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Author(s): Marriage, Zoë
Date: 2014
Title: Making tracks: continuous recreation of Africa through capoeira
ISBN: 978-989-732-364-5
Keywords: Capoeira
Abstract: Reference to Africa is central to the Afro-Brazilian art of capoeira, but rather than constituting a static or literal account, references change over time in nature and function. In the early 20th century, capoeira in Bahia was played exclusively by people of African heritage in defiance of the Brazilian state, which criminalised capoeira along with other Afro-Brazilian cultural manifestations. The practice of capoeira maintained continuity of the history that the Brazilian state was working to reject or deny. In the 1930s key capoeira players reconfigured references to Africa, contributing to and reflecting Brazil’s changing racial dynamics. Capoeira groups in the 21st century continue to construct references to Africa in moves, songs and principles, recreating a history of and through capoeira. Capoeira has become a global phenomenon, and lineage – in particular African lineage – is fundamental to the perceived and claimed authenticity of groups. Capoeira has moved from criminal marginality to cultural icon; it is making tracks in the sense of keeping pace with other developments. It is making tracks in another sense too: in that it constantly recreates its history and purpose. Many capoeira students are not black or have never been to the continent, and claiming an African heritage performs altered political and cultural functions. ‘Africa’ is also an alternative reality, an inverted hierarchy, and a challenge to dominant order. It is not a point of reference but parallel line of references to other political developments, and the recreation of the continent constructs various sites of resistance.
Access type: Open Access
Appears in Collections:CEI-CLN – Capítulos de livros nacionais

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