By Matthias Röhrig Assuncão.
Capoeira songs – ladainha, quadra, louvação or corrido – have always played an important role in the transmission of the fundamentals, in the memorialisation of the capoeiras of the past, and in the remembrance of times that are no more.
In Rio de Janeiro, Geraldo Costa Filho, better known as Mestre Gegê, has been one of the most prominent capoeira composers in Rio de Janeiro. Let’s recall here a song that, in our view, managed to portray an important moment and place of memory. “Adeus Bonsucesso” extols capoeira in the North Zone of Rio de Janeiro, more particularly the neighbourhood of Bonsucesso, where the famous roda of Zé Pedro used to take place. During the sixties and the seventies, the North Zone’s finest capoeiragem was concentrated in Bonsucesso and the surrounding neighbourhoods, such as Higienópolis and Olaria. Here the masters Artur Emídio, Paraná, Djalma Bandeira, Mário Buscapé, Mentirinha and others lived, worked or taught.
From the mid 1970’s, capoeira in the North Zone started to spread more to other neighbourhoods and the Baixada Fluminense. Today other neighbourhoods or municipalities have gained prominence. Mestre Gegê’s song was recorded on Muzenza’s first LP, in 1988, issued by Ariola and organised by Mestre Burguês. At that time the roda of Zé Pedro no longer took place, nor did Bonsucesso stand out so much on the capoeira scene in Rio de Janeiro. But Mestre Gegê managed to crystallise in this song something of his individual memory, and also of the collective memory of this rich moment, so rich and fundamental for the development of contemporary capoeira in Rio de Janeiro.
Capoeira went through other important phases in Rio de Janeiro. However, until today not much music has been made celebrating its history here. That’s why the “Contemporary Capoeira in Rio de Janeiro” project has partnered with Mestre Paulo Kikongo, from Radio Capoeira, and sponsored a special prize at the “Galo já Cantou” festival, whose entries closed in February 2021. While we wait for the jury’s deliberation on the finalists (17. April 2021), we share here the lyrics and music of “Adeus (Farewell) Bonsucesso”.