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Mestre Amen & Capoeira Batuque
Joselito Do Espírito Santo aka Mestre Amen Santo was born and raised in Salvador Bahia Brazil, in the neighborhood of Liberdade. This historical area holds one of the largest African Brazilian population in the city of Salavador. Just to show the magnitude of this place, in 1823 Liberdade was occupied by troops that fought Brazil’s independence from the Portuguese. Also, Liberdade became famous because of the Capoeira Rodas and academy of Mestre Waldemar. His Capoeira journey began at the age of 7 when he was walking to the famous market, Aguinelo, with his mom. This neighborhood market was a traditional gathering for many famous Capoeiristas and it was where Mestre Waldemar held regular Rodas. As he was watching skillful Capoeiristas play, Mestre Waldermar suddenly picked him up and started playing with him in the Roda. Thus, his journey began…he started making Berimbau’s with Mestre Waldemar who lived a few streets down from their house. Mestre Amen also studied with Mestre Avila (who he named his first son after) and Mestre Alfredo.
He had the privilege of learning from and playing some of the greatest OG Mestre’s around Salvador at that time. He then went on to Viva Bahia dance company under the leadership of Emilia Biancardi, and began traveling the world with the company. He then decided to take his chance and move to NYC and later Washington DC. Struggling with the cold weather, he drove cross country to settle in Los Angeles. He went on to start his group, Capoeira Batuque (originally Ginga Bahia) and stared in films such as Only The Strong & Kickboxer 4. Throughout the years, capoeira has been his vehicle to raise awareness, unite communities, bring art education to schools, and the list goes on. This year he is celebrating 30 years of his work in Southern California. Mestre Amen still teaches over 10 classes a week, 5 days a week at his sweet age of 54! He is committed to this art form as it has offered so many opportunities for him and his family in LA and in Brazil.