Celia Rose
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Celia Rose

Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Pop Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Documentary done on Celia Rose's group, Wrapped in Rain."


Wrapped In Rain Premier

August 23, 2005

Cecil Moller's “Wrapped In Rain In Namibia” and Children's Art, Essay and Poem Exhibit
To be Launched at 12 Wednesday at American Cultural Center Auditorium.
Namibia's international award-winning director Cecil Moller's latest documentary film, "Wrapped in Rain in Namibia" will have its premiere screening on 12 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24 at the American Cultural Center, Third Floor Sanlam Building. An exhibit of children's poems, essays and artwork from the U.S. Peace Corps Annual National Educational Tour will be unveiled at the same event.
The Bernard Nordkamp Youth Choir and the Vocal Motion Six, an all-male acappella group, also will perform during the ceremony.
The film will be screened free to the public at the following times: August 24 at 15h00, August 31 at 16h00 and 17h30 and September 7 at 16h00 and 17h30. The children's exhibition will be open to the public August 24 through September 9, from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday.
"Wrapped in Rain" is a 54-minute documentary portraying the April 2005 Namibian musical tour by Americans Celia Rose and Johannah Cantwell, who collaborated with Namibians to create music for youth on the theme of "A Celebration of Life through Song." Their performances and song writing workshops sent messages of self-esteem, good health, and HIV/AIDS prevention to Namibian youth.
The film depicts the creative collaborative process with jazz singer Sharon van Rooi, Nelson Jackson and the Bernard Nordkamp Youth Choir, and Vocal Motion Six, who performed with the American duo at the National Theater of Namibia. The film also documents their songwriting workshops with children across Namibia, in which children created their own songs about positive living.
The Peace Corps second annual “National Education Tour" is an exhibit of children's poems, essays and artwork on the theme of diversity. The 30 winning entries on display were chosen by the Peace Corps Diversity Committee from among 400 entries from secondary school learners from throughout Namibia.
For further information, please contact Information Assistant, Roger Lyners, at 229801 (ext. 206) - http://windhoek.usembassy.gov/august_23_2005.html

"TAXI Review"

"These are wonderful, charming, fun, upbeat, positive songs with terrific vocals." - TAXI

"Celia Rose: Globetrotting Tales Steeped in Inspirational Folk"

“It sounds funny to say, but I was huge there,” says singer Nancy Kujawinski of the year she spent charming the locals in Haiti. “I’d walk down the street and people would point at me.”

Having followed her diplomat boyfriend (now her husband) to Port-au-Prince in 2000, the previously-unknown singer-songwriter quickly made friends with an influential media executive, and, before she knew it, was being featured on radio and television and playing shows with enormously popular local bands. Her blend of folk and pop was well-received, and as a rare fair-skinned woman in town, she generated tremendous curiosity.

“There were lots of kidnappings at the time, and the fact that I was a white girl walking around by myself was not advised,” she says. “But if I got in trouble, I had this big walkie-talkie I could use to call the Marines.”

Raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama, Kujawinski is an earthy talent who, under the stage name Celia Rose, performs regularly at New York City venues like Arlene’s Grocery and the Bowery Poetry Club. She also studies songwriting and cultural awareness as a New York University graduate student, and teaches songwriting to elementary school kids in Harlem.

Though still fairly unknown in the US, she has managed to build up a substantial following in far-flung locales like France, sub-Saharan Africa, and Haiti. Early next year, she will release her second solo CD, One Voice, a musical travelogue of sorts featuring songs inspired by her globetrotting adventures. “Esperance” concerns Haitian human rights activist Pierre Esperance and features lyrics in French and Haitian Creole, while “Nellie” is a biographical tale about her rebellious elderly downstairs neighbor in Paris. “Nellie’s lived here now for 90 years,” Kujawinski sings. “She was born, had her children, lost her husband here / In the Second World War, when sirens screamed for all to hide / She stood on the balcony and refused to go inside.”

Barefoot and clad in a brown, floral print dress this morning, Kujawinski speaks of her travels from her sunny Brooklyn Heights apartment, often interrupting her narratives with DVD clips of her shows or appreciations of the artwork on her walls. (Particularly vibrant is the painting of the Haitian peasant woman surrounded by bananas, pineapple, and breadfruit.) She also breaks spontaneously into song occasionally; her tunes range from the inspirational to the historical, drawing on influences like Patty Griffin, Nanci Griffith, Tori Amos, and Bob Dylan.

Complementing Kujawinski's vocal skills and guitar chops are her gregarious personality and wild spirit, which have contributed greatly to her success. She’ll instantly befriend just about anyone she comes across, and the shifting cast of backing players who accompany her onstage are mostly people she’s met on the streets of New York. (She introduced herself to violinist Daisy Jopling in the subway, and to cello player Valerie Kuehne in Brooklyn Heights, for example.) Something about her aw-shucks demeanor and unassuming good looks make people trust her immediately.

But this isn’t always a good thing. In early 2003, Kujawinski and her husband moved to Paris, where she befriended a toothless music producer. She hired him to put together some of her songs, and since he needed a place to stay because all his money was tied up in building a studio in a nearby castle, she let him crash at their place for the weekend. Not surprisingly, he took advantage of their generosity. “He would not leave for four months,” Kujawinski remembers. “We had to get the keys from him. I knew something was wrong when I saw an email from his aunt that said, ‘No, we can’t send you another $100.’”

She had a better Parisian experience with a duo called Wrapped in Rain, which she formed with another American expatriate named Johannah Cantwell. The women shared the guitar and keyboard duties, and they played regularly around France and southern Europe. At the time, Kujawinski was teaching English at the US Embassy to support herself, and this led to a musical opportunity. The head of a State Department program, Africa Regional Services, invited Kujawinski and Cantwell to develop an English workshop set to music, which they ended up performing before a group of students in Togo. The workshop was a success, and the pair was later sent to Mozambique and Madagascar, all on the State Department’s dime.

