A string, a stick, a gourd and a stone are all it takes to make a berimbau, the traditional instrument of Brazil.  

The string attaches to the stick like a bow, which is attached at the bottom to a gourd which acts as a resonator. The string is struck with a small stick and a small stone is pressed against the string to vary the sound. The gourd can also be moved back and forth from the player's abdomen to adjust the sound. The result is a bouncy wah-wah sound with a pronounced rhythm.

Paulo Albuquerque, or Mestre Indio as he's known, truly is a master of the berimbau. He said the instrument originated in Africa, where it was used to herd cows. It came to Brazil with the African slaves.

Paulo Albuquerque, aka Mestre Indio

Mestre Indio plays the berimbau as well as all manner of percussion. (Dr. Tse Li Luk)

Brazilian-born Indio has been in Winnipeg for 11 years and teaches berimbau, all manner of percussion, as well as the highly athletic tradition of capoeira.

He calls capoeira an art form. "'Capo' means 'together,' so it combines different elements like dance, martial arts, self defence and just play. You can also practice against the masters to get the freedom from them," he explained, referring to the instrument's origins.

"We never say we fight. We say we play, it's a game. It's a strategy."

Capoeira and the berimbau go hand-in-hand, with the capoeira performer following the changing rhythms of the berimbau.

"People connect berimbau with capoeira. It's like the ball with the soccer, same idea," he said, laughing.

The Alo! Brasil Pavilion is held at the Bronx Community Centre, 720 Henderson Hwy. and runs until August 16.