Arcomusical is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to spread the joy of the Afro-Brazilian musical bow known as the berimbau through the development of innovative and excellent musical repertoire. Six pillars support our mission: performance education composition publication research community
WHAT IS A MUSICAL BOW?
Although well-known in Brazil and found throughout sub-saharan Africa, most Americans are not familiar with the musical bow’s elegant simplicity. The Afro-Brazilian berimbau’s closest relatives are found in southern Africa in the Portuguese speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique. Close cousins exist in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and just about every other country in the region. Due to the transatlantic slave trade, enslaved Africans carried the idea of their beloved musical bow to Brazil where it became the berimbau. Developing a deep alliance with the body game of capoeira, the berimbau is now a symbol of resistance to oppression. The pain and suffering of enslaved Africans is deeply connected to the berimbau’s soul. Furthermore, in the hands of inspired musicians such as Naná Vasconcelos (1944-2016) and Ramiro Musotto (1963-2009), the berimbau has also become the central vehicle for the creative exploration of new musical frontiers. Today, Arcomusical honors both the tradition and the innovation of the berimbau’s past in every activity that supports the mission to spread the instrument’s message of joy and hope well into the future.
Both in Brazil and in the US, Arcomusical is hard at work reimagining what the instrument can do and critically, Arcomusical believes that Black Lives Matter. For according to Asa Philip Randolph:
“Maybe our forefathers and mothers all came to this great land in different ships, but we are all in the same boat now. We all live in the same house. The American house.”