Flávia Bittencourt is one of Brazil’s most highly-praised emerging singer-songwriters and actresses, who rocketed to national fame after one of her songs was picked up by a popular soap opera. Flávia’s cultural roots are present in her choice of repertoire, which flows naturally through her compositions and can also be felt in the music of songwriters from around the world that she chooses to sing. She has toured throughout Europe and has taken her interpretations of traditional Brazilian folk music internationally as far as Africa.
Currently living in Rio de Janeiro, Flávia remains an independent artist with a very strong sense of identity. She has shared the stage with Luiz Melodia, Alcione, Geraldo Azevedo, Dominguinhos and The Golden Age, and established artists and composers such as Dominguinhos, Renato Braz, Quinteto em Branco e Preto, Luiz Melodia, and conductor Laercio de Freitas, have all been keen to work with her. Flávia has participated in the project Samba Novo (Som Livre) and toured Spain, Poland, and parts of the U.K. in support of her various albums, appearing in festivals and garnering television and radio coverage.
Flávia’s work has been greatly influenced by the regional rhythms of her native state, Maranhão (as well as the entire northeastern region of Brazil, the Sertão), and often incorporates folklore such as the Bumba-meu-boi and elements of the Feast of the Holy Spirit. While she favors the work of Maranhao composers such as Josias Sobrinho, Flávia says that as an interpreter she enjoys variety: “We have to sing all we want, everything that excites us, without being restricted by genre.”
In 2005, Flávia released her debut album Sentido (Sense or Feeling; Som Livre) that mixes pop, northeastern music, and original songs; it features some of Brazil’s most active artists including Dominguinhos, Renato Braz, and Quinteto em Branco e Preto. The recording was very well received by critics who praised her voice, songwriting, and interpretations of classic Brazilian songs. “Terra de Noel,” one of the songs on the album, was selected for the soap opera América and was played across Brazil on Globo television.
Her second album, Todo Domingos is devoted to her collaborator and musical hero, legendary Pernambucan accordionist, composer, and singer Dominguinhos. “There are so many wonderful songs that it was hard to choose”, says the Bittencourt. Besides classics like “Lamento Sertanejo,” “Sete Meninas,” “Toinho,” “Abri a Porta,” and “So Quero Um Xodó,” there are also “Arrebol,” and “São João Bonito.”
On her third album, No Movimento, Flávia prepared recordings that featured appearances by Zeca Baleiro and Luiz Melodia and collaborated with the renowned poet Ferreira Gullar for the poem Um Instante for which Flavia wrote the melody.
Leve is Flávia’s fourth album and first DVD that was released by Coqueiro Verde Records. It was recorded in São Luís-Brazil when she was four months pregnant and features collaborations from Luiz Melodia, Zeca Baleiro, Bloco Tradicional Os Feras, Alcione, Antulio Madureira. She released a series of singles following this project produced by Fernando DeepLick.
As an actress, Flavia has participated in the following films: Redenção by Neville D`Almeida and As Órbitas da Água by Frederico Machado. She has also worked alongside the first dancer of the municipal theater of Rio de Janeiro Ana Botafogo, in creating the musical “Woman,” a homage to leading ladies who have influenced the emancipation of women throughout the world, though mainly in Brasil. Following the theme of feminism, she has participated with renowned Brazilian theatre actress Natalia Timberg to present a spectacle of poetry and music in Rio de Janeiro that not only honored women, but also addressed issues such as feminism and sexual harassment.
Flávia’s forthcoming album A Life Story will be released this fall and was produced by fellow Brazilian producer and guitarist Sandro Albert. It is her first project in English and will showcase her original songs and compositions along with songs from several other New York-based artists.