Born to a Swedish mother and an American father, Rosa Rebecka grew up among the lakes and forests of southern Sweden. Coming from a musical family, she sang with her parents and siblings from an early age. She began to write songs and poetry at the age of five, and later learned to play the flute and guitar. She left Sweden for Devon in 1998 and spent three years at Dartington studying music, composing songs and playing with her fellow students.
After graduating, she went on to work as a musician for Wren Music, a Devon-based community arts charity. This work included leading choirs and music workshops, and performing her own songs as well as Swedish and English traditional songs in festivals, events and concerts.
In 2003, she recorded the album Water Carvings, a passionate collection of songs exploring love, loss, and mourning made in memory of her late husband Tom, a gentle and much-loved young man who died of cancer earlier that year. She has since regularly worked with Cancer Lifeline, singing for people who are dealing with the illness.
A live album, Boundless and More, recorded on Eliza Carthy’s tour, followed in 2005. She released her second studio album Untold in 2008, contrasting her own compositions with arrangements of traditional Swedish music, and leading BBC Music to hail her as a ‘fresh and altogether captivating talent’.
Rosa Rebecka now works mainly as a freelance singing practitioner. She runs an English folk Choir and a Swedish choir, gives individual singing tuition to people of all ages, and runs a singing course for Drama students at Plymouth University. This social side of music-making complements her performing career, which has seen her supporting some of Britain’s finest acoustic and folk artists, including Martin Carthy, Phil Beer and Cara Dillon.
Not only an outstanding vocalist but also a truly original and innovative songwriter, Rosa Rebecka continues to produce finely crafted songs which mix haunting narrative storytelling with a playful lyricism and sublime musicality. While her Swedish roots are never far below the surface, and she acknowledges the folk tradition of her adopted land, she has a timeless sensibility all her own. Her music owes as much to female singer-songwriters of her parents’ generation, such as Joni Mitchell, as it does to the centuries-old troubadours she loves.
Rosa’s performances are sometimes unusual, often intimate, always memorable. She writes for a bewildering array of instruments, which she sometimes makes her audience play for her. She loves to engage with an audience, whether drawing them in to a story with song or getting them clapping and stamping to the exhilarating rhythm of a Swedish polska. “I think being a performer is an art in and of itself,” she says “it’s in meeting with an audience that the songs come to life.”