I became inspired to learn the craft of making berimbaus in the early 90’s after learning about the work of the late great Mestre Waldemar da Liberdade who originally popularized the now famous multi-colored spiral-painted berimbaus in the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Mestre Waldemar was the mestre of my first Capoeira instructor and stories about him left a lasting impression on my imagination. Unfortunately Mestre Waldemar passed away the same year I began learning Capoeira (1989) so I never had a chance to meet him.
Visiting Bahia in 1991 I was fortunate enough to have a chance to first learn berimbau crafting from Mestre Lua Rasta who let me hang out in his shop, and from him I purchased my first berimbau. I also had my first music lessons in the academy of Mestre Joao Pequeno where I was taking lessons in Capoeira Angola during my stay in Bahia. Upon my return to the USA I became obsessed with experimenting with native materials in order to recreate berimbaus equal to those I found in Brazil. After much trial and error I have developed a great instrument!
Over the years I continued to learn to master the craft under the tutelage of Mestre No and many others who have generously shared their knowledge and tips with me. Now, decades since my first fanatical steps on the path, I continue to perfect my craft and my berimbaus have found their way into the hands of musicians and capoeira stylists all across the globe.
Additionally I have endeavored to study primitive archery and reconnect the berimbau to its roots in traditional African archery where hunters will often play music with their bows around a campfire during a hunt, or in villages where mothers might play the bow and sing lullabies to their children. The musical bow, of which the Brazilian berimbau is one form, is an awesome. ancient, and truly inspiring instrument.