Frogbelly and Symphony is an international band, splitting its time between Sheffield, UK, and Brooklyn, NY. Members Liz and Tom Hanley, Ben Trott, and Ray Rizzo come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, bringing in a world of influences to their finely executed experimental tunes. The influence of traditional folk music and poetry is evident, but the prog and post-punk vibes can't be ignored either.
Their first full length album 'Blue Bright Ow Sleep' (Labelship UK 2015) received numerous reviews from independent music press outlets and blogs. Over 50 CMJ-reporting radio stations have added the album to their playlists. The opening track ‘Minderbinder’ debuted on BBC 6music's Tom Robinson Show on April 25th, 2015.
In April 2016 the band releases new video / single PATCH OF BLUE accompanied by a US tour.
With an experimental approach to production values, the band has been collaborating with Brooklyn producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Dresden Dolls, Bill Laswell, Afrika Bambaata etc.....). Progressing from a post-punk, noise and cabaret noir direction on their first EP, "The EYE" (Labelship 2013), Frogbelly and Symphony subsequently evolved the cross-genre concept of "Blue Bright Ow Sleep". Liz and Tom Hanley, Ben Trott and Ray Rizzo appropriate, adapt and recreate music using aspects of their individual backgrounds and repertoires. The heritage of Rock and Roll, the folk traditions of Ireland, Britain and America as well as literature and poetry have all left their imprint.
Liz Hanley, raised in an Irish family in Boston Massachusetts learned her traditional Irish and American folk repertoire from her father and grandfather. She studied classical violin at NYU and has been a Brooklyn resident for over 10 years. She's an active contributor to the traditional music scene in NYC and has worked and toured with Brooklyn rock band Emanuel & The Fear and Irish musician/folklorist Mick Moloney. Besides her main instrument the violin, she is also the lead vocalist and keyboardist in Frogbelly and Symphony.
Tom Hanley, singer, composer and bassist of the group grew up in Hamburg, Germany with his Polish immigrant father and then moved to the UK. Asserting himself into escaping prejudiced and conflicted circumstances, he first started playing bass in punk bands, then branched out in into experimental music, composing, producing and visual art. Liz and Tom got married in 2013 and they are now pendular between Sheffield UK and Brooklyn NY.
Guitarist Ben Trott sprang from a family deeply rooted in the English folk tradition. He studied classical and jazz guitar in Doncaster, UK and has been a member of several UK-based folk ensembles. Besides Frogbelly and Symphony, Ben has lately been touring with Irish-English folk musician Tim Edey and The Albion Band.
Ray Rizzo grew up in Louisville, KY, played in the bands King Kong, M (David Pajo), Days Of The New, and Dawn Landes and The Hounds. He lives in Brooklyn where he composes and produces music and live shows and plays drums. He has recorded or played with Bob Weir, Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon, Yo Yo Ma, Julia Stone and Trixie Whitley. He is also plays in the bands Mesiko and Corporal (with Michael Shannon). In 2009 he founded the Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange.
Frogbelly and Symphony’s tracks