Capoeira Reading List

First published Dec 2014
Last Updated 11 Dec 2023

Capoeira Reading List

Below is a list of Capoeira books & papers I have read. There are 100s of books about Capoeira out there. Here’s a comprehensive list by Dr. Sara Delamont (Cardiff University).

* Capoeira Angola – Mestre Pastinha (PDF)
* A Herança de Mestre Pastinha PDF
* The Heritage of Pastinha (English) PDF
* Mestre Pastinha Manuscritos 1
* Mestre Pastinha Manuscritos 2

* A Herança de Mestre Bimba PDF
* The Heritage of Bimba (English) PDF

* A alegria da Capoeira PDF – Canjiquinha
* The Joy of Capoeira (English) PDF – Canjiquinha

* Mestre Traira CD + Historia

* Capoeira A Brazilian Art Form – Bira de Almeida (Mestre Acordeon) (Blue Snake Books – 1986)

* The Little Capoeira Book – Nestor Capoeira (Blue Snake Books – 1995)

* Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game – Nestor Capoeira. I read this after ‘The Little Capoeira Book’. There’s a third book written by him as part of the trilogy but I can’t find it at an affordable price…

* A negregada instituição – Os Capoeiras no Rio de Janeiro 1850-1890 – Carlos Eugenio Libano Soares.

* Capoeira and Candomble – Floyd Merrell (Markus Wiener Publisher – 2005)

* Mysticism in Capoeira – amongst other things, explains the meaning of various capoeira songs. I don’t know who wrote this originally, but it was translated to English by Shayna McHugh, 2005

* A Roda do mundo Post-graduate social anthropology paper – Celso de Brito (2010)

Capoeira, a philosophy of the body extract by Camille Marc Dumoulié

* Nagé, o homen que lutou Capoeira até morrer – Frede Abreu (Barabô Editora – 2017)
Beautiful book about Nagé’s life and death and Capoeira history. I managed to buy it from a Capoeira Shop, at an eye watering price of £70. It costs even more now (June 2020)!!!

* É preta Kalungá – A Capoeira Angola como Prática da Política entre os Angoleiros Baianos – Anos 80-90 – Rosangêla Costa Araújo (Mestra Janja) – (Fundação Gregório de Mattos – 2015)

* Vivências e fundamentos de um mestre de capoeira – Mestre Brasilia (Editora Matrix – 2008)

* Historia, Cantoria e versos – Mestre Roxinho (Ecamar – 2011)

* As Asas do Mestre – Mestre Ousado – Biography of one of the pioneers of Capoeira in London. (Luiz Renato Vieira UNB – 2011)

* Capoeira: The Essential Guide to Mastering the Art – Ponciano Almeida

* Capoeira Conditioning – How to build strength, agility and cardiovascular fitness using capoeira movements – Gerard Taylor (Blue Snake Books – 2005)

* The Capoeira Guidebook: Investigations into the Culture, History, and Philosophy of the Afro-Brazilian Art, Evan Wedsworth – a concise guide in English that gives a good overview of Capoeira and its history. (Self published – 2016).

* Tributo ás Mestras – Mestre Maxwell (Ile Foundation – 2019)
External resources

* Dr. Sara Delamont’s team Capoeira research resouces

* Digital archive in Portuguese: Capoeira Nomade Acervo Digital

* Open Capoeira Blog Book Collection

* Not a book, but a must read! CapoeiraGens – Capoeira Genealogy tree of well known mestres. Mestre’s Poncianinho’s

Mestre Poncianinho's genealogy tree

2 thoughts on “Capoeira Reading List”

  1. Hi Lele, I like your blog a lot. The article on Mestre Moa’s murder is powerful, and raises some troubling questions about this election. This comment is a little bit of self-promotion: I wrote and self-published a small book on capoeira that you might like. It’s intended to give some context to anyone interested in capoeira’s culture, especially Western folks who don’t speak much Portuguese. Check it out if you’re interested.

    • Hi Evan, I hadn’t seen this comment! Had a look at the book on Amazon, I have ordered it for my own personal library, it’s actually fairly priced too (some of the books are exceedingly expensive, sadly), I guess because it’s self-published. I really enjoyed the writing style so I’m adding to my list.


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