Badi Assad (pronounced bah-jee Ah-Sahj) is one of Brazil's most talented performers. A heartfelt vocalist who sings in English and Portuguese and is known for her Bobby McFerrin-like improvisations, Assad is also one of the country's truly accomplished guitar players. In 1995, Assad was voted Best Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist by editors of Guitar Player, while readers of the magazine named her album Rhythms the Best Classical Album of the Year. Although her earlier albums focused on unique interpretations of songs by songwriters such as Egberto Gizmonte, Milton Nascimento, Ralph Towner and George Harrison, Assad displayed her songwriting talents on her 1998 album, Chameleon, co-writing nine of the album's 12 tracks.
The younger sister of famed guitarists Sergio and Odair of the duo Assad, Assad, who grew up in Rio de Janeiro, studied piano at age eight. By age 14, however, she had switched to the guitar and was accompanying her father who played chorinhos or Brazilian music on the bandolim. Sharpening her skills at the University Conservatory in Rio de Janeiro, Assad placed first in a Young Instrumentalist Contest in 1984. Assad's professional debut came as a member of the Guitar Orchestra of Rio de Janiero, conducted by Turbio Santos, in 1986. The same year, she sang and acted in a musical, Mulheres de Hollanda, written by Tatiana Cobbett and based on works by Chico Buarque.
Assad returned to music in 1987, performing throughout Israel, Europe and Brazil, along with guitarist Francoise-Emmanuel Denis as Duo Romantique. In 1988, she wrote and starred in a solo performance piece, "Antagonism," in which she played guitar, sang, acted and danced.
Danca Dos Tons, Assad's debut album, was released in Brazil only in 1989 and limited to 2,000 copies. Her first worldwide release, Solo, was recorded in April 1993 at St. Stephens of Hungary Church in New York. ~ Craig Harris