RosieI was born and brought-up in Croydon, England. As a child, I experimented on the family piano, learned a few chords on the guitar and played the obligatory out of tune recorder with my school companions. I never managed to stick to more than a few lessons on any instrument or learn to read music properly.

1975-1977 Having left my hated school at the earliest opportunity I start at Croydon art college. While hanging out in the park next to the college I meet a musician who plays something called “traditional music”. He introduces me to others and to a whole new world of folk festivals, Irish music sessions and folk and blues clubs. At the same time through my arty college friends I discover the arrival of punk rock. ( The stark contrast between these two huge musical influences never even struck me – I simply loved them both ! )
Inspired by the friendly and forgiving atmosphere of folk clubs I begin singing in them as a duo with Bruce Hunter on guitar and mandolin. We expand to a group, Cara joined by Alan on guitar, bouzouki and vocals and the twins Pete and Chris Fyfe on various stringed instruments. We play mainly traditional Irish music and perform on the London folk circuit.
at Loughbourough College
1977-1980 I continue my studies moving on to Loughborough art college. I play with Cara at weekends and we are joined by my brother Chris on the fiddle. We do several tours in Ireland.

Cara1980-1981 Another year of studies this time at Brighton college of art. I meet Anthony McCartan at an Irish music session and we soon start playing together. He introduces me to Geoff Coombs and Steve Hodge who play with him in the group Churchfitters. I am wildly impressed by their show and join in with them at a few of their gigs.

1981-1983 I leave for Germany with Anthony McCartan. There I form the trio Dollop and then the group Fergus Fergus and the Fergus Fergus with Anthony on vocals, mandolin, whistle and bodhran, Steve on guitar and vocals, and Alistair on fiddle and mandolin. We play mainly in pubs plus the odd festival.

Dollop Fergus Fergus and the Fergus Fergus

Churchfitters in 19831983-1986 I return to England with Anthony. The Churchfitters re-form with me now as a permanent member. We play a wide mixture of music from swing right through to rock but always in our own folky style. We perform principally in East Anglia where Steve is now based playing countless gigs and become pretty well known in the area. We record our fist album in 1984.

The Lovely DucksAnthony and I also participated in Geoffs avant-garde pop group The Lovely Ducks until Ant fell out with its talented guitarist Steve Bywater.
The Churchfitters line-up is constantly fluctuating. Anthony and I record our first album as the Churchfitters Duo.

in Australia
1986 I travel to Australia with Anthony. We play in pubs around Sydney and then meet musician ’Captain Kangaroo’ at a folk festival. He is impressed by our show and organises a tour for us in and around Melbourne. We really developed our duo act during this period adding several instruments and some great songs written by Anthony.
Churchfitters with Nel
1986-1989 Later that year I return to Britain. I continue sucessfully in the Churchfitters Duo occasionally inviting along friends to form trios. We record two more albums in East Anglia.

1989-1993 I begin a period of travelling and leave for Europe in a camping car with Anthony. We seem to find gigs just about everywhere we go and when we don’t we play in the street. In between travelling we stay with Chris in London doing mostly pub gigs around South London.
We start playing a lot in France specially around Brittany and record a live album there.

duo in France - photo Sarah Furse duo poster - photo Sarah Furse

1993 I move to Britanny with Anthony. Chris joins us there with his fiddle. During the next ten years, the Churchfitters Trio perform many hundreds of gigs all over France and abroad and record five albums together.

Churchfitters trio Churchfitters trio

Voix de Pays 2002 Dome Saint Ave 2003

reunion concert 2003 six Churchfitters

I also play for a while in Gwazigan with Chris and the Quebec musician Bernard Simard.


2000 I form Swing Mania with Raphaël Chevalier on violin, ukelele and viola and Pierre-Henry Aubry on guitar, at last fullfilling my ambition to sing a repertoire of jazzy songs from the 20s and 30s which had been part of our show many years ago as the Churchfitters duo. We record our first album Boog It ! in 2004 and now continue as a quartet with double bass.

Swing Mania

2004 I am shocked to discover that Anthony McCartan is seriously ill. Chris and I invite Boris Lebret to join us in January for what is to be our last tour with Anthony – a long wished for return to play in England.
Friend of the band Topher Loudon joins us when Anthony becomes too ill to continue playing.
With the death of Anthony in September 24 years of collaboration come to an end.

2005 onwards I record my first album with the new Churchfitters line-up 'New Tales For Old'. We continue touring all over France and are are also particularly happy to begin touring in Britain again.

2007 onwards. The new line-up has prouved successful. We record our second album together 'Amazing', then the third 'Sing'. Gigs in France continue and our diary now also includes several UK tours every year

Churchfitters today

Rosie's instruments

Soprano Saxophone
Soprano Saxophone
Tin Whistle
Tin Whistle
Appalachian Dulcimer
Appalachian Dulcimer
more percussion
More Percussion
upcoming shows
downloads & press-cutting

home - video - site map - biography - discography - tour dates - shopping - press & technical - french version - contact


© Churchfitters, all rights reserved