A rattle made of woven straw, with pebbles, seeds, or small seashells inside. It is of African origin, and is also used in candomblé. In capoeira, the caxixi accompanies the berimbau; it is held by the third and fourth fingers of the berimbau player’s right hand.
The folk people write that in the olden days they were called mucaxixi (this is similar to a Bantu prefix in front of onomatopoeia). It’s almost always held in the hand of the berimbau players; we can hear an independent caxixi being played and the berimbau without caxixi in old Capoeira disks. When the musician is alone, and there is no one to respond to the call of the berimbau, the caxixi replaces a musical void, as a response to the berimbau. If there is a pandeiro or a second berimbau, the caxixi becomes superfluous and it can be used to show that the other instruments are not responding to the berimbau or that they are not completing enough the sound of the bateria.