Born in Licata, Sicily in late 1920s, her father was a peddler and, like many Sicilians of the time, couldn’t send his children to school. In 1951 Rosa left her native village for Florence, Tuscany where at the age of 39 she started her artistic career. Rosa recorded her first two albums the following year, in 1967 and performed at Teatro Carignano in Turin, at Teatro Manzoni in Milan and at Teatro Metastasio of Prato. In 1971, a now renowned Rosa Balistreri returns after twenty years of exile in Sicily, where she will resonate the same stamp powerful voice until her death.
Often in dramatic style, her songs depict Sicily as her friend Leonardo Sciascia describes: violent, tender, bitter, sweet, full of ambiguities, in short. Nicknamed the Soprano of the South, Balistrieri, tells misfortunes but also the beauties and mysteries of Sicily.