Sounds Local: Upbeat new music at the Global Groove Fest; mourning the loss of a bright light

  • Matthew King performs new music with his band TapRoots at the Global Groove Fest, August 19 at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls. PHOTO BY VINNY NATALE

  • A fixture of the local music scene, Kate Lorenz passed unexpectedly two weeks ago. She will be missed. CONTRIBUTED

For the Recorder
Published: 8/10/2022 2:11:53 PM
Modified: 8/10/2022 2:08:37 PM

Matthew King has a couple of projects on the horizon that will be of major interest to local music fans.

First, he is putting the finishing touches on “The Resonance Within,” the sophomore release from his Latin Funk Fusion band, TapRoots. In addition he is gearing up for the Global Groove Fest, a mini-festival that celebrates World Music that is scheduled at the Shea Theater Arts Center in Turners Falls on Friday, Aug. 19, at 8 p.m. The festival will feature performances from TapRoots, Hartford’s The Lost Tribe, and Amherst based Jose Gonzalez and Banda Criollo. The fest will also serve as the CD release show for TapRoots’ new album.

The Amherst-based King is plenty busy, but his enthusiasm for both projects outweighs any stress he may be experiencing.

TapRoots grew out of King’s work with the reggae-rap group, the Alchemystics. That’s band’s drummer, the late DemseZullo, encouraged King to follow his own musical vision and so he took that advice and formed TapRoots. A multi-instrumentalist who handles vocals and songwriting for the group, King draws from elements of rock, soul, reggae, salsa, soul, hip-hop, samba, folkloric rhythms and beyond. TapRoots creates uplifting, highly danceable music that defies easy categorization. King has said that because of this, people are sometimes hesitant to check out the band, but that once they do they quickly become fans.

TapRoots’ first album came out in 2018, and now with “The Resonance Within” King is taking the music to the next level.

“I wrote all of the music in the first two years of the pandemic because I was teaching remotely and was just home a lot,” said King in a recent phone interview. “I figured I might as well do something with the time as I was feeling this creative surge. As I started writing the music I realized it was moving into a more complex and more Latin tinged sound.”

To capture that sound on the record King started working with a group that consisted of almost all new musicians.

“The old crew was really great when it came to the reggae and funk aspects of things,” King explained. “For this album I really wanted to have people who were born into the rhythmic framework of Latin music. I have put together a new band for the live show that draws heavily on Latin players who really have a feel for that swing.”

The lyrics of TapRoots have always been uplifting and positive, reflecting King’s spiritual side, and this time out some of the issues that arose during the pandemic also factored into his songwriting.

“I feel in a lot of ways the pandemic has forced us to face that time really is short, so why not live your joy today?” King said. “So I feel like in this album there is a lot of those type of questions about what are you going to choose? You are presented with all these options about how you want to live your life and how do you want to use this time in front of you?”

To provide listeners with a glimpse into the new album, TapRoots recently released a single called “Song for the Ocean.”

“‘Song for the Ocean’ is my tribute to Yemaya, the Yoruba Orisha of the ocean, as well as also the mother of all life, as all life started in the sea,” explained King. “Like many of TapRoots’ songs it travels through many genres - from reggaetón, to samba reggae, to salsa, to folkloric music, to timba. I really wanted it released in time for summer, because when I hear it I can feel the sun on my face in the waves of the ocean singing me to sleep as the ocean pounds away in the background.”

“Song for the Ocean,” with its bright horns and driving rhythms, is definitely a feel-good song and an indication that the music on “The Resonance Within” is going to be special.

King agrees. “It’s sounding otherworldly, beyond any of my expectations and I can’t wait to get it in folks’ ears,” he said. He is also hoping to branch out and to bring his music to as many stages as possible, perhaps focussing on festivals next summer.

But it will all start at the Global Groove Fest, when King and his 11-piece band take the stage at the Shea where they will feature the music from the new album.

King describes the Global Groove Fest as a celebration of culture, spirit, rhythm and arts. This is the second Global Groove Fest he has hosted with the first being held in Holyoke in 2019.

“I love the idea of the branding of the Global Groove Fest. I love what I can fit under that umbrella,” said King, adding that it’s all about celebrating great world music that is available to us here in the Valley.

The other acts on the lineup are excellent examples of the talent we have access to in our area. The Lost Tribe is a drum-centered Afro-funk fusion ensemble, led by multi-percussionist Jocelyn Pleasant. Their sound winds through many genres that are rooted in West African rhythms and sensibilities, with performances that are full of energy and groove.

Also on the bill is Jose Gozalez and Banda Briolla. Gonzalez is a guitarist from Puerto Rico who has called the Valley home for many years now. With his band Banda Criolla you can expect the group to bring some high energy authentic Latin/Spanish/World Music to the Shea.

There will be vendors and live painting happening throughout the event, so grab your dancing shoes and head to the Shea.

“It’s all about bridging cultural differences and it just boils down to we’ve got to talk to each other,” King said. “We’ve got to spend time with each other, we’ve got to learn each other’s languages and we’ve got to learn to celebrate with each other. This show is just one of the many ways that I feel this can be positively done, in a way that will have some far reaching implications.”

Doors open at 7 p.m., show is at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at or at the

Kate Lorenz

We lost a bright light on our local music scene with the recent passing of musician Kate Lorenz. Her brother Matt Lorenz (The Suitcase Junket) announced the loss via his Facebook page saying that she had died unexpectedly two weeks ago. Kate and Matt Lorenz along with Zak Trojano founded the Amherst-based folk-rock band Rusty Belle in the early 2000’s and were a popular Valley fixture for many years. Kate Lorenz later launched a solo career and released her first and only album, “Sing When Lonely” in 2018.

An incredible singer, whose music brought great joy to our community, she frequently appeared on many stages here in the Valley, be it singing with her brother at his Suitcase Junket shows, fronting her band the Constellations or having fun at one of the many Llama Lasagna performances.

I was fortunate to have the pleasure of interviewing her a few times over the years and always found her to be extremely warm and upbeat. Condolences to her family, friends and many fans. Kate Lorenz you will be missed.

Sheryl Hunter is a freelance writer who resides in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national publications. She can be reached at


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