Love this instrument by Leafcutter John, I've actually seen him perform live with it a couple of times (ah remember when we used to go to concerts!).
This is definitely possible with Bela. Instead of using Max/MSP you would use Pure Data as your programming language. We support Pure Data as it is fully open source and runs embedded on Bela. If you would like to get an idea of what it is like working with Bela and Pure Data I highly recommend having a look at our new course: https://learn.bela.io/tutorials/pure-data/fundamentals/course-introduction/
On Bela you have 8 high quality analog inputs which you could use for connecting the LDRs. Then use the signals from these sensors to control sample manipulation and playback in your patch, no problem. Have a look at the sample examples in the course for an idea of how the patch would look. There are also circuit diagrams for connecting LDRs in FM synthesis example.
The benefits of using Bela over an Arduino and MaxMSP is that there is no need for an extra computer once you have finished programming the board. You can just set your project to run on boot every time the board powers up. All you need then is a power source for the board and your project will start running, a common 5V phone charger works very well. See here for a guide on how to do this: https://learn.bela.io/using-bela/bela-techniques/running-projects-on-boot/
If you would then like to build a more complex interface with many more LDRs then you could use the Multiplexer capelet on top of a Bela cape, which extends the number of analog inputs up to 64: https://shop.bela.io/collections/extras/products/multiplexer-capelet (we have an order of these in progress and they'll be back in stock very soon).
I hope that answers your questions, please let me know if you have any more.