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CocoRosie is an American musical group formed in 2003 by sisters Bianca "Coco" and Sierra "Rosie" Casady. The sisters were born and raised in the United States, but formed the band in Paris after reconnecting for the first time in years. Their music has been described as "freak folk" and "New Weird America", and incorporates elements of pop, blues, opera, electronica, and hip hop.
Sierra (left) and Bianca Casady (right) in 2007
|Years active||2003 – present|
CocoRosie began as a duo, with Sierra singing, playing the guitar, piano and harp, and Bianca singing and manipulating various children's toys, electronic, percussion instruments, wind Instruments, as well as other exotic noisemakers. They subsequently added various backing musicians, usually a bassist, keyboardist, and beatboxer. They have been a very active touring group, playing across Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere. They have released six full-length albums: La maison de mon rêve (2004), Noah's Ark (2005), The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn (2007), Grey Oceans (2010), Tales of a GrassWidow (2013), and Heartache City (2015).
They are vocal feminists and published a feminist magazine in 2013, Girls Against God.
Sierra Casady was born in Iowa, and Bianca was born in Hawaii. When Sierra was about five years old and Bianca was three, their parents separated. The girls lived with their mother, Christina Chalmers, an artist and singer of Native American and Syrian Orthodox ancestry who grew up in Iowa. They moved to new towns almost every year, living in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Arizona. Because their mother believed that the girls would learn more doing art in the "real world" than in school, neither sister finished high school. Chalmers nicknamed her daughters "Rosie" (Sierra) and "Coco" (Bianca), from which the musical act takes its name.
The Casady sisters are now estranged from their father, Timothy Casady, an Iowa farmer and teacher who became interested in Native American religion and shamanism. As children, the sisters spent summers with him, while he visited Native American Reservations and took part in vision quests. The girls did not enjoy these experiences at the time, but later came to appreciate some of the things that interested him.
In 1998, at about age 18, Sierra moved to New York City. Two years later, she moved into a tiny apartment in the Montmartre district in Paris, France, to pursue a career as an opera singer, studying at the Conservatoire de Paris. During this period, Sierra lost contact with Bianca, who was living in New York City. Bianca studied linguistics and sociology, and pursued her passion of visual arts and writing.
In 2003, Bianca joined Sierra in Paris. The pair spent a summer producing music in Sierra's bathroom, chosen as the most acoustic and isolated room in the apartment. The songs feature vocals from both women, acoustic guitar played by Sierra and various other improvised instruments. The songs were compiled into their debut album La maison de mon rêve.
La maison de mon rêve was originally intended to be distributed among a close circle of the artists' friends. However, in 2004 the group was signed to the independent label Touch and Go Records which released the lo-fi album.
CocoRosie released their second album, Noah's Ark, in 2005. The album includes collaborations with Anohni from Antony and the Johnsons ("Beautiful Boyz"), Devendra Banhart ("Brazilian Sun"), and French rapper Spleen ("Bisounours"). The album was recorded in a variety of locations as the sisters traveled. The album's cover, a drawing by Bianca of three unicorns having sex while one of them vomits drops corresponding to the color spectrum, was selected by The Guardian and Pitchfork Media as one of the worst album covers of all time.
In 2006, Sierra started a side project, Metallic Falcons, with friend Matteah Baim. The project is signed to Voodoo Eros Records, a new label started by Bianca with business partner Melissa Shimkovitz. Bianca also opened the Voodoo Eros Museum Of Nice Items, an art gallery and performance space in New York City (123 Ludlow St) most recently home to an exhibition of Bianca's art Red Bone Slim VS. Itself: an Exhibition of Drawings.
CocoRosie's third full-length studio album, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, was released on April 10, 2007. It was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson, Björk's longtime collaborator. The songs are about the Casady sisters' family and their deceased brother. It was recorded at their mother's farm in the Camargue region of France. The album's cover is a photo by Pierre et Gilles that features Sierra as two women, and Bianca in drag. In a 2008 interview with AfterEllen.com, Bianca expressed surprise that many people do not realize she is queer, given that she frequently performs in drag.
In May 2007, while touring in support of The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn, the band was involved in an incident which resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the North American leg of the tour. No official explanation was released; vague and unconfirmed reports claimed that unidentified members of the band were arrested and deported while crossing the Canada–US border.
