Volta Miúda

Mestre Jamaika founded the Volta Miúda capoeira group in 2009.

Volta Miúda is a quilombo (a community originating from a slave settlement) in a small, rural corner of Bahia, Brazil, the birthplace of capoeira. This quilombo emerged from an area called Helvécia, founded in the late 1700’s. The thriving region produced coffee with 40 fazendas (farms) and was home to 2,000 African-Brazilians and 200 white settlers (mostly Swiss with some French and Brazilians). Legend tells that the abolition of slavery in Brazil took one year to get to the region, as it is so hidden from the rest of the world. When the slaves discovered, they kicked their oppressors out.

Volta Miúda is an officially registered quilombo by the state of Bahia, and continues to thrive with the fusion of African and Brazilian culture. Mestre Jamaika comes from this quilombo and its deep Afro-Brazilian roots and tradition that are entwined with capoeira’s.

The literal meaning of Volta Miúda is something like “small around”—just like the capoeira roda. The roda is like a small world and what we learn there can help us in the big world. If you fall in the roda of capoeira you have to keep going because the game never stops. It’s just like life; if you fall in life you have to stand up because life won’t wait for you. When we learn how to bring respect and positivity to the roda we bring that to the world. And just like the brave people of Volta Miúda who overcame oppression, our Volta Miúda group represents the power we can all have to overcome our own challenges while still celebrating life and the axé it brings even through suffering—especially when friends and family unite. Salve Volta Miúda!

—Mestre Jamaika

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2. Comunidades Negras Rurais Quilombolas – Bahia, 2005. Projeto GeografAR. A Geografia dos Assentamentos na Área Rural. Universitário de Ondina. Instituto de Geociências.
3. Ferreira, Fernanda. “The African Contribution to Brazilian Portuguese: To what extent did the speech of slaves influence the mother tongue?”
4. Lipski, John. “Afro-Bolivian Spanish and Helvecia Portuguese: Semi-creole parallels.” Pennsylvania State University. Bridgewater Review Bridgewater State College. Volume 21 Number 2 December 2002.
5. Rubin, Débora. “This Brazilian Has a Knack to Find Art…” Brazilian Magazine. November, 2007.