Flavia Coelho is a fascinating Brazilian singer who delivers an effortless mix of samba, bossa nova, Brazilian rap, reggae and ragga with a quirky, playful confidence and attitude. Her joyous, almost irreverent approach underlies her worldly adventurous spirit.
But it’s no wonder. The daughter of a hairdresser for drag queens, Flavia discovered her voice by singing the songs of Diana Ross, Nina Hagen and the divas of Brazilian pop such as Gal Costa with a homemade echo chamber - a bucket on her head. Just as her father collected cassettes of traditional music of the Nordeste, as a young girl Flavia was full of the sound of Forro and the Repente music of the Brazilian griots. Yet growing up and hanging out amidst the gangs and crime of the Rio favelas, she would cross the breadth of the city to sing in bars working relentlessly on her voice in styles that went far beyond the rhythms of her home country; from grunge to punk, rock to jazz, rap to pop.
In 2006, Flavia left Rio for Paris where she now resides. There she would record her debut album, Bossa Muffin, a glorious collection of songs, which, commented the Guardian, was ‘one of the most joyful, easygoing fusion sets of the year… a rhythmic clash of Brazilian and Caribbean styles … slinky melodies and bursts of rapid-fire hip-hop’. And as the Brazilian Post noted, Flavia offers “a bold style that provides a relevant soundtrack to the new Brazil“. Released in 2012, Bossa Muffin made a huge impact earning her a legion of fans that warmed to her voice that channelled the spirit of world music legend Manu Chao. Following a storming headline performance at Womad - which saw a 15,000 strong crowd dance to her infectious sounds – she went on to tour relentlessly, open for legend Gilberto Gil, receive the Golden Women Music Breakthrough prize and in 2013, performed two sold out shows at London’s Ronnie Scott’s.