When we first reported that Roma di Luna would be parting ways about two months back, the band insisted that they would give fans one last chance to see them in action this December, where they planned to host a pair of farewell shows.
Now, with no explanation given, Roma di Luna have canceled their final Cedar Cultural Center shows on December 17 and 18 with no plans to reschedule them. In other words, the band is officially done.
Roma di Luna first emerged locally in 2006 with their sparse, sweet duet EP Face of My Friends . For those already familiar with Alexei Moon Casselle, who raps under the name Crescent Moon, it was a dramatic leap from his work in hip-hop groups Oddjobs and Kill the Vultures and showcased his newfound skills on acoustic guitar. The EP also served as Channy Moon Casselle's musical debut, and her otherworldly, haunting voice was a welcome surprise for local music listeners.
Over the years, more musicians were added to the band and Roma di Luna grew first into an Americana act and, more recently, a soul band with horns and swinging beats. It was this most recent incarnation that earned them heavy airplay on the Current (single "Before I Die" was especially popular on the station, perhaps because of its similarity to songs by Current darling Sharon Jones) and allowed them to create a sound commanding enough to fill the First Avenue Mainroom, where they performed at this year's Current Birthday Party and also, memorably, last year for a benefit for the Electric Fetus.
When I spoke to Channy recently, she indicated that Roma di Luna had actually made the decision to dissolve at the beginning of the year, though they intended to honor their remaining scheduled shows. The Cedar shows were intended to be a final goodbye for the band -- but anyone who caught Roma di Luna's set at SoundTown this year can tell you that Alexei had already stopped performing with the group. For whatever reason, the band's founders couldn't reconcile long enough to soldier through their final shows, and so their journey has come to an end as quietly as it started.
Both Alexei and Channy will be performing in other projects this week: Kill the Vultures will perform at the Loring Theater on Friday night as part of the Cloak Ox's EP-release show, while Channy's new band Polica will play a last-minute free show tonight at the Kitty Cat Klub with No Regular Play, Matthew Dear, and Pat Morita.
For now, we'll leave you with this video of one of their earliest songs, a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "In An Aeroplane Over the Sea."
UPDATE: Alexei has posted a statement about the cancelation on his personal blog, writing that, "As many people following Roma di Luna have already suspected, the split runs deeper than the disbanding of a musical project, thus, it would not feel right to gather one last time and celebrate. It is simply the time to move on and let go. None of the band members reached this conclusion lightly, but it is the right thing to do for all of us."