Flavia Coelho with Cheikh Lo

CelticConnections

O2 ABC, Glasgow

Jan 28

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Flavia started off her set after fifteen minutes of darkened quiet; her support band; Cheikh Lo, were loud, colourful, and upbeat. The change of tempo and fusion of style filled the room with a lively vibe. African lyrics added to the multicultural theme bringing a sense of long distance culture with it. Energy began to run through the audience who gathered their attention towards the stage.

Flavia sang in Portuguese but spoke English to talk to her audience. Being born in Brazil her salsa influence infused her music, dancing style, as Flavia herself so aptly commented “…life that is in front of us…” that was her evening;  straight ahead, look to the positive, think good thoughts let’s do it through music. Honesty gained momentum during the show, and proving her to be a vibrant human being, in the interests of entertaining and truly loving it. The music had an element of South American spirit that lives for joy and endures hardship. She is an entertainer playing her cutting edge music, drawing inspiration from acts like Manu Chao who was a major influence on her music and style and even personal attitude.

Her style has attracted other great artists such as Arrested development’s drummer Tony Allen, who made a guest appearance with Coelho in her “Mundo Meu” tour. This merging music as expressed on her “Bossa Muffin” includes a great many styles and she was unafraid to try them all; including reggae, raga and Caribbean. Based at the moment in France her music takes her around the globe. Employing her traditional skills of song writing, blending an almost free form jazz like fast pace with   quick interactions between her and her musicians. Among the revelling mixture of people there some fans who knew her songs well to novices out for an evening at a Celtic connections gig.

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Cheikh Lo

The energy soared higher as it blended between stage and audience who were compelled to move and dance. Indeed an elderly lady sitting next to me who was just out to take in some culture stood up and started jiving to the tunes. Flavia sang with a huge smile and sprang to life with every moment, her hair bouncing livening up the crowd which in turn responding with whoops and cheers.

The music of the four artists comprised a tight quick fire round of song after song, moving very fast distinguishing each note in a flourish. The rapid and inviting pace left not a single foot still and saw everybody swaying to the sound. Flavia consciously seeks to confront the boundaries in musical genre and fuse traditional with contemporary music. Her remarkable background had her absorbing many cultures into her music that evolved into what we witnessed on Thursday at the ABC. All in all a brilliant and endearing performance breaking musical and cultural barriers down throughout her show.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

4

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