Marcos da Silva, Mestre Barrão, was born in the port city of Recife, on the North East coast of Brazil. Recife is renowned for its Brazilian music and dance, and its long Capoeira tradition.
In 1974, Marcos began studying Capoeira with Mestre Pirajá. While learning the foundations of the art, he showed an affinity for the drums and other instruments as well as the skills that would conduct his life.
After three years of training with Mestre Pirajá, who eventually left on sabbatical, Marcos went on in 1977 to continue his training with Mestre Teté. Mestre Teté shared with him the ways of the Street Capoeirista. He learned about the variable situations of the street: how to be shrewd and clever when playing, how to read opponents, and how to judge situations that one invariably finds oneself in, both inside and outside of the Roda of Capoeira. In 1979, he began to enter Capoeira competitions throughout North East Brazil and in 1980, Marcos began to teach.