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:
What is a musical bow?
Although the berimbau is a well-known instrument in Brazil, most people in the United States are not familiar with its elegant beauty and simplicity. And people remain largely unaware of the diverse family of instruments to which the berimbau belongs. Musical bows are the most popular and widespread traditional string instrument found throughout sub-saharan Africa, and the berimbau made its way to Brazil via the transatlantic slave trade. The berimbau’s closest relatives are found in southern Africa in the Portuguese speaking countries of Angola and Mozambique, as well as in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and just about every other country in the region. In Brazil, the pain and suffering of the enslaved African in the new world is deeply connected to the soul of the berimbau. Specifically in the practice of the body game known as capoeira, the berimbau is celebrated and honored as an icon of resistance against oppression. Furthermore, in the hands of inspired musicians such as Naná Vasconcelos (1944-2016) and Ramiro Musotto (1963-2009), the berimbau became 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.
Although well-known in Brazil, most Americans are not familiar with the musical bow’s elegant simplicity. Musical bows are the most popular and widespread traditional string instrument found throughout sub-saharan Africa. Due to the transatlantic slave trade, African slaves carried the idea of their beloved musical bow to Brazil. There, the berimbau is a symbol of resistance to oppression. Both in Brazil and in the US, Arcomusical is hard at work reimagining what the instrument can do. 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.”