New Zealand-born Jill Rogoff lives in Jerusalem. With a growing international reputation for sensitive interpretation of traditional music, her hallmark clear soprano voice explores an uncommonly wide repertoire from the British Isles - lyrical songs, ballads and other genres -- to material from the depths of the Celtic tradition (in the original languages) and choice contemporary offerings. In recent years, she has also begun to enrich her programs with medieval and Renaissance music. Her interpretation of traditional Sephardi music is earning her a place of considerable respect in the Israeli Sephardi community. In addition, she writes songs and has also set to music poems in several languages.
For many years, Jill appeared at Jacob's Ladder Folk Festival, the national folk-music event in Israel, and the Abu Ghosh Vocal Festival, and has sung on Israel National Radio on many occasions. While she usually sings solo, she has sung with a wide range of musicians in Israel and Great Britain. Her recent tours in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have all been highly successful.
In 1998 she sang Schubert lieder in a series of concerts in Israel and has continued her classical music studies with Judi Axelrod, Neil Jenkins, Philip Griffin, Evelyn Tubb and Anthony Rooley, Poppy Holden and Margaret Peckham. Her study of early music has continued with participation in international workshops in Europe with The Dufay Collective, Vivien Ellis, Sirinu, Shira Kammen, members of the Boston Camerata, Marcin Bornus-Szczycinski and Oswald Hebermehl.
Having completed two years of Ladino study, Jill is now exploring the world of Sephardi romansas (old ballads), which she hopes to record in the future. She is already incorporating the completed editions in her concerts. Jill recorded five new Ladino songs for a compilation album, Di Ke No Es Tadre, which was released in 2002 to international acclaim.
Jill was a founding member of the IFS, the national folk music association in Israel, and was editor of its monthly publication, Folk Notes, for a year. She is also a founding member of Nevel: the Jerusalem Harp Network, formed in 2002.
excerpts from reviewers' comments
"Her performance...was another world... here the high standard - a wondrous experience... -- was [achieved] precisely because of the restraint, the intimacy, the spare approach. Rogoff has a voice that caresses; and accompanying herself on lap harp and guitars, she introduced the folk-music tradition of the British Isles (in English and several forms of Gaelic) with a long and delightful flow of humanity and gentleness..." [Haggai Hitron (translation from the Hebrew), Ha'aretz, 2002]
"Jill Rogoff delighted her listeners with songs from Israel and all over the world... Her clear soprano voice persuaded with its charming unobstrusiveness and is evidence of her extremely sensitive interpretative abilities: with soft vibrato and skilfully used variations and enrichments of voice, she enticed her guests to listen curiously to the almost forgotten, mysterious chants of old times... She maintained friendly eye-contact with the audience, as if she were singing for everyone personally." [Julianne Martin (translation from the German), Marburger Neue Zeitung, 2003]
"It takes a very special talent... to perform unplugged in a language no-one of the... audience will understand, and still command attention such that you could hear a pin drop... It takes a special person who can be in full feeling of a Scots Gaelic mourning song just as some fool's cell phone begins to ring relentlessly and to keep going without skipping a beat... Jill Rogoff was that very special person during her recent performance at Yad HaShmona to a sold-out house. It was a lovingly selected series of ...British Isles songs...While her never-forced and flowing voice is her forte, her exquisite lap harp has become her constant companion... a fine complement to the music... The arrangements were well thought out and enhanced by her ringing finger cymbals ... and gentle drumming ... It was a fine hour far from the maddening world at large." [Folk Notes, Israel, September 2002]
"A major part of Jill's success with her audience is the delightful way she tells the story behind each ... song... Her gentle sense of humor relaxed the room... Has anyone described Jill lately as 'a singer of songs of the British Isles'? One who does so has not kept up with her ever-expanding repertoire, in which Ladino now figures prominently... I have had the pleasure of listening to Jill's exquisite and compelling voice for some fifteen years, during which she has honed and developed that voice to heights that [it is] no exaggeration to describe as celestial. We are all of us fortunate to have this rose in our little garden, where sometimes the briars seem all too many." [Folk Notes, Israel, February 2002]
"Rogoff has a gorgeous voice and a lovely stage personality." [The Jerusalem Post, 1998]
"...it was folksinger Jill Rogoff who really stole the show." [The Jerusalem Post, 1993]
"Folk music can make one laugh, clap and sing out loud, but it may be just as likely to mesmerize an audience with quiet, evocative song. This is just what happened with Jill Rogoff's new program of folk music." [Folk Notes, Israel, March 1990]
Jill's solo albums:
The King's Well (JR 004)
" What a nice job you've done. The songs are lovely and I think you've done a particularly nice job of recording. The recorded sound is clear and right up front." -- Tom Paxton
"...there is such emotional wisdom in her lyrics -- personal, yet universal!"
