The berimbau is a struck stringed instrument comprised of a single metallic string stretched across a wooden bow and a gourd that acts as a sounding board.
It is one of the most characteristic instruments of Brazilian popular music, and though rarely played, even in symphonic orchestras, its use is entirely associated with the practice of capoeira.
How does it work?
To play it, an instrumentalist strikes the string with a wooden stick and may use a shaker (caxixi) to compliment the sound produced by the berimbau..
A bit of history ...
Foreign travelers throughout the nineteenth centrury noted the berimbau's usage by Brazilians on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, as can be seen in the prints of Chamberlain and Debret.
A Market stall - Chamberlain (19th century)