Sergio Souza de Oliveira, better known as Mestre Nagô, is one of the very few capoeira masters conforming to the standards of ABADÁ-Capoeira. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Mestre Nagô began to play capoeira at the age of 14 with friends from the neighborhood. Street rodas around the city were abundant for the boys, and Mestre Nagô was always ready to go play.
When he was 17 years old, Mestre Nagô overheard a friend talking at a street roda in Rio about traveling the world performing capoeira. Inspired by the idea of traveling to unfamiliar places, Mestre Nagô started to see capoeira as more than just a form of self-defense or a way to have a good time. That same friend also later invited him to a batizado where Mestre Camisa mesmerized the audience with his skills, and Mestre Nagô instantly felt he had found where he belonged.
In 1978, at the age of 22, he started training with Mestre Camisa at the Regatta Guanabara Club in Rio de Janeiro and soon came to be known as Nagô. In a span of two months Mestre Nagô received his blue cord, the rank of aluno graduado, from Mestre Camisa, and he soon decided to pursue capoeira as a career. He quit his job as a metal worker and became a full time professional capoeirista.
Trainings, batizados, street rodas with legendary capoeiristas from Rio de Janeiro and performances around the country were priorities for Nagô, Camisa, and alunos formados Claudio Moreno, Arara, and Mula. In 1982 Mestre Nagô made his first oversea travel to Montreal, Canada with Mestre Camisa Roxa’s Brasil Tropical performance company, the first of many trips Mestre Nagô had once dreamt about. In 1984 Mestre Nagô received the rank of Mestrando, the 3rd to highest rank an ABADÁ-Capoeira member could achieve.
The discipline, character, experience and wisdom Nagô gained throughout the years turned him into a master in the art, and in August 2001, after 23 years of training, ABADÁ-Capoeira recognized him as the second member to receive the title of Mestre. During that same year, Mestre Nagô opened his own capoeira academy in his beloved neighborhood of Nova Iguaçu in Rio de Janeiro.Throughout the years Mestre Nagô has visited more than 20 countries—including Angola, Germany, Japan, Austria, and the United States—for guest events and teaching workshops. Recently,Mestre Nagô received a prestigious award from the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he was praised, along with other distinguished figures of the city, for his work in the community.