The week ahead: Music

Crash Avenue

She belongs

PRISCILLA AHN As heard on her 2008 debut, “A Good Day,” Ahn rode in on the same gentle breeze that made stars of Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles. Ahn’s music was similarly tender and light as a feather. Maybe that’s why her latest, “This Is Where We Belong,” feels like such a welcome departure. Its songs are airy and seductive, built around swirling synths and lush textures as fresh as springtime. May 1, 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $17. T.T. the Bear’s, Cambridge. 617-492-2327,


Pop & Rock

JESSY LANZA Her roots are in piano and jazz, a fact you’d never guess from hearing the sprawling dancefloor confections this Canadian artist crafted on last year’s “Pull My Hair Back,” her debut. Lanza works in the less-is-more realm of R&B, bringing to mind Jessie Ware and the xx, and layers her breathy vocals over undulating jams. May 2, 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $14, $12 in advance. Great Scott. 800-745-3000,


FOALS As good as they are, Foals’ albums rarely capture the electricity and communal joy the English indie-rock band unleashes onstage. Touring behind 2013’s “Holy Fire,” Foals comes to town as the opening act for Cage the Elephant, another group whose songs hinge on majestic sweep. May 4, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $33.50. Orpheum Theatre. 800-745-3000,

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M.I.A. One of modern pop music’s true iconoclasts, this British-Sri Lankan rapper is a provocateur who makes mincemeat of Eastern and Western styles in the name of 21st-century innovation. Last year’s “Matangi” was another missive in her unruly catalog that has dared to be all things at once: pop and punk, hip-hop and experimental, mystical and manic. Hip-hop artist A$AP Ferg opens. May 5, 8 p.m. Tickets: $35-$45. House of Blues. 800-745-3000,


Folk, World & Country

JOY KILLS SORROW After eight years, this modern American stringband experiment in fusing indie-rock styles with acoustic instrumentation is coming to an end, although the door isn’t entirely closed, since its members are using the term “indefinite hiatus.” But before they go, they’re playing a final pair of shows tonight. May 1, 7 and 10 p.m. Tickets: $15. Lizard Lounge, Cambridge. 800-838-3006.

NICKEL CREEK One band ends (for now), another begins (again): Bluegrass/folk/acoustic outfit Nickel Creek disbanded seven years ago so that its members, who had been performing together since they were kids, could pursue other projects. They thought they’d do something to mark the 25th anniversary of the band — record a few songs, play a few gigs — and that turned into a full album and a tour. The Secret Sisters open. May 1, 8 p.m. Tickets: $29.50-$45. House of Blues. 800-745-3000.


MARTHA REDBONE ROOTS PROJECT Martha Redbone offers an unusual enough amalgam of styles as it is, bringing together the music of her Native American heritage with soul and funk, Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues. But she goes from unusual to singular on her most recent album, “Garden of Love,” the first released under the Roots Project name, by lyrically incorporating the poetry of William Blake into her music. May 2, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. Johnny D’s, Somerville. 617-876-4275,

RODNEY CROWELL Crowell’s just-released “Tarpaper Sky” finds the singer-songwriter returning to his musical past to work with the musicians with whom he made “Diamonds & Dirt,” the peak of his 1980s mainstream country success. And as its title — an allusion to the ramshackle house of his Houston childhood — intimates, it also finds him still mining personal history as a potent source of musical inspiration. May 7, 9 p.m. Tickets: $29. The Sinclair, Cambridge. 800-745-3000.


Jazz, Blues & Cabaret

JULIA & THE ZEROUNIAN ENSEMBLE An evening of international cabaret from scintillating singer Zerounian – performing French, Armenian, Persian, Yiddish, and Latin tunes, as well as American Songbook classics – accompanied by her pianist husband Sarkis Zerounian and his band featuring violin, accordion, saxophone, bass, and percussion. May 1, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $24. Regattabar. 617-395-7757,

CHRIS FITZ BAND The New England blues warrior is a red-hot guitarist, soulful belter, and fine songwriter, and he and his band reliably offer blues lovers the raw, rocking, red meat they crave. May 2, 8 p.m. Tickets: $12. Chan’s, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, RI. 401-765-1900,


VIJAY IYER SEXTET A free, al fresco concert – the grand finale of Harvard’s annual Arts First celebration – featuring the pianist/composer, MacArthur fellow, and Harvard faculty member acclaimed as one of the most innovative of contemporary jazz practitioners. With his crackerjack ensemble comprising cornetist Graham Haynes alto saxophonist Steve Lehman, tenor saxophonist Mark Shim, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. May 4, 2 p.m. Tickets: Free. Harvard University Science Center Plaza, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge. 617-495-8676,

JOHN TCHICAI MEMORIAL A group of some of Boston’s finest improvisers salutes the late, great Afro-Danish saxophonist and composer (1936-2012). With saxophonists Charlie Kohlhase and Jason Robinson, trumpeter Daniel Rosenthal, guitarists Garrison Fewell and Eric Hofbauer, bassist Aaron Darrell, and drummer Curt Newton performing Tchicai compositions. May 4, 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. Outpost 186, 186½ Hampshire St., Cambridge. 617-876-0860,



‘I PURITANI’ Boston Lyric Opera concludes its season with the Bellini favorite in a new production directed by Crystal Manich. Sarah Coburn and John Tessier head the cast. David Angus conducts. May 2-11, Shubert Theatre. 617-542-4912,

HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY Wrapping up its 199th season, the H&H period instrument orchestra and chorus perform Handel’s oratorio “Samson,” a work whose American premiere it gave in 1845. Harry Christophers conducts, Joshua Ellicott sings the title role, and Joélle Harvey sings Dalila. May 2 and 4, Symphony Hall, 617-266-3605 or

‘SUMEIDA’S SONG’ Boston Opera Collaborative offers the local premiere of this first opera by the Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz, with a libretto adapted from Tawfiq al-Hakim’s 1956 play “Song of Death.” Nathan Troup directs this production, and Andrew Altenbach conducts a cast of young singers. May 2-6, Somerville Theatre. 617-517-5883,

CELEBRITY SERIES Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is joined by violinist Anthony Marwood and clarinetist Martin Fröst for what looks to be a rewardingly eclectic program that includes works by Schubert and Debussy alongside Stravinsky’s “Histoire du Soldat” and Bartok’s “Contrasts.” May 2, Jordan Hall, 617-482-6661,