One of my sisters, who is an incredible trained vocalist, laughed when I told her I sang on the radio. She knows I wouldn’t consider myself a singer. No, I am not a Luther Vandross, Maxwell, Bruno Mars, or Ed Sheeran. I am a humble man who trains Capoeira and sings freedom songs.
Last week, I appeared on a local Caribbean radio show called Observer. The host, Janis Hough, invited me to the show to discuss a workshop I will host on February 23rd at the Sugar Ridge Resort in Antigua. When I agreed to come to the studio, I asked if it would be okay to bring my instrument. She said, “wonderful!”
At 7pm, I arrived at the radio station in St. John. I walked in with my berimbau in a carrying bag I bought during a trip to Brazil. After taking the elevator to the third floor and then walking up another set of stairs, I found the recording studio.
The show had begun, and Janis was playing a song from her playlist. After greeting Janis with a hug, I took a seat in a black leather seat on one side of a wooden table. We talked for a brief moment, and then I placed a pair of black stereo headphones over my ears.
The song ended that was playing when I sat down, and Janis told the audience that her guest had arrived. She didn’t introduce me but asked if I could introduce myself. As she forewarned me, she likes to see how people define themselves.
I did my best to capture how I identify. Speaking into the black microphone, I said my name is Vernon Lindsay, and I am a writer, Capoeirista or person who trains the African-Brazilian martial art called Capoeira, a husband, a father to three amazing children, and much more. No, I didn’t mention my work as a leadership coach, vlogger, or professor.
After discussing some of my background and the Capoeira workshop I will host later this week, I played a brief solo with my berimbau and sang a song. The berimbau is a percussion instrument that resembles a bow and arrow. You learn how to play it when you begin to train Capoeira.
For the past thirteen years, I have studied Capoeira’s movements, music, history, philosophies, and rituals. Despite my time in Capoeira, I wouldn’t consider myself a master. I am a recognized instructor with the United Capoeira Association of schools created by Mestre Acordeon, Mestra Suelly, and Mestre Rá. Given Capoeira’s history among oppressed groups in Brazil, I have learned songs about freedom, the beauty of Africa, and resistance.
I decided at the studio to sing a song written by Mestre Acordeon called “Berimbau de Ouro”. From my understanding, it’s a song that pays homage to a spiritual leader, Mãe Menininha do Gantois, and Capoeira in Salvador, Bahia Brazil. It’s one of my favorite songs by Mestre Acordeon, and it encourages me to continue training.
No, I don’t have the vocal range of the great late singer, Prince. I do have a passion for Capoeira and its ability to help create new communities. This week, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share Capoeira in Antigua.
Today, I want to encourage you to explore the depths of your hobbies. Capoeira started as a hobby for me and then it developed into something far more valuable over time. I didn’t know how to do many of the things I can do with my body today before I started to train Capoeira. Without a doubt, investing resources in a hobby can bring out talents you didn’t know existed inside you.
If you have interests in Capoeira and live in Antigua, I want to see you on February 23rd at Sugar Ridge’s The Shed for the introduction workshop at 10am. If you’re unavailable, explore this affordable self-paced beginner’s course available online.
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