The Beat Goes On: Cloudbelly celebrates a new album in Northampton, Brazilian sounds come to Amherst, and more

Cloudbelly, led by singer-songwriter Cory Laitman, right, will celebrate their new album with two shows at The Parlor Room in Northampton, April 6-7.

Cloudbelly, led by singer-songwriter Cory Laitman, right, will celebrate their new album with two shows at The Parlor Room in Northampton, April 6-7. Submitted photo

Qwanqwa brings its “psychedelic roots music from Ethiopia” to CitySpace in Easthampton April 7. part of the Secret Planet internationl music series.

Qwanqwa brings its “psychedelic roots music from Ethiopia” to CitySpace in Easthampton April 7. part of the Secret Planet internationl music series. Image from Qwanqwa website 

Blues veteran Popa Chubby, seen here at a gig in Slovenia, comes to The Drake April 6.

Blues veteran Popa Chubby, seen here at a gig in Slovenia, comes to The Drake April 6. Photo by Bostjan Rudolph/Wikipedia

Lady Moon & The Eclipse, a New York “cosmic soul” band, plays at the Marigold Theater in Easthampton April 5. This is an image of their album “Journey to the Cosmic Soul.”

Lady Moon & The Eclipse, a New York “cosmic soul” band, plays at the Marigold Theater in Easthampton April 5. This is an image of their album “Journey to the Cosmic Soul.” Image from Lady Moon & The Eclipse website

The ensemble Crossroads of Sound plays music drawn from Turkey, Armenia, and the Middle East at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley April 7.

The ensemble Crossroads of Sound plays music drawn from Turkey, Armenia, and the Middle East at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley April 7. Image courtesy Halcyon Arts New England

Pianist Sophie Lippert is one of three musicians offering a different style of chamber music at the Bombyx Center in Florence April 7.

Pianist Sophie Lippert is one of three musicians offering a different style of chamber music at the Bombyx Center in Florence April 7. Image from Sophie Lippert website

Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini, an unusual duo of trombone and classical guitar, will play a range of Brazilian music and other styles at The Drake in Amherst on April 9.

Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini, an unusual duo of trombone and classical guitar, will play a range of Brazilian music and other styles at The Drake in Amherst on April 9. Photo by Tomas Faquini

Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini, on the unusual combination of trombone and classical guitar, will play a range of Brazilian music and other styles at The Drake in Amherst April 9.

Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini, on the unusual combination of trombone and classical guitar, will play a range of Brazilian music and other styles at The Drake in Amherst April 9. Photo by Tomas Faquini

By STEVE PFARRER

Staff Writer

Published: 04-04-2024 6:19 PM

Just days after former folk and Americana performer turned indie-pop singer Caroline Rose played in Florence, Cloudbelly, the Valley indie folk band led by singer-songwriter Corey Laitman, is set to showcase songs from a new album that has a distinctive indie-pop sheen to it.

Cloudbelly’s new disc, “i know i know i know,” is built on many instruments and sounds — acoustic and electric guitars, bass and drums, varied keyboards including synthesizer and Wurlitzer, strings, sampling — and gives Laitman’s lead vocals lots of space and resonance, especially on the slower, more folk-flavored tunes.

Heading in from a tour in the Midwest and other parts of the Northeast, the band will celebrate the album with two local shows, April 6-7, at 7:30 p.m. at The Parlor Room in Northampton.

Joining Laitman on the album, Cloudbelly’s second release, are guitarist Sam Perry, drummer and backup vocalist Nate Mondschein, and bassist/keyboardist Reed Sutherland, who’s worked with Laitman before. Cynthia Tolson also plays string arrangements created by Sutherland.

In press notes, Laitman said they composed the songs for “i know i know i know” following the “tightly timed implosion of two formative relationships.” As such, the record became Laitman’s means for processing all the resulting emotional turmoil and the need to “reconcile the painful necessity of those relationships coming to an end.”

You can hear those themes on songs like “November,” which begins with chugging acoustic guitar and a trace of keyboards before broadening into a swirling alt-rock number in which the time of year becomes a metaphor for loss: “Old November, haven’t seen you in a year … Say my love’s marked ‘return to sender’ / Teach me mercy, cold November.”

Appropriately for its title, “Bloom” also begins with Laitman singing to simple acoustic guitar before the track turns into catchy indie pop, with the lyrics speaking to the need for “beginning again.” By contrast, “Fascinated” features stinging electric guitar riffs by Perry and propulsive drumming by Mondschein throughout the song.