" A beautiful production in every respect -- from the outside cover to the last note on the inside."
" I've been playing it and playing it and playing it: it's brilliant. "
" The result is beyond anything I could have expected, and my expectations from Jill's recordings are never low. "
" Jill has truly given of her spiritual being to these songs and we are the richer for being able to hear them. I am always deeply moved when I listen to the Ladino CD and this latest one sends me down my own memory trail... "
" Jill's new cd is superb. The words are very touching; the music, as always, is wonderful. "
"It's a very gentle and personal statement that she's done. Her music is very special."
"Such a treat... I love it! It is so nice to have all her wonderful songs."
"...such a wonderful mixture. All those exquisitely sad and melting Rogoff melodies... I shall listen and listen to it..." -- Helen McNeish, journalist
The Celtic Cradle (JR 002)
"Rogoff's silken soprano and spare arrangements... enrich the songs without overpowering them - bring out the warm glow of these ancient treasures. The album features a heavenly version of the Welsh Suo Gan." [Moira McCormick, Billboard Magazine]
"The world's most breathtakingly beautiful lullabies come from the Celts, and Jill Rogoff renders them exquisitely. Her angelwing-pure voice floats through these nighttime airs... All the selections are enchanting, but a particular favorites is the Welsh Suo-Gan... presented here a cappella, the better to savor its melodic sublimity." [Family Fun, USA]
"This is the voice of an angel!... Jill's angelic soprano voice, coupled with her knowledge of languages, allows her to sing songs of many cultures with authenticity... Her voice is the primary instrument on the recording. Although these are lullabies, this is not a recording to put yourself to sleep. You would be doing yourself a great disservice if you miss the daydreams brought forth by these songs." [Kyle Reese, Into the Music, USA]
"Jill captures a mood of quiet and peace throughout. Well done." [John Coy, U.K.]
"Jill Rogoff... possesses a clear, gentle and disarming voice perfectly suited to this varied collection..." [John O'Regan, broadcaster, Ireland]
"It is a joy to see work as unique and fine as hers!" [Parent's Choice, USA]
"A lovely collection of... Celtic lullabies from... Jill Rogoff... possessed with a beautiful, lilting voice, and crystalline delivery..." [Tim Tavcar, The Label, USA]
Across the Narrow Seas (JR 003)
"Jill's voice... comes through true, rich, clear and vibrant. Across the Narrow Seas is Jill Rogoff at her best. Those that know her music will understand just how good that is and those that don't, would be well advised to find out at their earliest convenience." [Folk Notes, 1997]
"The essential thing about Jill Rogoff is her voice, an instrument of great purity. She often turns in performances that are quietly stunning in their own understated way... a quietly uplifting experience." [John O'Regan, broadcaster, Ireland]
"...a beautiful CD. Lovely recorded sound. Jill Rogoff's voice is very clear and every word makes its mark." [Sean Day-Lewis, writer, U.K.]
"Jill Rogoff's latest recording is pure magic. She gets better all the time. Her voice has a purity of sound which remains in the ear like a fine high bell... the a cappella singing is wonderful." [Helen MacNeish, journalist, New Zealand]
"...this marriage of talent and cultural tradition is absolutely golden... a musical pot o' gold." [Tribune, USA]
"Her clear, lilting soprano and intelligent, lyrical interpretations set this album apart from the vast number of others in this genre." [Tim Tavcar, The Label, USA]