Checking in with Madeline and Humberto Sales

Checking in with Madeline and Humberto Sales

What are you working on right now?

Madeline: We’re working on some recordings that we started in Brazil, a few compositions of our own for our next album.
Humberto: Yeah, we’ve been working on that [since] this last summer. We started developing the ideas here, then we went to Brazil to meet up with a friend of ours who helped record our first CD. We try to go there once a year to lay some tracks and get all the ideas together, and if we can’t finish there, we finish it here.
What were you doing when we called?
M: I’m getting ready to go to work. I teach English as a second language at a middle school, and I’m getting ready to go teach.
H: I’m a music teacher, also getting ready to teach in a couple hours.

As part of a working trip to Brazil for their next album, Madeline and Humberto Sales took a half-dozen American friends to Humberto’s hometown of Salvador, then to Rio de Janeiro. “Lots of music, dancing, absorbing and refueling,” says Madeline of the trip.

What is your favorite tool of the trade?
H: When we perform as a duo, she plays a lot of hand percussion instruments, from a little shaker to more intricate instruments. I have a couple of pedals to create modulation and synthesizer effects. I use the Boss loop machine, and I use the Roland RC-20 synthesizer that I hook up with my guitar, and the new one that I use now is the M13 Line 6 for my electric guitar.
Locally, who would you like to collaborate with?
M: We’ve done double-header festival gigs with Inner Rhythm, but we haven’t really collaborated with them yet. I think that would be really interesting.
What is inspiring about Charlottesville right now?
M: I think the openness of the people, the intellectual and social diversity, and the openness to the arts in general. We’ve been really fortunate and pleased with how accepting Charlottesville is of our style of music, for being the size of the city that it is.
H: I agree with Madeline, how multicultural a city Charlottesville is…
M: Without necessarily being so. (Laughs)
H: Yeah, from the standpoint of coming from my city, I was completely shocked. There are 3.2 million people where I come from [Salvador, Brazil], so to come to Charlottesville and see that diversity here is really inspiring.
What music are you listening to lately?
M: Someone that comes to mind is Jean-Luc Ponty. We’d already been listening to Habib Koité, and then from Brazil, Zeca Baleiro.
H: Also from Brazil, Benini, Humberto Méndez, several others who are building rhythms with modern electronic beats into their compositions. We listen to a lot of that.
What is your favorite snack food while working?
H: I eat anything.
M: Mixed nuts.
H: That’s a good one. Mixed nuts and dried fruit. After that, maybe some beans with cheese in a burrito, a sandwich, and beer.
Who is your favorite musician in your genre? Favorite artist in general?
M: The question, I guess, is what genre do we fit into? But we’re really fond of a group called Bossa Cuca Nova. They’re fun. They mix lounge and older Brazilian tunes to make a modern sound.
H: One of my favorite musicians right now is an artist from Brazil who plays genuine Brazilian Samba, João Bosco. He’s an amazing musician. I love his work. 
M: Probably Humberto’s favorite artist of all time is Paco de Lucía.
H: Definitely. I have a flamenco guitar background, and Paco de Lucía is one of my heroes.
M: I always go back to Ella Fitzgerald. I love the sweet clearness of her voice… She was a true musician, vocalist and interpreter.
Guilty pleasure?
M: Chocolate or something.
H: Chocolate is always welcome.
M: Although this guy is a big fan of peanut butter and jelly.
H: Oh, yeah.