Over the next four years, Wrapped in Rain became cultural ambassadors, touring all around Africa in small planes and cars, hosting songwriting workshops in places like South Africa, Namibia, and Morocco. The focus was often self-empowerment. “We wrote songs about respect,” Kujawinski remembers, “and for the women to empower themselves. It was crazy. They have absolutely no power in these societies.”

The songs had titles like “I Have Love for Me”, and, in the case of one particularly memorable anthem, “Use Protection” (part of their mandate was to talk about AIDS prevention). The only problem was that the religious mores of some areas prohibited such frank talk. “One time in Kimberley, South Africa, a State Department official jumped up on stage and put a post-it note on the podium that said, ‘Don’t talk about condoms!’,” Kujawinski remembers. Other African tours took them to countries like Rwanda—where they stayed in what they were told was the country’s fanciest hotel (it looked a bit like a Motel 6)—and Mozambique, where they taught a group of native teachers the “Hokey Pokey.”

One Voice features songs from Kujawinski’s African adventure, as well as tracks which are more personal. “Little” was inspired both by the news that her father-in-law has cancer and by recollections about her own father’s death from cancer six years ago. “Southern Woman” is told from the perspective of the state of Alabama, calling her back home.

The truth of the matter is that Kujawinski could live just about anywhere, and feels comfortable wherever she happens to be. “Some people like to plan what they’re going to do, but I like not knowing what I’ll end up doing, where life is going to take me,” she says. “I like the surprise factor, and the challenge.”
- Crawdaddy!


Celia Rose - full length solo album released on Watertown Records in 2000

Butterfly - full length album produced by Wrapped in Rain in Paris, France.

Stories - most recent album released in October 2009

Radio play in Namibia, South Africa, Togo, Mozambique, Madagascar, Rwanda and Burundi. Radio interviews and TV interviews done in all these countries
Radio play for Celia Rose album in Haiti. (songs played: "Rough Hands" and "Can't go back")



Celia Rose has spent most of her music career performing outside of the United States, in places as varied as Haiti, Israel, France, Rwanda, and Canada.  Wherever she goes, she brings her indie-folk-pop style, while also diving deep into the musical traditions of the countries she visits.  The result is a wild, often exotic, and always unique musical blend, showcasing the diversity of our world and the stories that bind us together.

 A prolific singer/songwriter, Celia’s music ranges across the spectrum of human experience.  Her songs can brim with optimism, fearlessness, love, and the constancy of change.  Others slow down and reflect on paths not taken, and the loss of innocence.  Her vocal style, a cross between Natalie Maine’s strength and Dolly Parton’s quick vibrato, along with her naturally warm and approachable stage presence, draws in listeners and always leaves them wanting to hear more.

 Her latest album, Zig Zag, was recorded in Canada at the prestigious OCL studios in Calgary.  It is her fourth full length album, but the first to be produced by award winning producer/mixer Spencer Cheyne, with performances by top Canadian musicians such as Russell Broom (guitarist for Jann Arden).  The album is getting spins on over a hundred radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Songs from Zig Zag have been licensed by 13 TV networks including Discovery Network, E!TV and The Real World.

 Raised in a Jewish, vegetarian family in the middle of the deep South, Celia learned piano and guitar from her family, but her voice training was initially her own doing.  “I sang everything and I sang it loud!  It drove my brothers crazy on car rides.”  Her first songwriting experiences started around the age of 10 when she began writing poetry and singing her poems onto cassette tapes.  Madonna was her childhood idol, but soon she discovered the Indigo Girls and fell in love with their lyrics and harmonies.  Other influences included Tori Amos, Nanci Griffith, Joni Mitchell and Ani Difranco.  Some of her current favorites include Sara Bareilles, KT Tunstall, Dar Williams and Christina Perri. 

 After studying at Washington University in St. Louis, Celia completed her first studio album and then in 2001, moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  There, she performed on Haiti’s national radio and shared the stage with top Haitian bands RAM, Boukman Experienz, and Belo.  After Haiti, Celia spent 4 years in Paris, where she started the band Wrapped in Rain with fellow singer/songwriter Johannah Cantwell.  They performed regularly around Paris and completed a full length studio album in 2005, entitled Butterfly.  Using Paris as their base, they toured 9 countries in Africa as Cultural Ambassadors for the U.S. State Department, performing and co-writing songs about respect, women’s empowerment and hope.

After Paris, Celia settled in New York City, where she received a Master’s degree from New York University, studying the use of songwriting to benefit at-risk youth.  Meanwhile she taught songwriting in Harlem and also completed her 3rd full length album, Stories, and her first music video, Little. 

Returning to Haiti, Celia worked with Sean Penn’s J/P HRO organization, writing songs with students living in a tent city after the horrific earthquake.  She sang throughout the city, to crowds of Haitians and expats working on earthquake relief.  After one of her shows, Sean Penn came up to her and called her performance “sensational!”

 From Haiti, Celia landed in Calgary, Canada, a hub of music in the frozen north. In addition to recording Zig Zag, she became involved with Every Woman Foundation, writing their theme song and acting as music coordinator to put together the compilation album, Be Yourself, released on U.S. record label Luxury Wafers in 2014 and including co-writes with Dan Hill and Sophie Serafino.

After many years of traveling and living around the world, Celia moved back to the States and recently settled in Chicago.  She lives there with her husband, a novelist, and their three young children.  She writes songs to accompany his novels, the most recent of which made the NY Times Bestseller list.  Her songs are included in the audiobook versions of the books. 


Band Members