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The Roches: A Sisterly Trio with Holiday Cheer

The Roches are Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche — three sisters who have made their mark in folk music with quirky song lyrics and intricate harmonies.

Originally from New Jersey, the Roches started singing together when they were young; encouraged by their father, the Roche sisters remember traveling around the state with the governor, standing on the back of a truck and singing political songs.

The sisters say they did not start out with the dream of becoming big stars; they simply wanted to have fun and say something important — an attitude they attribute to their experience growing up in the 1960s.

Over the course of 30 years, they have performed individually, together, and in collaboration with other artists. They have amassed glowing reviews, a dozen CDs and a loyal following.

Their lighthearted songs and playful lyrics — with titles such as "Jesus Shaves" and "Piggy Mask" — are humorous takes on everything from married men to wool sweaters.

They joke that writing complex, difficult harmonies is a good way to get out their sibling aggressions. And they say you don't have to close your eyes when you sing — but it helps: "When you can see, your sight gets in the way of your hearing," they say.

During the holidays, The Roches join forces with their brother, David, and percussionist Marlon Cherry. They perform favorites from their long musical career as well as songs from their Christmas album, We Three Kings.

The sisters perform a live holiday concert in NPR's Studio 4A, and talk about their new album Moonswept.

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