Flavia Coelho: Sonho Real

 

Perchance to Dream Without Sleep

Listening Post 101. She is innocent and wise, a nomad and a poet, an alchemist of styles whose music is more colorful than the sum of its parts. Flavia Coelho, a girl from the slums of Rio de Janeiro who sang in the Paris métro and emerged a star, had none of the resources but all the energy and talent she needed. On Sonho Real (Dream Come True), her third album, she mixes elements of forró, ska, reggae and dub, spins stream-of-consciousness images into stories and plows the untranslatable Portuguese saudade (melancholy, yearning, suspended between happy and sad) into good vibrations. In Paraiso (Paradise) her girlish-warm voice floats from “Daddy, sing me to sleep/Mommy’s in heaven” to “My ink is dry from so much writing/Pages, drafts of existence/Mine” (video 1). Her voice turns womanly/mature as she describes the people and props of Na Favela (In the Slum)—including a fortune-teller, unpaid debts and a husband who spends too much time drinking with his buddies (video 2). Nada Perdi (Nothing Lost) is Coelho’s recipe for making lemons into lemonade—“What I lived/I realize today/Healed the wound/That was in me” (video 3). Across 13 tracks in Portuguese she is carefree but driven, from the delightful world-without-borders romp Geral (Universal); to Se Ligue (Open Your Eyes), a frisky takedown of a condescending journalist; to Meu Cabelo (My Hair), about hairdressing over head shrinking as the answer to frustration. The coda, a nod to her adopted home, is Temontou (You Are My Everything), a love song in French (video 4). The irrepressible Flavia Coelho became the world traveling musician she dreamed of; she not only looked at life and refused to take “no” for an answer, she also generously shares her formula. (Le Label/PIAS)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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