Listening to Flavia Coelho’s Caribbean-Brazilian-dance vibes online, you could be forgiven for leaving it as a summery backing track; it seems timid, almost hesitant.
On stage, her music is anything but. This is the way to do fusion: samba, bossa nova, forro with ragga beats and her strident rough-on-the-outside-smooth-on-the-inside voice wrapping it all together. I’m watching a proud collector showing off her treasured hoard of rhythms and tricks, the best of which is her hypnotising rapping (it’s not hard to love the sound of Brazilian Portuguese).
Her music is full of colour and laughing with (or at) life, edged with saudades, a sort of bittersweet homesickness. Bittersweet because ‘Eu não canso espero ver no que vai dar’ – I don’t get tired, I want to know what’s going on; you get the sense that she’s always on to the next thing, the next clever guitar riff, change of rhythm, always full of excitement at the next turn.
Armed with dramatic lighting and an endearing stage presence (making us laugh, listen, sing and – of course – dance), she puts on a masterful show. And it’s not often you hear an artist making the audience promise to stick around for twenty minutes at the end of the show so she can come say hi. Pura vida!