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Badi Assad (born 23 December 1966) is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, percussionist, and guitarist in the jazz and worldbeat genres.
Assad studied classical guitar at the University of Rio de Janeiro and won the Young Instrumentalists Contest ("Concurso Jovens Instrumentistas for Young Musicians") in Rio de Janeiro in 1984. In 1986, she joined the Guitar Orchestra of Rio de Janeiro, headed by guitarist Turíbio Santos as conductor. In 1987, she was named "Best Brazilian Guitarist of the International Villa Lobos Festival." By 1987 she had played in Europe, Israel and Brazil with guitarist Françoise-Emmanuelle Denis under the name Duo Romantique. In 1988 she wrote Antagonismus, a solo performance in which she worked as guitarist, singer, actress and dancer.
She released her first solo album, Dança dos Tons, in 1988. In 1989 she was selected out of two hundred women to perform as one of two vocalists in the play Mulheres de Hollanda, a musical written by Tatiana Cobbett, based on the works of Chico Buarque de Holanda. Assad has also been featured in the Heineken Concerts in 1992 with Raul de Souza and Heraldo do Monte, and in 1993 with Rafael Rabello, Dori Caymmi and Marisa Monte.
In 1994, she became associated with Chesky Records and recorded the album Solo, followed in 1995 with Rhythms, which won Guitar Player magazine's readers' poll for Best Classical Album of the Year. Assad, who sings in English and Portuguese, was voted Best Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist by the editors of Guitar Player in 1995. In 1998 she released Chameleon. Her appearance on the French night-time talk show Canal+ was seen by over two million viewers. In July 1998, she played Europe's most renowned summer festivals sharing the stage with such artists as Cassandra Wilson, Joe Cocker, Maria Joao and fellow Brazilians Chico Cesar, Marisa Monte, and Gilberto Gil. The single, "Waves", landed in Spain's Top 10 for many weeks and was included in the soundtrack of the 2003 film It Runs in the Family.
In 2004 she signed with the acclaimed German label Deutsche Grammophon, releasing two albums: Verde (2004) and Wonderland (2006). Assad loves to re-create songs. In Verde, she brought a bossa-nova style to "One" by U2 and a tango "Bachelorette" by Björk. For Wonderland, she brought songs by Eurythmics, Vangelis, and Tori Amos into her world music style. Wonderland was selected among Britain's BBC 100 best CDs.
In 2013 Assad released Between Love and Luck in U.S. and her song "Pega no Coco" won the first prize as the Best World Music in the U.S. Songwriting Competition. In 2014, she was invited to be the co-curator of the New York Guitar Festival and committed to compose the soundtrack for the Chinese silent film The Goddess, playing it live at Merkin Hall in New York. Jon Pareles of The New York Times said Assad "arrived with a headset microphone and an electric guitar (which could simulate acoustic-guitar tones) that had a drumstick under the strings, lifting them away from the frets. The first sounds she played...were sliding pitches suggesting a koto; soon she was plucking and tapping ethereal chords on both sides of the drumstick and then cooing, in a voice like affectionate baby talk, about innocence and mysticism...She continued with Brazilian pop songs transformed by her imaginative virtuosity, moving from gauzy delicacy to vigorous propulsion, from dreaming to dancing and back."