Sarah Messias Sarmento is a multi-instrumentalist from the city of Jundiai, Sao Paulo, Brasil. At four years, to her parents surprise, she played a song on a keyboard, without anyone teaching her. She then started piano lessons at fifteen minutes per week, showing great memorization. In 2005 Sarah started to do harmonica lessons with a reputed teacher and a beast on the harmonica, Marcio Maresia. In the first class, she played a Beatles song, and he complimented her, saying that it was the first time he saw someone playing a song on their first contact with the harmonica.
While her classmates were invited to parties, Sarah was invited to musical tours with great Blues artists. At eleven years old, she became an endorsee for the Brazilian harmonica brand, Bends. Right after she started her studies on harmonica came also her interest in the Blues, listening to Little Walter, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Muddy Waters and many other Blues legends. Much of the knowledge came also from her father, a great expert on history of music. Also at eleven, she was invited by musician Vasco Faé to participate in a project named “Mulheres Gaitistas” (Woman that play Harmonica), playing at Sesc Ipiranga, one of the biggest cultural centers in Brasil. In the following year, Sarah participated in the “Mulheres Blueseiras” project, touring through São Paulo state. During the tour, she got to meet the great musician John Hammond, and even not being fluent in English at the time, she managed to talk to him. In 2010, Sarah was invited to participate in the “Blueseiros do Brasil” project, sharing the stage with some of the best Blues players in the country, including Leandro Ferrari, Vasco Faé, Artur Menezes, and Adriano Grineberg, among others.
Sarah was always influenced and surrounded by good music, mainly by classic rock, since her father’s band Zábbada’s rehearsed at her home. After she found herself on the harmonica, Sarah began to sit in on the band’s concerts, playing and singing. In 2012, she participated of a contest to win a scholarship to a one-week course in Valencia, Spain. It was a partnership between Berklee and Lollapalooza. A few weeks after the application was sent, she got an email saying that she was chosen, and later in the summer of 2012, Sarah flew to Valencia to do the program. It was a life changing experience for her, since it was the first time she traveled outside of Brasil. At the end of the program, there was a surprise: Sarah was awarded with another scholarship, this time to go to Boston to do the 5-Week Program at the main Berklee campus.
After coming back from Valencia, Sarah was invited to play at the 2013 Lollapalooza Festival in Brasil that same year. With her dad on drums, her sister on guitar and her friends Vasco Faé on lead guitar and Victor Abla on bass, the band gave a very energetic show at the festival, and were later featured on Globo, the biggest channel from Brasil, being chosen as both the Upcoming Artist and Best Picture of the festival.
In July of 2013, Sarah went to Boston for the 5-Week Program at Berklee College of Music. She was enchanted with the school structure, classes, teachers and students. There she met one of her biggest inspirations, Armsted Christian. He was her private lesson teacher for voice, and in their classes there would not only be singing, but while he would play the piano, Sarah would play harmonica and the connection they had through it made Sarah realize even more that she belonged to that place. During the program, she had the opportunity to do an audition and interview to win a scholarship to be a full-time student. She studied every day for it, and put a lot of effort on her classes. On the day of the audition, Sarah was ready and was accompanied on piano by her friend and Berklee professor, Maxim Lubarsky.
Now all that was left was to wait for the results. At the big day, they started to announce from the lowest to the highest scholarship, and when they got to the full tuition, Sarah’s name was on the list. She couldn’t have been happier. Her family was very excited for it and now the preparations for entering the college had to start. After a long process of applying for a Visa, getting all the other documents together and figuring out a financial plan to pay rent, food and other necessities, Sarah finally flew to Boston in the Spring semester of 2014.
Since she arrived in Boston, Sarah has done her best in her classes, getting high grades and applying what she learned to her music. In her third semester she began working as an usher at the Berklee Performance Center so her parents wouldn't have to carry all the weight on their shoulders. Sarah has performed twice in the Storytellers event with Didi Stewart and Allizon Lissance, playing two original songs. She has also performed for the Fall 2015 Convocation concert, playing harmonica. Outside of Berklee, Sarah has been playing almost every week at the Common Ground Blues Jam, with Matthew Stubbs (Charlie Musselwhite), Chris Rivelli (Roomful of Blues), Doug Wolverton (Roomful of Blues), and many other amazing musicians. Last year, Sarah was invited by her friends and idols from Roomful of Blues to play with them at the Celebrity Series of Boston event Let’s Dance. Sarah’s father has been a big fan of the band since he was 16, and videotaped one of their concerts that were streamed on television at that time, introducing them later to Sarah through that tape. It was then a great honor to play and to construct this friendship with the band. Sarah has also played at Berklee with Big Yuki and Daru Jones (Jack White). And most recently she played at Blue Note with Seu Jorge after he invited her to do so at his concert in Boston.
In the Fall of 2015, Sarah and guitarist Hunter Burgamy did a concert at The Symphony Park Sunset Series, neighboring the Morville Senior House. Through that, she got in contact with director of the House, volunteering to play in November of that same year for their residents and already making plans for more concerts in 2016. During the winter break of 2015/2016, Sarah, along with Hunter Burgamy, Victor Abla and her father José Alberto, did a tour in Brasil, playing around São Paulo.
Sarah started her own Blues/Rock band during the Fall 2014 semester, The Sarah Messias Band. They play originals, and Blues/Rock covers, from Sonny Boy and Little Walter until Led Zeppelin and Jack White. In 2016, they changed their name to RiverS. Now, 2018, Sarah is working on the pre production of her first album, to be released in 2019.