Why learn songs?
Capoeira is a martial art in connection with ancient culture. This cultural knowledge is the key for understanding the concepts of capoeira, and songs are the part of this art. Singing songs in roda cheers up capoeiristas playing in the center, and when you find yourself in there, you will feel this energy brought by other capoeiristas. While practicing songs, you gradually learn Portuguese. Where else you may learn foreign language that naturally? Leading the songs and singing loudly develops your respiratory system. It definitely helps you out with endurance and upside-down exercises. Even if you don't know the particular song and just mumble the melody but clap loudly, it develops your wrists (queda de rins, eh?).
Why in Portuguese?
It was the Portuguese who first colonized the area now known as Brazil. Slaves, taken from their African homeland, had to learn the language of the masters in order to survive. At the same time, many African words were introduced into the lexicon of Portuguese, adding an indelible African touch to the Brazilian Portuguese spoken today. So why must we sing in Portuguese if we are not Brazilian or Portuguese? May be, it is enough to say, "that's the way it's always been done." In other words, instead of changing capoeira to suit our needs, we may ask how capoeira can change us to suit its needs.
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