On May 13, 2008, CocoRosie released a new single entitled "God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me". The song was released digitally and as a 7" picture disc single (limited to 3000 pieces). The B-side of the 7" features a short and untitled song, which merely consists of noises. Though the picture on the B-side of the vinyl has lyrics from the song "Hairnet Paradise", which was previously only performed live, the actual song on the recording is very different.
The duo spent much of 2008 writing and recording in various locations such as New York city, Réunion, Paris and Berlin where they also teamed up with artist Neda Sanai that is the spoken word voice on the song "R.I.P Burn Face". In 2009, CocoRosie's relationship with Touch and Go Records became unclear. A self-released EP entitled Coconuts, Plenty of Junk Food was made available for sale exclusively at CocoRosie shows on June 3, 2009. The band was named the 16th most influential artist of the decade by betterPropaganda in 2009.
On June 5, 2012, CocoRosie released their double A-Side 7" single, "We Are On Fire", with Touch and Go Records. The cover art for the new single was a Twin Rivers collaboration between Bianca and Jesse Hazelip. Their fifth album, Tales of a GrassWidow, was released in the United States on May 27, 2013 on the City Slang record label.
On February 6, 2015, the duo confirmed via their Twitter account that a new record was in the works. Bianca also later confirmed on Twitter of an upcoming solo album. In August 2015, CocoRosie announced the new album, Heartache City, was set for release in late 2015. The duo also released a behind the scenes video on their YouTube account of themselves in the studio recording two songs for the album, "Hairnet Paradise" and "Big and Black."  On July 10, 2015, CocoRosie released a live version of a new song entitled "Heartache City" on their SoundCloud account, with the studio version to be released on their upcoming sixth album, . Shortly after, CocoRosie posted the full album to stream on their SoundCloud page. It was premiered on The Fader. The duo also released the music video for new song "Lost Girls" on Facebook. The album was eventually released in October 2015.
In October 2015, Bianca announced details of her solo project, Bianca Casady and the C.i.A, also featuring Takuya Nakamura (bass guitar and trumpet), Doug Wieselman (clarinet and e-guitar), Lacy Lancaster (drums), Jean-Marc Ruellan (piano) and Bino Sauitzvy (dance).
CocoRosie have been frequent collaborators of American avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson (director), composing scores to his award winning international productions including "Peter Pan" at the Berliner Ensemble, "The Fairy Tales of Pushkin" in Moscow and "Edda" at the Norske Theater in Oslo. They have also performed at The Watermill Center.
The duo released a new single entitled "Smoke 'em Out," featuring Anohni, on January 17, 2017, as a protest song against the presidential election of Donald Trump, while also confirming they have started work on a new album.
In 2005, sound illustrator Frédéric Sanchez used "Brazilian Sun", "Not for Sale" and "Good Friday" as part of the soundtrack he created for Miuccia Prada's spring 2006 show. The piece was called "Coco Rosie Through the Looking Glass". In 2008, music by CocoRosie was used in a Swedish rendition of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten), with Jonas Malmsjö playing Prince Hamlet. The song "Werewolf" is repeatedly sung by Ophelia and Hamlet throughout the play.
CocoRosie has composed two film scores, in 2005 for the French movie, Frankie and, in 2007, for the German movie, Haus der Wünsche (international: Paperbird). In 2007, their song "Candyland" was used in the film, Anna M., by Michel Spinosa. The songs "Bear Hides and Buffalo" and "Bloody Twins" are featured in the gay zombie film, Otto; or Up with Dead People (2008), by Bruce LaBruce. "Miracle", "Beautiful Boys" and "Honey or Tar" appear in the 2011 documentary Whores' Glory by director Michael Glawogger.
|Album and details||Peak positions||Certifications|
|La maison de mon rêve
|The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
|Tales of a GrassWidow||49||49||64||27||99||–||43|
- 2004: Beautiful Boyz (EP, Touch and Go Records)
- 2009: Coconuts, Plenty of Junk Food (EP, self-released)
|2008||"God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me"||–||Digital single (3,000 pieces sold on vinyl limited release), with an untitled track on the B-side, consisting mostly of noises and distorted singing|
|2010||"Lemonade"||74||From the album Grey Oceans|
|2012||"We Are On Fire / Tearz for Animals"||–||Recorded with Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), featuring Antony Hegarty, 7" and digital single|
|2013||"Gravediggress" (City Slang)"||–||From the album Tales of a GrassWidow|
|2017||"Smoke 'em Out"||–||Anti-Trump protest song, written for the Women's March on Washington, featuring Anohni|
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