Music in Capoeira Angola

Music is a fundamental element in Capoeira Angola. The ritual of the Roda is marked by different rhythms, songs and calls, which determine the style of game the two players should engage in; pass messages and instructions to the players and others particpating in the roda; and give a commentary on the game.

During the class students learn how to play the musical instruments, beginning with the simpler ones before moving on to the more difficult ones, and also learn the songs that accompany the game of capoeira.

All the songs are in Brazilian Portuguese, which gives the students a chance to learn a new language and culture.

Ladainhas, Louvacao & Chula

The Capoeira Angola roda commences with the Ladainha (litany), a solo often sung by the most senior member present, usually the one playing lead Berimbau.These songs may be improvised on the spot, but are most often chosen from a canon of existing ladainhas. 


Ladainha - The word 'Ladainha' comes from prayer and is formed by a series of calls and short, repeated answers. In Capoeira Angola the ladainha starts with 'Ie' to call for everyone's attention and then begins to a story. It ends with louvacao or chula.


Quadra - This is a short song sometimes used in place of the Ladainha, made up of four lines.


Louvacao - It is part of ritual of Capoeira Angola that when the Capoeirista sings he also prays and connects himself with his ancestors and gods. The intention is to ask for blessing and protection for himself and the other participants of the roda.


Chula - The chula is a song composed of short verses used to honour and show respect the master of the roda, to all capoeira Masters as well as to Capoeira itself.


Corrido - This Portuguese word suggests a type of song that accelerates the rhythm to a paced tempo characterised by verses sung by the singer and a chorus. The game of capoeira is played to these songs, which have a "call and response" or verse and chorus structure. There are many different corridos, which suit different rhythms and therefore different styles of game.


Ladainhas Sung as Corrido and Quadra - There are ladainhas that can be sang as either a corrido or quadra. For example the ladainhas ' Cobra lhe morde' can be sung as a corrido without changing its meaning and in way that we can introduce improvisation to it.



The rhythms ("toques") that are generally used in the game today are called Angola, Sao Bento Pequeno and Sao Bento Grande de Angola. There are many other rhythms that are part of Capoeira Angola, such as Santa Maria, Jogo de Dentro, Amazonas, Iuna, Apanha Laranja no Chao Tico-Tico, and Cavalaria. Each of these calls for a different style of game, or acts as a warning to the players.

The Basic Rhythms Used in Capoeira Angola

      Toque de Angola

    Toque de Sao Bento Pequeno

     Sao Bento Grande de Angola