United by musical interests that include samba, funk, soul, blues, bossa, jazz and Spanish flamenco, Humberto Oliveira Sales and Madeline Holly Sales blend the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic riches from North and South America.
Berto, native to Brazil, pursued a formal education in classical guitar. His knowledge of Brazilian rhythms and study of Spanish flamenco add to the unique finger picking style he uses. Madeline brings with her the strong influence of soul, jazz and blues. She sings in Portuguese, English and Spanish. Her sensual, rich voice, playful interpretations, and strong stage presence make their combination extremely unique. During each performance, Beleza uses a looping station to record portions of their live percussion as well as vocals and then subsequently play these recorded tracks back during the performance. This unusual layering effect results in vocal harmonies and complex percussion far beyond what you would expect from a duo.
Since living in the U.S., Beleza has continued to incorporate the influence of funk, blues, and soul into their distinctive style. The resulting concoction was aptly described by one fan as “funkalicious samba soul.”
In 2011 as both performers and music educators, the duo traveled with Enrichment Voyages (academically sponsored by the University of Virginia) around Central America, through the Panama Canal, into the Amazon River in Brazil, and throughout the Caribbean. They have also performed in Turkey, Austria and throughout the United States. They currently reside in Charlottesville, Virginia. Their first album was recorded in Brazil with a full band and combines the riches from both Brazilian and American culture. Their new EP, “Cookin’ with Flavour,” was 100% fan funded and includes originals as well as Beleza arrangements.
Batucada - samba/funk
Sunshine - samba/funk
No More Blues - samba
Garota de Ipanema - bossa nova
Water to Drink - samba/funk
Well, Well, Well - blues/funk
Caravan - Latin jazz
A Minha Alma - Brazilian funk
O Samba da Minha Terra - drum n‘ bass
Maria das Mercedes - samba
Upa Neguinho - baiao
Tired of Waiting - blues
Nature Boy - Latin jazz
Ladeira da Preguica - baiao
Os Grilos - drum n’ bass
Mas que Nada - samba
A Felicidade - bossa nova
Aquele Abraco - samba
Cheek to Cheek - samba/jazz
Corcovado - bossa nova
Fever - jazz/funk
“Genuine joy and exuberance are rare in recorded music. Combine these emotional qualities with savvy vocals and sophisticated musicianship and you’ve got the beginning of a description of Beleza...”
“Beleza always surprises and satisfies … . Whether it's Madeline's jazz stylings or Berto's rhythmic and complex guitar handiwork, these two artists are about the best performers we are lucky enough to present here … . If you are one of the few that hasn't had the pleasure of an evening with them, you should let them help you drive those blues away!”
“If you’re hungry for a little funk with your Latin jazz, Beleza is serving up something new.”
“Funkalicious duo finds its rhythm. . . . deliciously exotic … the perfect blend of American soul and Brazilian funk.”
"Beleza is sensational! Berto's infectious guitar grooves and Madeline's soulful singing work together to present a truly unique sound. Each song and each performance keeps you wanting more. Their energy is amazing."
"Global appeal ... chemistry from the start."
Beleza offers an educational school show during which students learn about the rhythms of Brazil through live demonstrations of layered percussion and songs. Beleza takes the audience on a musical tour of Brazil--from the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, to the dry plains of the Northeast, to the tropical forest of the Amazon. Call and response engages students in becoming a part of the creative experience. Students may also be called on stage to help play and build the percussive loops.
There are two master class options available that are appropriate for middle school and high school students. With option one, Madeline will lead a group of vocalists in a workshop on vocal technique and styling for jazz, Brazilian and other Latin genres. For option two, Berto and Madeline will work with students to learn Brazilian rhythms such as samba, baiao, bossa nova and ixeja using hand percussion. If there is interest, Berto can also work with instruments of harmony (piano and guitar) to teach the accompaniment style.