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date: 14 October 2019

Berimbau [berimbau de barriga, urucungu, rucumba]locked

  • John M. Schechter


[berimbau de barriga, urucungu, rucumba]

A Brazilian Musical bow of African origin, with a single wire string and sometimes a gourd resonator. Despite its origin, in the north and north-east it takes a Portuguese name, the berimbau or berimbau de barriga (jew’s harp of the belly), while it is called urucungu in the south. The berimbau is the principal accompanying instrument for Bahian capoeira, a stylized martial art of the region. A richly creolized product of the black world with several prototypes on both sides of the Atlantic, those in Brazil include several related to Kongo/Angolan bows. The most important found during the colonial period were the Luandan hungu and the embulumbumba of south-western Angola, brought as part of the slave trade.

The player holds a stick and a small wicker basket rattle, called caxixi in Bahia, in his right hand and percusses the string with the stick. In his left hand he holds the bow and occasionally applies a metal coin to the string; the coin serves as a bridge, giving a second fundamental pitch perhaps a semi-tone or a whole tone above that produced from the open string. It is often played held against a naked body, specifically in ...

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