Off to a flying start!
Rio-born and Paris-based singer Flávia Coelho has a promising future ahead of her, as people in both Brazil and Europe become acquainted with her puerile and vigorous voice.
She quickly charmed and captivated audiences in her two performances at the legendary Ronnie Scotts in London this Monday and Tuesday. The young artist ensured that no one was left sitting down, gently veering from jazz to carnival beats. Audiences were moved by her mercurial and arresting performance, in a repertoire made up almost entirely of her own compositions.
Jungledrums’s Victor Fraga teamed up with the Brazilian portal Eleven Culture’s Lívia Rangel in order to bring you this exclusive interview, conducted shortly after the performance.
Lívia Rangel – Tell us your life history, what is it like leaving the Rio suburbs in order to live in Europe?
Flávia Coelho - It’s quite straight-forward. I started singing in Brazil at the age of 14, and I had already toured with several bands. I’ve always had a lot of styles and sounds in my head. Then comes a time when you need to change your life and your country. So I backpacked and came to Europe. Work and music did the rest for me.
LR – Ragga, ska and hip hop beats, as well as your own compositions, shape up your first album ‘Bossa Muffin’ (2011). Did you make any special preparations for your concerts at Ronnie Scotts, one of the most traditional jazz houses in the world?
FC - The album was released in France and I was very lucky. Critics were very positive from the very beginning. I’ve been with my band for two years, and we have performed more than 200 times in various countries. The invitation to perform at Ronnie Scott’s fit us like a glove – we called it “la grande finale de la tournée”.
LR – You talk about the suburb problems in your songs, such as the overcrowding of the prison system and lack of welfare state. Most Brazilian artists right now are singing about passion and unrequited love. Was this intentional? Do you consider yourself a socially engaged singer?
FC – I write songs about what I see and what I feel. I grew up in various neighbourhoods and favelas, and so my lyrics feature all sorts of social problems. But it’s not intentional. That’s just the way it comes out. I am also very fond of music about passion and unrequited love. Did you forget that I am a Brazilian singer?
Victor Fraga – you were born in Rio to parents from the Northeastern states of Ceará and Maranhão. Is it possible to be carioca and nordestina at once?
FC – Everything is possible in Brazil!
VF – You have performed in various European countries, including the UK and France. How have people welcomed you in these places?
FC - Smashing! People everywhere seem to understand that good music is our priority. They simply love it!
LR – What about Brazil? Are you planning to tour there?
FC - I am just waiting for the invitation! I dream of a Brazilian tour, with my closest friends, and near my family.
LR – Where can people buy or download your album ‘Bossa Muffin’ and follow your latest steps?
FC – Just get in touch with our UK label Harmonia Mundi.
VF – Is it true that you are Elza Soares’s granddaughter?
FC – I wish! But sadly we don’t share the same DNA. It would be fabulous if it was true!
Watch below Flávia Coelho’s Parano: