Intangible Cultural Heritage - Cantagalo


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 Photo: Cris Isidoro/Diadorim Ideias
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Grupo Gunga de Capoeira (Gunga Capoeira Group) has been active for 13 years and is coordinated by Professor José Edmilson, known as "Mestre Preguinho".

He says the idea of creating a capoeira group came to him back in 1999, when gathered with capoeira initiated friends who performed in Cantagalo representing another group from São Gonçalo. "We wanted to be independent and create a group in our own region", says Preguinho.

Gunga Group was born then and now gathers 150 members from 5 to 45 years old who are taught capoeira, maculelê (an Afro-Brazilian dance), puxada de rede (a Brazilian folkloric theatrical play, seen in many capoeira performances) and samba de roda (a folkloric event composed of music, dance and poetry). In the small district of Euclidelândia, the Group does social work, offering free classes for adults and young adults in communities in need. Euclidelândia was also the headquarters to the first "Semeando Capoeira" (sowing capoeira) event in March 2012.

The event held a graduation ceremony for the students in the district, open classes, lectures from capoeira masters invited from Rio de Janeiro City, São Gonçalo, Cataguases (in Minas Gerais State) and Juiz de Fora (also in Minas Gerais State).

The idea is for the event to be held annually, inspired in the Encontro Interestadual de Capoeira (Capoeira Interstate Convention). This last event, also organized by the Group, has reached its twelfth edition in 2011 and is held during a weekend in November, every year. In its last edition, the event had capoeira groups from six states. The event is held at the Cantagalo Esporte Clube (Cantagalo Sports Club) and the XV de Novembro Music Society headquarters, and the 2012 edition occurred on November 4th.

Foto: Cris Isidoro/Diadorim Ideias.

The Group performs in Cantagalo and region and has taken part in events in cities such as São Paulo and Minas Gerais as well as performances in Macuco, Cordeiro and São Gonçalo.

The group is also responsible for promoting games and competitions throughout the year. Through capoeira and African rites, Gunga aims to improve the body and spirit of its practitioners. "Gunga" is a Bantu word used to name the leading Berimbau (a traditional Brazilian single-string musical bow) in a Capoeira circle, which is the one to set the rhythm to the dance and also to start it. It is always played by the master or the eldest capoeira initiate in the group. Trainings and lectures happen at Cantagalo Esporte Clube

General Information

Address: Cantagalo Esporte Clube - Djalma Bêda Coube Street, Downtown, Cantagalo.
Phone: (+55 22) 98834-3775 (Mestre Preguinho)

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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