It’s a well-produced album, recorded partly at Ghost Hit Recording in West Springfield, with moments of quiet that really showcase Laitman’s vocals, which recall a bit of Joni Mitchell and former Valley singer-songwriter Deb Talan.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

State auditor: UMass violated law in axing Advancement office last year
Valley Bounty: Fibers for farmers: Western Massachusetts Fibershed turns local ‘throw away’ wool into fertilizer pellets
Budget rift emerges at Granby TM: Finance Committee at odds with School, Fire departments
With NCAA settlement, sea change comingfor UMass athletics
Judge denies Rintala’s motion to reduce prison sentence
More music, bigger stages: In new hands, Green River Festival returns next weekend with headliners CAKE, Fleet Foxes and Gregory Alan Isakov

 

Secret Planet, the member-based international music series started last fall by Edo Mor of Haydenville, not only brings some unique sounds to the area, it also puts together some of the most colorful descriptions of music.

Take the notes for a show on April 6 at 7 p.m. at CitySpace in Easthampton that features Qwanqwa, a band that hails from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and is built in part around traditional East African instruments such as the six-stringed bass krar, a type of lyre, and the masinko, a one-stringed fiddle.

In addition, there’s pedal-enhanced violin (played by American musician Kaethe Hostetter) and goat-skin drums.

“Led by the wondrous Azmari powerhouse singer Selamnesh Zemene … this is ecstatic, euphoric stuff,” Secret Planet says of the group, which will tour extensively throughout the U.S. in April and May. Another way to describe them? “Psychedelic roots music from Ethiopia.”

Also on the bill is Habbina Habbina, a Brooklyn, New York trio that’s described as one part “Mediterranean surf rock” and one part “Middle Eastern psychedelia,” with a sound that’s been influenced by a number of things, including the guitar stylings of Dick Dale and even James Bond movie soundtracks.

The band is made up of Israeli/New York guitarist Amit Peled, bassist Ran Livneh, and drummer Cem Misirlioglu.

 

Speaking of international music, or music with an international flavor, The Drake in Amherst hosts an April 9 show at 8 p.m. by an unusual duo: Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini, on trombone and classical guitar, respectively.

Cressman is a celebrated trombonist and singer/composer from California who’s spent years performing with big names in the New York jazz scene (both her parents are jazz musicians), while also playing funk and R&B and touring extensively as a horn player and vocalist with jam-band hero Trey Anastasio from Phish.

Cressman also has some background in Brazilian music, and when she met Faquini, an acclaimed composer and singer who was born in Brazil but grew up in California’s Bay Area, the two began collaborating on a range of new music, drawing on impressionism, jazz, and Brazilian songwriting traditions — and singing in three languages.

Faquini, who plays a nylon string guitar, is the primary composer of the pair, but their work is a shared effort. Their voices and instruments greatly complement each other, as one critic notes: “It may also be the first time, in a long time, that record-buyers and live audiences have heard something Brazilian or otherwise that’s so unaffected and accessible to the heart.”

There’s more: the duo are just about to release their third album, “GUINGA.” In an email, Cressman said it will be their first time at The Drake, where they’ll be playing cuts from the record: “We are so excited to share this special material live.” 

More music on tap

Easthampton’s Marigold Theater welcomes Lady Moon & The Eclipse, a “cosmic soul” ensemble from New York, tonight (Friday, April 5) at 8 p.m. Opening the show is Valley jazz singer Avery Joi and her band Manuka.

Blues veteran Popa Chubby comes to The Drake on April 6 at 8 p.m.

Mingus Dynasty, which celebrates the music of the jazz legend, plays at the Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall at UMass Amherst on April 6 at 8 p.m.

Also in Amherst on April 6, folksinger Jennie McAvoy will be the featured performer at the monthly Song & Story Swap at First Church at 7 p.m.

One more on April 6: The 13th installment of the Local Vocal Chord Bowl, a benefit concert for the music programs at Northampton and Amherst high schools, takes place at Northampton High at 7 p.m.

It’s an all a capella concert, produced by one such group, Green Street Brew; the show features vocalists of different ages, from high school to adult, including college ensembles such as The Zumbyes from Amherst College.

The Bombyx Center for Arts & Equity in Florence is staging a “Connections Concert” on April 7 at 3 p.m. with classical pianist Sophie Lippert, violinist Charlotte Malin, and kora player John Hughes that’s billed as a “refreshing take on chamber music.” The program includes stories and opportunities for audience participation.

An ensemble of Boston musicians called Crossroads of Sound will play a mix of music drawn from Turkey, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley April 7 at 4 p.m.

There are back to back solo shows at Northampton’s Academy of Music, with just a few tickets left: Colin Hay (frontman for Men at Work) plays April 11 at 8 p.m. (alt rockers Lazlo Bane open), and guitarist Pat Metheny plays April 12 at 8 p.m.

The popular Americana/roots rockers Whiskey Treaty Roadshow return to the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on April 12 at 8 p.m.

The Layaali Arabic Music Trio, in a concert titled “We are all Gaza: A Musical Tribute,” plays on April 12 at 7 p.m. at Ethel Barn, 60 High St., Southampton.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.