Sunday, January 18, 2015

Between Love and Luck: Badi Assad and "Pega no Coco"



As I've now passed the 50 year mark (actually I'm 51 or as I'm calling it, forty-eleven), the issue of time has become more and more important to me. Sometimes in the morning, I wake up and realize that I've lived another day, shortening the number of days I have left on the earth. I don't obsess about it, but sometimes I do have some sadness, especially if the previous day has been so busy that it feels like it went by in a blur of activity without proper reflection and appreciation. I can imagine that at times a lot of parents, caught up with their families in our modern lifestyles, feel the same way. They have career and families, and work at both of them, all the while watching their kids grow up while they get older. I'm sure that they want to hold onto some moments and lengthen them, stretching them out so that they last. Unfortunately, time is implacable and it's inertia is inexorable. We are caught between seeking the busy aspects of life to keep ourselves occupied, and craving the quiet reflective moments with ourselves and our loved ones, and for me, there is hardly ever a perfect combination of both.

Today's song encapsulates some of that - a modern woman juggling her career and family and the demands of both. Badi Assad is natural born Brazilian with a Lebanese background. She was born in the state of São Paulo, Brazil but moved to Rio de Janeiro. Her family was a musical family - her father plays the bandolim (mandolin) and her two brothers are classical guitarists in their own group, Duo Assad. She studied classical guitar at the University of Rio de Janeiro and joined the Guitar Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro in 1987. She released her first solo album in 1988. More albums and Brazilian fame followed, but in 1998 she released Chameleon and took Europe by storm - her appearance on a French late show on the Canal+ channel was seen by over 2 million viewers. From 1998-2001 she was afflicted with focal dystonia, a motor skill disability but recovered completely and continued writing music, performing, releasing albums and collaborating with many of the music industry's major stars. She is known for reinterpreting well known songs in different styles, such as putting a bossa nova style on U2's "One," as well as her experimental musical interpretations. In 2013, her album Between Love and Luck was released, and this song, Pega no Coco, garnered her first prize in the world music category of a USA songwriting competition. The upbeat song (and video) shows Assad in the roles of career woman, wife, and mother and the various demands of each, but also a woman who likes the combination. I'm glad she's found hers...I'm still trying.