest, media is in the middle and the viola is the highest. Mine is a viola.
In a bigger roda (the circle in which we play Capoeira) there are often three berimbaus playing simultaneously, though the gunga will lead while the other two accompany. In contrast, Mestre usually just has one gunga playing during the smaller training rodas.
I’ve been practicing every day and it’s certainly not the easiest thing I’ve done. Playing music isn’t second nature to me, but I’m determined to stick to it. What I can’t imagine though is singing (in Portuguese no less) and playing simultaneously. But that’s where all this is headed apparently.