Traditional Vocal Group ROSA is a New York based, all-female vocal ensemble that unites singers from 4 different continents with a mission to preserve and nurture the authentic form of traditional, non-tempered singing from Serbia.
The group was formed in New York, in 2014, by Marija Stojnic, documentary filmmaker and traditional Serbian music vocalist and Aleksandra Denda, vocalist, composer and Berklee College of Music Alumna. The concept of the ensemble was inspired by Marija's documentary titled Girl Who Opposed the Sun.
Songs that ROSA performs belong to one of the most heterogeneous musical traditions in the Balkans, and date decades, often centuries back and have been surviving in rural areas of Serbia and the surrounding countries. Irreducible to the Western tonal system, these songs are impossible to write down with precision and are carried on as an oral tradition.
ROSA has performed at numerous and critically acclaimed venues - The Kennedy Center, MoMA, Carnegie Hall, Boston University Theater, The Collective School of Music, Mendocino Festival, Golden Festival, as well as at fund-raising events for Balkan communities in need.
In 2018 ROSA performed at a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall titled Sounds of Serbia and Peace First Summit hosted by the philanthropist and Barack Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.
New York Folklore Society (NYFS), East European Folklife Center (EEFC), Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC), LeitMotiv Arts and Cambridge Global Arts have endorsed ROSA.
ONA by Thana Alexa
Marija is a filmmaker whose work intersects with performance and other art forms. ROSA embodies her dedicated research and work in preserving ancestral musical traditions and folklore art from Serbia. She remained with the group until her departure from New York, in 2015. Today she resides and makes films in Belgrade, Serbia.
Co-founder / Serbia
As much at home in Jazz and Neo Soul, as in traditional Balkan singing among other World Music genres, Aleksandra is a multifaceted vocalist, songwriter and a music educator. Years of singing music from different corners of the world eventually led her to delving deeper into her own heritage while building strong bonds with women from all over the globe.
Indian Singer-Songwriter, Shilpa Ananth, has a distinctive sound that blends South Indian folk melodies with Jazz, Soul, and RnB, while combining four languages - Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, and English, fusing genres from the East and West.
"Singing Serbian Traditional music with a group of multi-cultural, warrior women, has opened my ears and heart to a new, beautiful world, language, and style of music. My heart is full of love after every rehearsal and show with ROSA. "
Renowned for her complex musical sensibility and supple sound, Croatian vocalist Astrid Kuljanić has immersed herself in an eclectic variety of musical traditions from around the world.
"I decided to join ROSA because when I first heard them, I was enchanted by the eerie sound of the ensemble, so as a singer from Balkans this was the unique opportunity to learn these vocal styles in New York City."
Set apart by her bright, smooth tone and her innovative delivery, Raquel Rivera is a contemporary jazz and world music vocalist from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. In her music, she draws inspiration from her roots in Caribbean and Latin American music, as well as her love of traditional jazz.
"I love exploring such a unique art form and sharing in its richness with exceptional vocalists from around the world."
Joanna Schubert is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, pianist, music educator and curator, and a proud cat mama. She writes and performs her unique brand of synth-based lyrical indie-folk-pop under the name Oropendola.
"Singing and learning about traditional Serbian music and culture with a fierce group of women from all over the world is a joyful and humbling experience. Hands clasped, tuning into one another, our voices shape into a kind of force that holds and connects us, to the history of the human experience, to the earth, to the soul of it all."
Carolina Mama is an upcoming Argentinean Singer-Songwriter that blends an intimate singing style with masterful storytelling, integrating the heart of different cultures and a sense of imagination that takes the audience on a colorful journey.
"ROSA is a way of escaping to another world, as songs are more than words and music. With all the power that we create singing together, I believe the music carries you to another place where, no matter how much pain you felt, you will never feel alone."