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 bookish music joining the passionate originality of Kate Bush with the narrative pyrotechnics of Leonard Cohen. The five song EP explores love, ambiguity, and transcendence.
An Italian Argentine American, Mari grew up in Boston surrounded by languages and sounds from three continents. 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, “Bicycle Wheel was not the logical follow up to Honeyspot. But it provided a totally new palette and even a new kind of story universe to play with. Going from writing the songs on the piano, to hearing five musicians play them together with orchestral instruments, felt like going from seeing in black in white to technicolor. It was exciting.”
Bicycle Wheel takes its name from a work of art by Marcel Duchamp. “Duchamp was known for being mischievous and even irreverent. When I saw his Bicycle Wheel, I could feel his passion and his playfulness. I wrote the first line of the title track right there in the gallery, ‘Your heart, my heart is kinetic art. Its moving parts traverse the way between.’ Bicycle Wheel is a love song and also a kind of thank you to Duchamp because his work opened a door in me. And I think that’s what art can do… it gives us the possibility to see life in a new way.”
Bicycle Wheel 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 so is life! I hope people find a welcome space in them and take them for their own.”