Sometimes all you want is a handful of chords and some yea yea yeas. And sometimes you want a story — a riddle, a clue, a risk.
On her latest EP, Bicycle Wheel, Mari Rosa shares emotive, lush, and literate music joining the passionate originality of Kate Bush with the narrative pyrotechnics of Leonard Cohen. The five song EP explores love, ambiguity, and transcendence.
“Music and the arts have the capacity to go right into the heart of awe – to the intense feelings we have a hard time naming. That’s the essence of this EP.” says Mari.
An Italian Argentine American, Mari grew up in Boston surrounded by languages and sounds from three continents. “A song can be anything – an energetic banger, a troubadour’s poetry, a call to social, political, or personal transformation. I love the greats from the US to the Southern Cone of Latin America, from Europe and Africa. My ears had a passport long before I did, and artists were my first music teachers.”
Before recording Bicycle Wheel, Rosa cut her teeth as a Latin Jazz singer writing and producing a trilingual record called Honeyspot. After performing and collaborating with Latin Grammy winner, Fernando Otero, Richie Morales, Emmy winner, José Cancela, and Cuban legend, Cachao, she was surprised to find herself writing an indie-pop album. Says Mari, “I will always sing Jazz and Latin Jazz, but Bicycle Wheel is ME. I’m a songwriter. I listen to the muses. They said, “you’re writing an indie pop EP with orchestral strings,” and I said, “let’s go!”
Bicycle Wheel takes its name from a work of art by Marcel Duchamp. “Duchamp was funny. When I saw his Bicycle Wheel, I knew nothing about him but I got it. A light went on in my brain and I wrote the first line of the EP in the art museum, ‘Your heart, my heart is kinetic art. Its moving parts traverse the way between.’”
The title track went on to be a Top Five winner in the Great American Song Contest singer-songwriter category. Four more songs followed from a funny exploration of love as a Conspiracy Theory, to a warm look at Mari’s least favorite season, “Winter is not dead it bows its humble head covered in Vologda lace,” to a battle cry to resilience in Beautiful Prize. “The songs on Bicycle Wheel are unusual but never precious. I hope people find a welcome space in them and take them for their own.”