Closing Remarks for the Capoeira Festival 2013 presented by BENJAMIN FRANCISCO MUNIZ (Beijoca) in memory of Grão Mestre Camisa Roxa
“A FIGHTING BAHIANO WHO NEVER BACKS DOWN”
So describes EDVALDO CARNEIRO E SILVA - CAMISA ROXA. Wise, cautious (he personified the words of the departed MESTRE BIMBA – “When a capoeirista sleeps one eye must always stay open, watching everything around him), a man who kept his promise (“a man of his word”), valiant, courageous, in short, a good person, a distinguished capoeirista who dignified what it means to be a capoeirista and did so much for the art of capoeira around the world.
Grão-Mestre Camisa Roxa was born Edvaldo Carneiro da Silva in 1944 and spent his childhood on the Fazenda Estiva, a farm in the interior of Salvador, Bahia. He was the eldest of ten children, and he was greatly respected by his younger siblings, a number of whom followed in his footsteps in life and in capoeira.
As detailed by ACNYC:
When he was 10 years old, Grão-Mestre Camisa Roxa began to play capoeira. At the time, it was only one of the many games he played to entertain himself and to pass the long hours of childhood. He had no idea that, 19 years later, he would be a professional capoeirista and the first to carry his art outside of Brazil, first to Europe and then around the world.
Camisa Roxa first made his name as a capoeirista in Salvador, Bahia, as a student of Mestre Bimba. In the 1960s, he left his family ranch for the capital city in order to complete his high school education. In addition to his school work, he also began studying capoeira at Bimba’s Academy. He was an apt and hard working pupil, and eventually gained recognition as Bimba’s best student.
His talent and knowledge of capoeira became recognized throughout the community as he sought out other capoeiristas: playing in the rodas at Mestre Pastinha'sacademy and in the rodas of Mestres Valdemar and Traira on Pero Vaz Street, Camisa Roxa became very highly regarded.
When he was 21, Grão-Mestre Camisa Roxa's father died, and he became the patriarch of his family. He took on the responsibility of educating his brothers and sisters and providing for their general welfare. He became their second father, and was greatly admired by all. In fact, three of his brothers—Ermival, Pedrinho, and José Tadeu—followed in his footsteps, training capoeira with Mestre Bimba at his academy in Salvador. Like their brother, all three became alunos formados, graduates, of the Acadamia de Mestre Bimba.
Camisa Roxa eventually began teaching capoeira in a number of academies and clubs in Salvador. Inspired by the idea of spreading the practice of capoeira, Camisa Roxa helped form the folkloric dance company Olodum Maré, a travelling performance group to promote traditional arts, including capoeira, throughout Brazil. After completing a year-long tour of the country, the group planned a tour of Europe under the name "Brasil Tropical."
When the troupe embarked in 1973, “few people believed that his voyage would meet with success. Yet, trusting in his vision, his talent, and in the power of capoeira, Camisa Roxa made the journey and [he and the troupe were] very well received. That trip was the first step towards what has now become the internationalization of capoeira.” In Capoeira : A History of an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art Matthias Röhrig Assunção states, "Important for the diffusion of capoeira in Europe during the 1970s was Brazil Tropical, a company headed by the dancer and choreographer Domingos Campos and M. Camisa Roxa. Camisa Roxa, a student of M. Bimba, was at the time considered to be one of the best Regional players of Brazil." The Brasil Tropical troupe would become dedicated to promoting the art of capoeira throughout the world. Though the art remains firmly rooted in Brazil, it has been planted in 40 countries around the world, largely as a result of the travels and the work of Grão-Mestre Camisa Roxa.
Grão Mestre Camsa Roxa has lived the last years in Austria. He has coordinated centers of ABADÁ Capoeira in Europe and he has been the organizer for the ABADÁ Capoeira "Jogos Europeus". He died 18 April 2013 in Salvador (Brasil)