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Talk and Toques (IP Music)

Page history last edited by Contramestre Café (Chanzo Greenidge) 3 years, 8 months ago



BY Twylight Seven





In Canada, a toque is something you wear on your head ).  In Capoeira, toques are the rhythms played on the berimbau and accompanied in the bateria by several other instruments which execute complementary rhythms.  The berimbau is a binary, xenoharmonic instrument which allows the player to develop a percussive environment that features echos, punctuations (primarily with the caxixi), microtonal changes and even harmony (when berimbaus with different tunings are used together).


Many toques are associated with a specific type game (i.e. style and speed of play), and are considered by many mestres and practitioners to be linked to the practice of Capoeira alone. For a better understanding of Capoeira toques, please download this excellent resource, The Berimbau-de-barriga and its toques by Kay Shaeffer



Over the years through my collaboration with Terrenaissance the Band, I have sought to keep Capoeira-specific toques out of my improvisation.  In respecting the separation of traditional rhythms from my own musical work, I have been forced to create new types of rhythms to complement a variety of instruments and moods.  Here are some of the toques, which I have developed as a musician, and used in my own music as well as collaborations with bands and producers I have been able to work with over my now 14 years in Capoeira Angola. 


Viva meu mestre (Mestre Bezerra) who certified me in music and shared with me the rare texts on the annotation of Capoeira music that vastly improved my technique and understanding of the Berimbau instrument.  Here are some of the toques I've developed in the past three years:




Toque Beira Mar by Twylight Seven

© 2011 Chanzo Osei Greenidge (SOCAN/COTT).


The Beira Mar Toque or rhythm is designed to accompany friendly, relaxed games, preferably on sand at the beach or near water. It is inspired by the Sao Bento Grande em Gege, the corrido Beira Mar/e de ioio as well as the faint influence of Samba de Roda toques. The rhythm creates a subtle shaking of the caxixi that is meant to resemble the crashing of waves.





Toque Santa Bárbara (Iansã) by Twylight Seven
(c) 2011 Chanzo Osei Greenidge (SOCAN/COTT).


This variation on the Toque Idalina was combined with the circular concept of the Toque Santa Maria and the use of the 'pontuado/ecoante' in the Samba de Roda toque to form Toque Santa Bárbara.  It is based on the use of 'arriados' which are played on and off the diaphragm to produce a rhythmic, impetuous toque. 






 Toque Urubu (The Vulture) by Twylight Seven
© 2011 Chanzo Osei Greenidge (SOCAN/COTT).


Toque Urubu draws from already recognized toques such as Toque Angola, Toque Idalina and Toque Iúna.  It also highlights the caxixi/gongo, the shaker held on the playing hand while playing the berimbau, using a rhythmic pattern taken from Middle Eastern folk music.


Toque Urubu was developed from a meditation on culture and its discontents.  Toque Urubu is a product of rehearsal for my upcoming show, Shining Veil, in which the Berimbau and its story is given pride of place.  It is a warning rhythm, but also a celebration of sight and insight.  It is designed to accompany a game based on skill, low jumps and changes of direction and pace.








 Terrenaissance’s music evokes the Caribbean's defiant history as well as efforts by innovators such as Andre Tanker, Ras Shorty I, Mungal Patasar, Lord Kitchener and Robert Nesta Marley to fuse genres and foster consciousness about self and society.  Terrenaissance means the rebirth of world music, and the portmanteau combines the words ‘Terre’ meaning Earth, and ‘renaissance’ meaning rebirth or reawakening. Founded in late 2006 by Avianne Callender, Terrenaissance emerged from open-air jam sessions at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine. Its members came together from different musical backgrounds and these 'Children of the Big Bang' have stayed together to experiment and create vanguard sounds. The band in 2012 is working on its first EP at Random Studios in Trinidad.





In SRINGARA, built in a collaboration between Avianne C.and Trevor S. around the sargam scale of Carnatic (South Indian) musical tradition, we tried to relate a love story without words, to envelop the listener in sound.  In this piece, I try to position the Berimbau as the wind, acting as a transmitter between the two lead singers, who in our imagining, are communicating with each other as loved ones separated by distance.  At times, I would try to use the berimbau and caxixi to work with the beautiful movements created by Harsh S' tabla and Avianne's rhythm guitar. The India toque was developed partly out of this experience.






I missed a day of band practice once.  I came back to find a song called "The Call" already in development, so the berimbau here is playing the role of the advocate, trying to impress the seriousness of the situation and the message on the audience.  At one point, that role becomes verbal, but mostly I'm playing in response to Joel C's mandolin and working within the pattern set by the rhythm guitar.  Check out Roger TI on the Agogo as well!  Listen to your mother when she talk!









 Topázio é um toque pra este mês de Novembro. É o toque irmão do Beira-Mar, com seu fogo metálico e cores leves e variados. 




O Toque Índia é o resultado de muitas horas de colaboração com colegas do super-grupo musical, Terrenaissance.  Uma lembrança das repitições de canções como ‘Sringara’ e ‘Revolution is the Only Way’.




Toque Cidadão fala da capoeira como parte do proceso de desenvolvimento social da Diáspora Africana.  É muito formal, e só fala de criação de espaço pra debate e resolução de conflitos.

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