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Oct 24

Sim sim sim não não não

Sim sim sim não não não is one of the first songs most capoeiristas learn.

Click here to check out the "basic" lyrics, which talk about the Brazilian folk hero Lampião.

But this song is also a great one to improvise in. Check out this version by Mestre Cobra Mansa, which has a different message:

O sim sim sim O não não não

Mas foi você que me falou

Que acabou a escravidão

O sim sim sim O não não não

Que o negro já é livre

Que já tem libertação

O sim sim sim O não não não

Mas tudo isso é conversa

Eu não acredito não

O sim sim sim O não não não

Que uma princesa boazinha

Foi quem deu libertação

O sim sim sim O não não não

Eu vi Zumbi lá no quilombo

Lutando por libertação

O sim sim sim O não não não

Se você dizer que sim

Eu vou lhe dizer que não

O sim sim sim O não não não

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

But it was you who told me

That slavery has ended

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

That the black man is already free

That he already has liberty

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

But all this is just talk

I don’t believe it, no

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

That a nice princess

Was the one who gave freedom

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

I saw Zumbi* there in the quilombo**

Fighting for freedom

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

If you say yes

I will tell you no

Oh yes yes yes, oh no no no

 

* Zumbi was a 17th-century freedom fighter.
Read more: Who was Zumbi?

** Quilombos were self-sufficient communities formed by Africans and Brazilian natives who escaped from slavery.

Princes Isabel - Around 1887

This version calls attention to conflicting accounts of history.

First, the view that "the black man is already free" - although Brazil is sometimes described as a "racial democracy" where everyone gets along, the truth is that racism and oppression are still rampant.

Second, there is the question of who gets the credit for the official abolition of slavery. The "nice princess" is Princess Isabel, who signed the Lei Áurea (Golden Law) that abolished slavery in Brazil in 1888. Although granting physical freedom, the law provided no reparations for the former slaves, and with no education or property (both had been prohibited under slavery), they struggled to survive.

Princess Isabel received honors from the Pope for having abolished slavery - however, this view of Princess Isabel as the "savior" of the slaves completely ignores the contributions of freedom fighters like Zumbi, the leader of a free African settlement, who defended the community against multiple attacks by the Portuguese.

There was also the Revolta dos Malês in 1835 - the most significant slave uprising in Brazil, which was organized by African Muslims. Although the revolt was not immediately successful, it is considered the turning point of slavery in Brazil.

Revolta dos Malês - 1835

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