Flavia Coelho, new album DNA (The label / [PIAS]) concert on October 29, 2019, Paris at La Cigale.
“I never felt so good in life“, she announces with her irresistible smile. Flavia Coelho is living at its best, both personally and artistically. Witness his fourth album, DNA. A title as short as it means.
Everything comes from the roots, Flavia knows it. She was born in Brazil, from immigrant parents from Nordeste. He is black, she is white. They separate, she stays with her mother, makeup artist and hairdresser. Fan of Nina Hagen and American pop, she works in a cabaret and often takes her daughter there. Little Flavia spends her nights in boudoirs, near the spotlight, surrounded by extravagant personalities. When she was only 11 years old, her mother died prematurely. Flavia then leaves to live in Rio de Janeiro, at her father’s. He also loves music, but does not want his daughter to sing. She’ll do it anyway – Flavia already knows what she wants and has a character soaked in steel.
At the age of 14, she went on a secret cast to join a traditional samba group. Banco, she is restrained. The following years, she spent them in several formations, skimming the balls and Brazilian scenes. Time flies when you work a lot, even if you are sometimes only paid for popcorns and soda … In the early 2000s, Flavia stayed in France with a group of Brazilian carnivals. Love at first sight for the city, cultural center par excellence, is immediate. Once back, the young woman thinks of that, every day. In 2006, she couldn’t take it anymore and flew to Paris, with a backpack and 200 euros in her pocket.
She sings in the metro, in the street, in front of the cafe terraces, with a feeling of euphoric freedom that never leaves her. The only view of the Eiffel Tower, from the window of his tiny maid’s room in the 7e, is enough to motivate her. “I had to go there to understand myself, to know where I come from“, she remembers. She then gets a job at Trois Mailletz, rue Galande, where she performs whole nights. It is there that she meets the musician and producer Victor Vagh-Weinmann. They meet around the same musical curiosity, a constant search for novelty. Mix pop, samba, reggae, forro, bossa and hip hop? Anything is possible for Flavia, who wants to get away from the misogynistic and sexual music to which we could have locked her in Brazil.
His first album, Bossa Muffin (2011), was a critical and public success. We love his audacity in the studio as on stage, his tireless energy: “My diploma was this record. We understood my sincerity … I am not a diva : my voice, I put it above all at the service of music“, comments Flavia, who remembers her dreams of the time:”Growing up, leaving Brazilian patriarchal society, knowing how to say no. Know what I owned“. Mission accomplished. The following two albums, Mundo Meu (2014, including the intervention of the legendary drummer Tony Allen) and Sonho Real (2016) receive the same warm welcome. Flavia also enjoys bonding with other artists. Among the most recent, Gaël Faye, who invited her on “Brazilian Ballad” in 2018. Flavia fills an Olympia, spins everywhere, from Africa to Canada through Europe. On each tour, this Carioca in the soul brings with it different sounds, colors, desires.
These distant horizons have nurtured DNA – the most personal and universal album by Flavia Coelho. Recorded between the Latin Quarter and the Var, the two studios of Victor Vagh-Weinmann, it shines through its musical hybridism. The baile funk crosses the trap and Caribbean music, cumbia is reinvented, hip hop marries reggae, the Paris Chamber Orchestra goes around … All carried by an impressive pop will. “Popular music is the people, and I’m a woman of the people“, summarizes Flavia. Here, she confirms her visceral commitment to melodies as catchy as the rhythms.”It’s very South American to sing very dark things over festive music “, she recalls.
So on Levanta Dai (“Stand up”), she shares her awareness of the world and, referring to Venezuela as to Brazil, the importance she places on empathy. Citade Perdida (“Lost City”) denounces the corruption of Rio. This song required hundreds of takes as he cared about Flavia, who directly experienced these injustices: “I throw up what I see “, she sings. Libera, he evokes the courage it takes to face political disappointment and economic distress … The title track DNA offers a magnificent ode to tolerance. For Flavia who has long had the impression of “not belong anywhere “, to be too white, too Indian or too black, we have to accept the mixtures of our blood. With Billy django, she imagines a person who could finally counter the current politics of a schizophrenic Brazil. A person and not a man or a woman, she underlines: as she sings it in Menino Menina (“Boy Girl”), the freedoms of gender and sex are paramount. Violence against homosexuals or trans people, Flavia has witnessed it for many years, in the environment where her mother worked as well as in her immediate entourage. Nosso Amor (“Our love”) relates precisely the difficulty of the coming out and encourage those who may find it difficult to assume their loves, whatever they may be, out in the open.
Love, precisely, remains one of Flavia’s favorite themes. We hear it on Vem Chamegar (“Hug me”), where poetry awakens as much as feelings, No Baile (“At the funk ball”), which recounts the festive nights of fathers who have not forgotten to be men, De novo de novo (“Again and again”) who questions the concept of alter ego while Manda a Boa (“I will not take revenge”) returns to the notion of forgiveness: “if we get rid of bad feelings, we can more easily be in solidarity with others “. It sounds vital when listening Página (“The page turns”), analyzing ingratitude or hypocrisy, sounding the death knell for a friendship.
Faced with the twists and turns of Brazilian political news, the words of the most French of Brazilian singers have been freed. And always in Portuguese, his mother tongue. Increasingly sought after when we know, recalls Flavia, that Madonna uses it on her latest album! A new chapter opens with DNA. This is also evidenced by the photograph of his cover shot by Youri Lenquette, known to have drawn the portrait of Kurt Cobain shortly before his death. It shows a smiling, natural singer, out of touch, a woman who looks more like never before, while talking to all. Viva Flavia!
→ Video Flavia Coelho DNA
→ Flavia Coelho, RFI Musique portrait
→ Eliasse EP Amani Way / M’a Prod / Soulbeats Rd
Necklace of strong songs, this blues rock album is masterfully conducted by Eliasse (vocals, guitar, merlin), Jérémy Ortal (bass; Shaolin Temple Defenders, Martha High) and Fred Girard (drums; Sleeppers, Afrobeat Crusaders). It also includes an exclusive featuring with Toure Kunda and the reunion group of nomadic maloya Saodaj ‘. Eliasse There, he approaches the complicated situation of the archipelago from different angles, its endemic ailments and its tragedies such as the drowning of candidates for kwassas, these makeshift boats used by the “illegals”. And in doing so his “Twara Blues” stands up against the inevitability of those responsible for the contracts, wishing that everyone sweeps outside his door and hoping for a better collective future.
→ Eliasse “Amani Way” video
→ Eliasse, RFI Musique portrait
(October 27, 2019 replay).