The group – Grupo de Capoeira Angola N’golo

The group Capoeira Angola N’Golo was founded in 1991 in the municipality of Novo Iguaçu, Rio de Janeiro, by Mestre José Carlos. Fellow capoeiristas and students joined Mestre José Carlos’ effort, and together they have maintained the group’s activities.

The name “N’Golo” was the suggestion of Ms. Rosemary, Mestre José Carlos’ wife. N’Golo refers to a ritual practiced by African ethnic groups from Angola, which is based on a mating ritual performed by zebras. The young men would perform this ritual, in which he who showed the greatest skill could choose his desired wife. Among the Africans enslaved and brought to Brazil, N’Golo gave birth to Capoeira Angola on the plantation grounds. Aspiring to preserve the traditions of capoeira, and the group N’Golo chose a name that best represents its work and goals.

Currently, the Grupo de Capoeira Angola N’Golo seeks to deliver various aspects of Capoeira Angola to its practitioners, including its philosophy of life; its vitality and balance; its history and theory; the rhythms of the berimbau; and the songs that form the basis of capoeira’s ritual.

The secular traditions of Capoeira Angola as a fighting game were honed on the grounds of the quilombos (fugitive slave communities) during Brazil’s colonial period. Its practice was continued over the centuries. Under slavery, it symbolized black people’s resistance against colonial domination and served as a means by which to maintain their cultural identity. Similarly resisting the yoke of social control during the Imperial and Republican periods, capoeira was practiced in the streets of the major urban centers, especially São Salvador, Bahia, São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, and Recife, Pernambuco.

Mestre Pastinha was a great practitioner of Capoeira Angola in Salvador, Bahia in the beginning of the last century. He founded an academy where he taught, wrote books, recorded albums of capoeira music, and traveled to various locations in order to spread capoeira. Even in his old age, Pastinha was a difficult opponent for young capoeiristas, for whom a game with the master was a struggle.

Capoeira Angola became organized under Mestre Pastinha’s direction. Many mestres were created in his academy, founded in 1941 on Ladeira do Pelourinho number 19. These mestres have ensured the continuation of his legacy in various areas of Brazil and around the world.

Pedro Moraes Trinidade, or Mestre Moraes, was for a while one of Pastinha’s students. For the majority of time that he trained at the academy, Mestre Moraes received Mestre Pastinha’s teachings through Mestre João Grande, who at the time was administering the classes. In the 1970s, Mestre Moraes arrived in Rio de Janeiro to teach Capoeira Angola. In the twelve years that he lived here, he created the contramestres Lumumba and Peçanha. Moraes also made mestres of Marco Aurélio, Braga, Neco, and José Carlos, founder of N’Golo. These mestres are today engaged in the spreading and preservation of Capoeira Angola.

The Master, Mestre José Carlos Gonçalves

Date of Birth: July 22, 1956
Education: Secondary Level
Professions: Tacograph technician; battery installer; bus mechanic; plumber; refrigerator operator; Capoeira Master.

José Carlos began learning Capoeira with the Capoeira Angola Group of Mestre Moraes in the Gurilândia Club in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, in 1973.

He was made a master by Mestre Moraes on December 16, 1978 in Rio de Janeiro’s Lage Park (Parque Lage).

He founded, together with other capoeiristas, GCAP – Grupo de Capoeira Angola Pelourinho, on October 5, 1980 in Cosme Velho, Rio de Janeiro, RJ

In 1983 he began teaching Capoeira Angola in Nova Iguaçu, Baixada Fluminense, RJ.

Mestre José Carlos has taught classes at: Academia Maia, Nova Iguaçu; Academia Denis, Nova Iguaçu; Crian de Nova Iguaçu; and on the grounds of his own home.

In 1991 he definitively separated from GCAP.

He began teaching capoeira in the Casa de Cultura in Nova Iguaçu with the intention of creating a capoeira group. He gave classes at the América Football Club in Nova Iguaçu.

On December 10, 1991, he founded the Grupo de Capoeira Angola N’Golo in Nova Iguaçu.

In November 1992 he damaged his Achilles’ tendon and was required to halt capoeira, and in the spring of 1993 received an operation.

He returned to Capoeira in November 1993 during the First National Symposium on Studies and Debates on Capoeira, held at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

In February 1994, now without a space in which to train, he recommenced his classes with a part of his group in the backyard of his own home.

He subsequently began teaching classes in the Irmãos Reis Academy in Catete, Rio de Janeiro, from 1995 until January 1997.

In February 1997, by invitation of Mestre Braga, he moved to the UNE building in Catete.

N’Golo ended its relationship with CCARJ and its classes in UNE in early 2002, and moved to BADALO, in Santa Teresa.

From 2003 to 2005, classes were held at the Laurinda Santos Lobo Cultural Center.

MERCADO DAS PULGAS (click for Map!)
Rua Almirante Alexandrino – Largo dos Guimarães
Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro RJ

Mondays & Wednesdays from 7 PM to 10 PM
Saturdays from 10 AM to 1 PM

All classes are taught by Mestre José Carlos with the aid of the more experienced students.

RODAS (Gathering)
Aside from regular classes, the group hosts the traditional monthly Roda de Capoeira on the last Saturday of each month. These are open Rodas held in Santa Teresa to which all practitioners of Capoeira are welcome.

To receive additional information on the group, please call: +55 21 3770-7256 or +55 21 99796-5896, or email: [email protected]

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