Belinda Underwood is a life-long musician and dancer who brings elements of the world's folk art traditions together with her own Western training and luscious soul-creation. An artist and traveler, she has enjoyed visiting other lands in order to study the roots and living masters of those traditions. She considers dance to be one of the most natural expressions of music and the body to be the instrument for that expression.
Belinda's first exposures to music occurred five nights a week while she was captive in her jazz-pianist-mother's womb. With birth, the nightly exposure continued while she napped under the piano in a car seat, followed by years of childhood lessons on classical violin. She taught herself baritone ukulele starting at age ten, then benefitted from high school and college jazz education programs as she studied upright bass, voice, theory and composition.
In adulthood , she has continued musical/dance studies around the world, particularly in Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Japan, and on the West Coast of the USA. She has picked up other instruments such as the Arabic oud, baritone uke, banjo, keyboard bass pedals, arabic drums, finger cymbals and more. She is adept at artfully blending the elements of her training along with folk and world music influences to create art that is uniquely her own.
Her debut album was launched in March 2005. Entitled "Underwood Uncurling," it features David Friesen, Airto Moreira, John Gross, Dan Balmer, Clay Giberson, Chad Wagner, Jason Levis, and Pink Martini members Phil Baker and Martin Zarzar. She sings (and plays some bass too) on the album, which is comprised of six original jazz compositions and six jazz standards.
In 2006, Belinda started performing and touring with New York jazz pianist Benny Green as her guest, and in 2008, she featured him on her latest jazz release, "Greenspace." Both national and international jazz audiences have enjoyed the chemistry of this dynamic musical team, a combination of Green's jazz lineage and Underwood's emotive story-telling.
The album Greenspace shows a new sophistication in Belinda's songwriting while paying homage to her jazz roots, evidenced by her choice and interpretation of lovely forgotten jazz standards. Grammy-nominated Nancy King appears on several tracks as well, and the rhythm section is rounded out by Pink Martini members Phil Baker and Martin Zarzar.
The last several years she has developed a body of work as a solo artist, playing the bari uke and keyboard bass pedals while singing her original songs. Her first solo CD, "Look To The Skies", was released in January of 2014. Featuring national mandolin champion, Josiah Payne, and recorded live at Cloud City Sound in Portland OR, Look To The Skies is sparkly troubadour music for humanity…. songs of love, longing, the sad state of our Earth, and also hope and empowerment.
A believer in music without the borders created by genres or cultures, Belinda composes and writes equally passionately about love and human evolution as she does trees and animals, using a clever wit to reveal the interconnectedness of all things.