Liverpool: “Berimbau”

Yeah yeah, I know. One post after the other. I just want to catch this moment while it’s fresh in my memory and well, stil pumping through my veins. I’ll keep it short. Promise.

I mentioned I had stumbled across this "alternative" style cafe, right? I liked the atmosphere so much there that I went back today to sit and ponder, and maybe actually succeed in talking to people. With nothing to do, I busied myself with something I picked up on Tara Hill: Making ashtrays from beer cans. I actually went and bought a pair of scissors for this, and I plan to be making these whenever I have nothing better to do and sell them for a pound or something. The money is nice, but in truth I mainly use it as an ice breaker.

It’s highly effective. The two times I went about doing this in public, someone approached me about it. This was the second time, and seconds after making it, it was gone and I was a pound richer. We shared a few awkward words and he went back to talking to someone he knew there and I proceeded to mind my own business. But it’s a step forward, right? Yeah.

That’s when the word was spoken. The voice was soft and deep, so I hadn’t caught any of the conversation, but this word stirred up vivid and intense memories. "Berimbau." Out of the blue.

A Berimbau, boys and girls, is an instrument. It is made from a 1,5m long stick and a metal wire extracted from a truck tyre, with a hollowed out gourd (kalebas for the belgians) attached, which serves as resonator. It is the main instrument of a roda, which is a gathering of people playing capoeira.
Capoeira, boys and girls, is a true marvel originating from Brazilian culture. It is a martial art and an improvised dance all at the same time. I play it, and it has served as my workout and therapy. And I’ve been dying to get some training.

It didn’t even cost me any effort, or time wasted in consideration. See, this is the main thing: If I have a reason to talk to you, I will. If I don’t, I simply can’t. This is why I am here: To force myself to talk to others so I would get over this.. fear? Reluctance?
To the point! I got up instantly and joined the small group. "I’m sorry, I couldn’t help overhear- You are a capoeirista?"

He was, and just that night he was going to give a workshop in that very building. I eagerly -yet politely- asked if I could join, and the response was a very warm one.

Looking back now, it was alright. It turned out he was an Angola practicioner, which focuses almost exclusively on technique and such, as opposed to energy and acrobacy. Look it up if you care to: Caopeira Angola and Capoeira Regional, you’ll see the difference. Me, although I have a deep respect for Angola practitioners, I prefer Regional. It’s fast-paced, energetic, and I can really channel my energy outward, something I often have trouble with doing.

Keeping to just the very basics of Capoeira Angola today, I have to say it was borderline boring, although we got to try the instruments and learned a song or two, something my Mestre tends to forget about. But all in all, the game was besides the point. I made friends. Spontaneously. Distant friends at best, who I will probably never see again, but for me, this is quite new.

Yes yes I know, it’s sad. Some guy who can pull off all sorts of things gets excited over a conversation or two. But you have to understand something very clearly here.
There’s a gap in my personality at this very point. It’s a social skill I never developed, because I never felt a need to. In school, friends would almost come on their own, and I had a girlfriend all through puberty. Now that all this changed, it’s simply… not there. Like a quarter-sized hole in the hull of a ship, a constant source of frustration. I figured, by putting myself in the position I am now, I would be forced to address people, and sort of develop a knack for it that I could take home and use when I needed to cross that line. It’s been largely unfruitful so far, but tonight shows, that however slowly, I am at least moving in the right direction. Hurray for me. It’s amazing how different the world looks now.


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