Just as a good capoeirista must have a strong foundation, so should the heart and soul of capoeira, the Berimbau; and while all parts of this sacred instrument are important, the biriba is a crucial and foundational piece that provides the structure and shape necessary for the right sounds to come out during a roda.
Scientifically known as Rollinia mucosa, the biriba is native to various regions of the world, such as the Antilles, Central America, and northern South America, as well as some regions of the tropics. The biriba tree is a medium sized tree, growing to about 30 feet (or 9 meters) tall. It is usually grown from seeds, but those who are experiences in growing this type of tree might also graft it onto rootstocks of Annona Montana (another type of tree) to dwarf its growth. Biriba also grows best under lots of sun in the acidic soil of the wet tropics.
There are over 65 Rollinia species in the world, but it is the Rollinia mucosa species has been specifically used for ages by capoeiristas and music afficionados alike to create the perfect foundation for a great berimbau.