One of the most exciting and innovative guitar players performing today is Brazil's Badi Assad. A virtuoso whose technical ability never overshadows the visceral impact of her playing, Assad, is, quite simply, a wonder to behold.
Born in Sao Joao da Boa Vista, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Badi began studying guitar at the age of fourteen under the tutelage of her father, Jorge, and her brothers Sergio and Odair-the world-renown Duo Assad. As a singer, Badi was chiefly inspired by the talent of her mother, Angelina Assad.
In 1984, Badi won the Concurso Jovens Instrumentistas in Rio de Janeiro. She went on to study guitar at the conservatory in Rio in 1985. Soon, however, Badi found herself at an artistic crossroads: "Since I was a child," she explains, "I had listened to many kinds of music and I wanted to play new sounds, not limiting myself to the classical guitar repertoire or even to the guitar anymore. But the new sounds also had to be interesting and beautiful, not dry or academic."
For the next six months, Badi locked herself in her room and began experimenting with her voice, with mouth percussion, and with guitar and body percussion while maintaining her virtuoso guitar technique to create a new sound which would later be embraced by fans and writers alike. Raves Guitar Player: "Her snappy lines, fresh harmonies, fluid rhythms, and sensual voice blend seamlessly to create a unique sound that transcends musical categories. Arresting, invigorating, entrancing."
Badi went on to write Antagonismus in 1988, a solo work where she performed as guitarist, singer, actress and dancer. 1989 saw the release of Danca dos Tons, her first record. In the next few years, Badi performed in numerous important festivals with artists such as Hermeno Pascoal, Milton Nacimento, Pat Metheny, Francoise-Emmanuelle Denis, Mike Stern, Dori Caymmi, the Duo Assad and others. in 1994, she released her first CD with Chesky Records, Solo (JD99), which quickly launched her career worldwide. Her follow-up, Rhythms (JD137), was a tremendous success, garnering a "Best Classical Guitar Album" nod from the readers of Guitar Player, "Best Classical Guitarist" from Acoustic Guitar, and scores of other accolades. Badi has been featured numerous times on NPR, appeared on television, and brought her music to fans at festivals and concerts around the globe.
On her third Chesky release, Echoes of Brazil (JD154), Badi paid homage to the trend-setting and boundary-breaking guitarists who influenced and shaped her style. Echoes is a historical anthology that illustrates the trajectory of rich hues and nuances that the guitar, the primary compositional instrument of Brazilian music, has affected in Brazilian culture. A diverse and beautiful collection of Brazilian songs, Echoes of Brazil is both a glimpse into Brazil's musical past, and a look into its future: Badi Assad.
"Although I've enjoyed many of their releases immensely over the years, and have applauded their efforts to constantly improve the state of the recording art (well, how could you not?), it took this excellent music sampler to impress upon me just how rich and varied the label's offerings have gotten to be...Every cut is superb, and the level of artistry from this cross section of past and present Chesky releases is consistently wonderful... breathtakingly beautiful... Among the many other highlights of this exceptional collection: a group called I Ching is featured on two haunting, brooding pieces that defy categorization...The incandescent percussionist Babtunde Olatunji is heard on "Bebi Alolo," a riveting selection from his Love Drum Talk disc that flipped me out a few months back. Rebecca Pidgeon contributes "Fhear a Bhata"... and her rendition is exquisite, gorgeous...a sound I have never heard anywhere on planet Earth-and which I find thrilling." - Frank Doris, FI October '98
"Best Classical Guitar Album of 1996...Rhythms is technically stupefying and drop-dead beautiful." - Guitar Player
"Recording of the Month [September 1996]... the best recording of an acoustic guitar I've heard this year... a class act." - Stereophile
"A musician quite literally redefining the range and the extent of what a solo performer can do." - The Los Angeles Times
"...a classically trained guitarist whose improvisational playing simmers with the gutsy rhythms of Brazil's streets and favelas, a superb technician...one of a kind, a musician who is quite literally redefining the range and the extent of what a solo performer can do...Assad is an extraordinary artist who deserves the opportunity for wide, extensive hearing." - Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times, January 21, 1997
"Assad is a solid musician and an inspired and quite physical performer, and by all counts her infectious energy should be evident on the upcoming release, her third for Chesky. Watch for it." - Michael Mikesell, The Tracking Angle, Winter 1997
"Once in a blue moon, among all the records that flood GP's offices, an album surfaces to garner unanimous praise from the staff. The new record by Brazil's Badi (pronounced Bah-jee) Assad stopped us in our tracks. A gifted player, singer, and musical spirit. She brings a smile to even the crustiest critics...jazz and flamenco guitar resonate in her extraordinary playing. Arresting, invigorating and entrancing." - Guitar Player
"Brazil's musical depth and breadth is endlessly amazing, as Badi Assad, only the latest in a long line of impressive musical brasilieras, enchants us with her classical/pop convergence on guitar. It's simple, daring and wonderfully surprising. The young artist sings, writes and plays ethereal, classically informed acoustic solos and duets with restrained percussionist Cyro Baptista...Chesky comes through with superb sonic presentation in 128x oversampling - no over dubs, no frills allowing Assad's accomplished guitar to sizzle, purr and explode." - Fred Bouchard, CD Review
"Badi, sister of Sergio from the Latin guitar duo Sergio and Odair Assad, continues the family tradition of mining the South American classical and folk music that the nylon string guitar has brought together...Most definitely no one in contemporary Brazilian music better shows how far the country's women artists have come from the days of the Carmen Miranda stereotype." - Jazz Now, February 1996
"Beautifully eclectic. That's the first description that comes to mind when thinking of Badi Assad's playing. Badi (pronounced ba-JEE) is a Brazilian guitarist in her late twenties, who is on the verge of international success. She has garnered acclaim from virtually everyone who has heard her play, despite her young age...Badi can arouse loneliness and sadness with her ballads, or astonishment at her unique guitar/percussion/vocal style, or respect from her fleet fingers...While many classical guitarists of prodigious technique sound sterile and uninspired, Badi breaks the stereotype with her endlessly creative and passionate playing...Badi's style is definitely a mixture of Brazilian, classical, and jazz; a mixture referred to in her homeland as jazz brasileiro...Chesky Records, which specializes in this style of music, immediately focused their attention on Badi after hearing her play. Her two albums for them, the first titled Solo and the most recent titled Rhythms, fit perfectly into Chesky Records' policy of clean, pure recording techniques." - Carl Tiegreen, Strictly Jazz, February 1996
"Brazil's Badi Assad has more than enough looks and licks to take a serious shot at pop stardom. Her latest album again confirms that she is an artist with a distinct, personal vision...Rhythms ...demands attention. Assad pushes many of the tunes with a jazzy experimentation...This clever intensity cuts two ways, and it makes for fascinating listening." - RhythmMusic, May/June 1996
"...astonishing one-woman-band technique, adding gorgeous singing, hand percussion and a startling menagerie of percussive vocal effects to her stellar fretwork. The results, as heard on her two American releases, Solo and Rhythms, both on Chesky, are technically stupefying and drop dead beautiful." - Guitar Player January 1997
"...fascinating and challenging...the best recording of an acoustic guitar I've heard this yea