CK Ladzekpo And Mestre Acordeon (Bira Almeida)
An original, full length
concert stage production
commissioned by The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts
Photo Credit: African ancestral spirits and capoeirista spirits
sharing human emotions of joy, anger, caring and madness in
Warriors At the Edge of the Rainforests
About The Production
Warriors At the Edge of the Rainforests is a collaborative piece by CK Ladzekpo, master drummer and choreographer from Ghana, and Bira Almeida, Capoeira mestre from Brazil. It is a full-length theatrical music and dance production creating a collage from Capoeira, a popular African-Brazilian martial art, and Adzohu, an ancient warrior dance-drumming of the Fon-Ewe people of West Africa. Using traditional sacred music, dance, martial art, mime and poetry, this production tells the story of an old Capoeira master upset with the violence in today's society. One day in anger he lifts his berimbau as a weapon to strike out at the demons of violence. At this moment he senses that the Berimbau emanates a power greater than that of a mere weapon. He realizes that this power is capable of transcending reality. With the Berimbau in hand, he invokes the presence of ancient Capoeira spirits, and ancestral African Fon-Ewe spirits to come together and dramatize this violence and hopefully find alternative solutions for our daily conflicts. This dramatization involves the visit of the Fon-Ewe ancestral spirits to Brazil where they meet and interact with ancient capoeirista spirits, sharing human emotions of joy, anger, caring and madness. Awakening from his dream, the aging warrior once again confronts reality. He may have envisioned a better path for the younger generation.
Warriors At The Edge Of The Rain Forest features a cast of thirty outstanding Capoeira and African dance-drumming professionals drawn from the illustrious performance and teaching histories of two great master artists.
East Bay Center For The Performing Arts is an innovative Richmond based non-profit performing arts organization dedicated to building community through the arts.
The production is sponsored in part by the Rockefeller Foundation's MultiArt Production Fund and the Zellerbach Family Fund.
For further information, booking etc., please contact Jordan Simmons at (510) 234-5624 or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scene One - The Dawn
Arrival of African Ancestral Spirits
Dance - Agbeko
Source - Anlo-Ewe people of Ghana, West Africa
One of the most important ancestral dance-drumming repertoire of Anlo-Ewe military culture is Atamga, "The Great Oath." Atamga derived its name from the highest oath of loyalty and patriotism among the Anlo-Ewe. Its choreography drew from Anlo-Ewe war fighting tactics, memorable military operations, and the prowess of traditional heroes. Atamga's institutional responsibilities included the military preparation of warriors for battle and debriefing warriors for a smooth transition into normal life after battle. During the last three centuries, the Anlo-Ewe traditional state evolved gradually into a peaceful coexistence with their neighbors and the institutional function of Atamga also was modified. The name was changed to Agbeko which means "lives are safe." It was dedicated to the pursuit of peace through a spirited remembrance of the horrors of warfare.
Scene Two - Images of
In the street of Bahia, the city called "Africa in Brazil," everything is possible. African deities, ancestral spirits and capoeiristas can interact freely
Source - African-Brazilian people of South America
The game of Capoeira is an intricate dialogue of attack and defense, a ritualized form of combat derived from war dances and traditions of the sub-Saharan Bantu peoples. Through Capoeira we learn about our strength and weaknesses, and how to confront our fears and how to tame our courage.
Scene three - Sharing Knowledge
Disciplined training is a corner stone to building character. The satisfaction of reaching new levels of knowledge, the challenge of learning about oneself and how to understand and respect those who are different may be achieve through the traditions of Capoeira, Adzohu, Kpanlogo and samba.
African spirits share Adzohu martial art techniques with capeoirista spirits in Warriors At The Edge Of The Rain Forests
Scene Four - Initiation and Dedication
Every temptation that is resisted, every noble aspiration that is encouraged, every sinful thought that is repressed, every bitter word that is withheld, adds its little part to the impetus of that great movement which is bearing humanity onward toward a richer life and higher character.
The initiation of the novice in traditional arts forms is a very important step in the life of a student. Sometimes in Capoeira, the novice is welcomed and accepted into the community by being swept to the ground. The fall is symbolic and should be taken with grace as an experience to learn from.
Scenes of Capoeira and Adzohu in a celebration of a common heritage as old spirits unite and encourage staying on the path and resist every temptation for violence.
Dance - Adzohu
Source - Fon-Ewe people of Benin, West Africa
Adzohu is a distinct dance-drumming repertoire for various devotional activities
for Adzogbo, a divinity of war among the Fon-Ewe people of Benin, West Africa.
These devotional activities include:
Some Video Clips From Warriors At The Edge of the Rainforests
(1) Capoeira Game from Warriors At The Edge of the Rain Forests
(2) Solo Capoeira moves from Warriors At The Edge of the Rain Forests
Adzohu School Scene from Warriors at the Edge of the Rain Forests
For further information on Capoeira, students are referred to these books:
Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form by Bira Almeida. North Atlantic Books (1986),
Ring of Liberation. J. Lowell Lewis, University of Chicago Press (1992) Chicago
Capoeira Arts - United Capoeira Association For current writings of Mestre Bira (Acordeon) Almeida
Back To C. K. Ladzekpo Home Page
African Music And Dance Esemble Page
Capoeira Arts - United Capoeira Association
Note: these pages are constantly under construction. We are always adding material about the music and culture of the Ewe and other African ethnic groups, along with related graphics, sound, and videos that you can download.