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Overcomes catastrophic near-death injury – Mt. Airy musician/photographer hits all the right notesby Tamara Anderson and Len LearSeveral years ago, Mt. Airy resident Rosa Diaz had an accidental fall that left her back, pelvis and bones in both feet broken. The medical team that worked on her at Einstein Northern Medical Center “was not sure if I’d live, let alone walk,” said the comely professional photographer/musician who is the co-host of the Big Folkin’ Experiment at Earth Bread and Brewery.“It took me about a year to fully walk again. I’m very fortunate. I get to dance now. The head of orthopedic surgery (at Einstein) happened to be doing his once-monthly ER shift. The whole team did a great job. I get compliments from podiatrists and other doctors on the work they did.”Rosa, who studied the violin for six years starting in middle school, was aided in her recovery by music. “There was a music therapist in the hospital who helped me re-connect with songwriting again,” said Rosa, whose ultimate goal is “to honor what it is I’m here to do, which has something to do with connecting with brokenness through art and to honor that and heal it. Like the project I’m working on now. It’s a healing album for broken men who like Charles Bukowski.” The album, “For Boys Who Like Bukowski: A Healing Album for Broken Men,” aims at fusing together songs, images and text “to stitch old wounds and regenerate DNA.”(Bukowski, 1920-1994, was a German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. It was marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women and the drudgery of work. In 1986 Time magazine called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife.”)Singer/songwriter Rosa Diaz was born in Puerto Rico and moved to North Philadelphia at the tender age of 3 with her parents and two older brothers. Music has always been a fixture in her life since her father still is a musician, and her mother was a choir director. Rosa has been singing and playing instruments since she was 8. The family moved to Olney, but she did not like getting up early to participate in her high school's music program so she continued to study music privately.
Rosa considers herself a performance artist. She has been playing professionally for the last three years. When she plays the guitar or the violin and sings, you realize that you are in the presence of someone who truly understands how fine art and music intersect.Her pathway has not been an easy one. She believes that deliberate spiritual introspection allows her to live fully without fear. When you listen to her sing, you might be reminded of Norah Jones or Kate Bush. Her vocals are filled with emotion and honesty.She is currently working on a second album that centers on healing, as mentioned earlier. How can she better understand or identify with the opposite sex? This is one of the many questions driving her songwriting process. In understanding relationships, she is working on collaborations with other musicians/singers to take this musical journey with her. Ms. Diaz describes the songwriting process as “finding a moment with an emotional connection and letting the music flow from there.”Rosa’s first album, ‘Whim,’ focused on family and love. It features musical ingredients of bare-bones acoustic guitar blended with Latin-American folk music and layers of church-inspired choral harmonies in a bilingual collection. There are some photos of her family that grace the cover and inside the CD. The music and photography represent her dual passions. You can see samples of her photography at www.auroranayeli.com (Aurora Nayeli Photography).In addition to her bi-weekly performances at Earth Bread and Brewery, Rosa has played numerous coffee shops, private house concerts and art galleries. Last Saturday, for example, Rosa played at the Imperfect Gallery, 5601 Greene St. in Germantown. “I prefer house concerts and less conventional venues,” she said. “I love to sing at galleries and collaborate with fine artists. I’m not a big fan of bar gigs. Galleries are great venues. Art enthusiasts tend to be super attentive; they listen! plus there’s always wine and cheese for everyone! Recently I did a performance at the Twisted Tail in center city with the Philly Folk Song Society and Musicians Co-op. It was fun. but traffic and parking! My god. Next time I’ll take a cab!”Rosa’s artistic philosophy might be summed up by this quote on her website from the legendary Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986): “A writer, or any man, must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument; everything has been given for an end. This is even stronger in the case of the artist. Everything that happens, including humiliations, embarrassments, misfortunes, all has been given like clay, like material for one’s art. One must accept it. For this reason I speak in a poem of the ancient food of heroes: humiliation, unhappiness, discord. Those things are given to us to transform, so that we may make from the miserable circumstances of our lives things that are eternal, or aspire to be so.”Future concerts, events, and contact info can be located at Rosa’s website, www.fruittartrecords.com.(See this story on the Chestnut Hill Local site here.)