Frogbelly And Symphony are an international musical collaborative based in Sheffield England and Brooklyn New York who make pop‐infused progressive folkrock songs and engrossing live shows that challenge categorization and delight the mind.
Hailing from four distinct corners of the earth, Liz Hanley (vocals, violin, keys), Thomas Lebioda (vocals, bass), Ray Rizzo (drums, vocals) and Ben Trott (guitar, vocals) have maintained an 8+year commitment to find ways to get in a room together to create and use each of their distinctive voices to make the brew. Frogbelly songs have been played on the BBC, and 50+ college radio stations in prime American markets. To date, the band has played over 300 live shows in the US, UK, Ireland and continental Europe.
On the band’s first record, 2013’s The EYE, legendary Brooklyn producer Martin Bisi captured the recently‐formed band in the studio constructing songs with broken fragments of hard rock, nu wave, children’s lullabies, and Rumi lyrics. In 2015 Frogbelly and Symphony followed up with their first full‐length LP, Blue Bright Ow Sleep, a more expansive and confident serving of colors, with Lebioda taking on more production responsibilities along with Bisi. The resulting 10 song set reigned in New York artpop, English and Irish folk, the low end kerrrang of Eastern Europe rock, fusion jazz, and arena rock balladry. The mindbending opener “Minderbinder” draws lyrics from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22…
#frogbelly is the quartet’s newest collection of songs, produced by Lebioda and mixed by Peter Schmidt at Ballsaal Studios in Berlin.
Over the span of 3 years, the band masterminded recording sessions in New York City and Sheffield UK, with Lebioda directing the cross‐continental construction of the songs. #frogbelly is the band’s take on contemporary pop, served up in a broken time machine where rock music and traditional Irish, English and American folk melodies are whimsically re‐imagined.
At the center of Frogbelly music is the voice of Liz Hanley who also plays keys and violin in the band. Raised in a musical Irish family, classically trained and then set loose in New York City’s indie rock world, Liz is as likely to turn heads at folk sessions as when she plays supporting roles for such diverse artists as Emanuel And The Fear, Mick Moloney’s The Green Fields of America, and Mighty Oaks, or with her duo work with Dublin based musician/singer Brenda Castles. Liz has released a solo recording of her own, The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia. At Frogbelly shows, Hanley is the barometer, her violin leads crystalizing the imaginative turns within the music, her singing sending everything over the edge.
Hanley’s partner in Frogbelly (and life) is her husband, singer/composer/producer Thomas Lebioda. He was born in Hamburg where he established his independent label Labelship before moving operations and himself to Sheffield, England in 2010. To date, Labelship has released over 55 recordings including the first three releases by Frogbelly and Symphony, as well as recordings by Martin Bisi and Cinema Cinema. Lebioda is the primary contributor of songs to Frogbelly, periodically finishing the melodies and arrangements with Hanley and other members. When Thomas exchanges melodic duties with Hanley and fronts the band, his English tenor snarls and chews on the lyrics, injecting a poet’s voice into every verse.
Drummer/singer/composer Ray Rizzo was a member of the bands King Kong, Days Of The New, and David Pajo’s M before moving to New York City in 2004 when he began performing and composing for off‐Broadway theatre and developing live shows and recordings. In 2009 he established Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange to present collaborative works of theatre and music. He co‐leads the band Corporal with his friend Michael Shannon and plays drums in Josh Ritter’s Royal City Band. He has toured and/or recorded with Bob Weir, Sam Cohen, Dawn Landes, Danger Mouse, Rhett Miller, Yo Yo Ma, Trixie Whitley, Julia Stone, and Glen Hansard. Rizzo’s distinctive ensemble drumming is the spine of Frogbelly, and he contributes a strong third singing voice to the band as well as occasional songwriting.
Guitarist Benjamin Trott hails from Bristol UK where he is an active member of the Ceilidh scene. He has toured as a duo with Tim Edey and played in The Albion Band and Lasair. Trott is arguably the most valuable player of Frogbelly, turning out ball busting electric guitar riffage one minute, and intricate acoustic leads the next. His sense of part‐making and use of unexpected string instruments are an exceptional force in Frogbelly arrangements.