Ubirajara (Bira) Guimarães Almeida (born 1943), better known as Mestre Acordeon, is a native of Salvador, Bahia , brazil.
His international reputation as a respected teacher, performer, musician, organizer, and author is built upon fifty years of active practice, as well as research into the origins, traditions, political connotations, and contemporary trends of Capoeira. Mestre Acordeon has travelled extensively promoting Capoeira outside Brazil.
Acordeon was a student of the legendary Mestre Bimba in the late 1950s and began teaching Capoeira in the early 1960s. He founded the Grupo folclorico da Bahia in 1966 that performed the show Vem Camará: Histórias de Capoeira in the Teatro Jovem in Rio de Janeiro. The show presented an approach to Capoeira that influenced a new generation of young capoeiristas and affirmed the concept of grupo de capoeira and today’s capoeira regional.
Mestre Acordeon maintains the United Capoeira Association (UCA) with several associated schools. He also has created the Capoeira Arts Foundation in Berkeley, California which sponsors UCA and Projeto Kirimurê, a social program for children in the neighborhood of Itapoã in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.
Acordeon has recorded 9 CDs, produced 3 DVDs, and is the author of magazine articles and books about Capoeira, including Agua de Beber, Camará: A bate Papo de Capoeira, and the Capoeira Arts Café: An Academia de Capoeira. His book Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form, was the first Capoeira book in English. He has received honors in support of his practice, teaching, and research of Capoeira. Among them, in the Fall of 1994, he became the first “artist” to receive the Tinker Visiting Professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2008, in recognition of his thirty years of continuous work in the West Coast, the City of Berkeley proclaimed October 18 as Mestre Acordeon Day.
Mestre Acordeon still spends much of his time traveling the world to teach Capoeira. Each year thousands of Capoeira students in all the world travel long distances to get a chance to learn from him.