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Rosa Rebecka Untold Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

Expect to see and hear much more of this fresh and altogether captivating talent.

Michael Quinn 2008

Three years in the making, Rosa Rebecka's second studio album is crammed with beguiling, lovely self-penned songs. Shot through with shards of bittersweet regret about places and people loved, lost and now lamented, Untold showcases a distinctive talent.

Based in Devon and of Swedish-American parentage, Rebecka has a lyrical, sun-dappled and golden voice, tinged with a hint of steely moonlight that brings to mind Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, although she is decidedly less mannered than both. Happily, she also refuses the assumptions of martyrdom, actual or vicarious, that her illustrious predecessors were prone to.

If anything, Untold is a markedly lighter album than 2003's debut Water Carvings and 2005's Live: Boundless And More. But it is alike in being packed with well-crafted tracks, beautifully delivered.

Three traditional Swedish songs, prime among them the heart-rending Jag Unnar Dig Ändå Allt Gott, sung in both Swedish and English, and the traditional Jewish song, Shema, add their own touches of exotica to proceedings. But it is Rebecka's own material that compels the attention here.

Heartfelt and haunting in equal measure, Purple catches the emotional ambiguity at the heart of Rebecka’s world just as Boundless proves a sublime hymnal. On Forgiveness is moving and powerful in its plaintive under-statedness, while in contrast, Raggle Taggle is a bright and buoyant tale of the enduring quality of love.

Rob Waite's production eloquently frames Rebecka's voice with the simplest of acoustic arrangements, her self-accompaniment on guitar deliciously ornamented by Georgie Watts on vibraphone, Paul Wilson’s piano accordion, fiddle players Becki Driscoll and Nick Wyke, and the warm resonant double bass of Rowan Massey.

On the strength of this offering, another three-year wait for new material from Rebecka would be a cruel delay. Expect to see and hear much more of this fresh and altogether captivating talent.

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