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Rosalía live in Berlin: Awe for the Spanish pop queen

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Is big drama most impressive when it’s effortless? In any case, Rosalía seems as if it were the simplest thing in the world: leaving her audience speechless. The 30-year-old doesn’t need much for that: the stage of the sold-out velodrome is bright and simple, there is no live band, no outfit changes, just a few dancers. And yet she delivers a show that impresses completely.

However, Rosalía Vila Tobella always seems to start revolutions out of the blue: with her debut album “Los Àngeles” (2017) she reinvents flamenco and gives it a progressive image. You can suddenly hear coolness and innovation in him, at the same time Rosalías stages a vehement celebration of Spanish tradition.

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She knows what she is doing: she studied flamenco at the Escuela Superior de Música de Cataluña in Barcelona. Her second record “El mal querer” (2018) was also the final work of these studies – and finally catapulted the musician into the pop Olympus. And that worldwide, after she has long been considered a folk heroine in her Spanish homeland.

Rosalía has an outstanding feeling for subtleties and moments. She mixes styles on her albums in a way that is catchy and breathless at the same time. Bolero and reggaeton are combined, viscous trap incorporated, of course played with flamenco, in places you can hear punk, the drums bang your ears for a moment, only to end up back in bachata, the sugary pop from the Dominican Republic.

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The red thread in all this is the musician herself, whose crystal-clear voice is almost unbearably close and knows how to tickle you deep down, in your soul. Diamonds on your teeth and jogging pants to a historical sound? Rosalía fits what traditionalists eye with skepticism and seems so confident that you want to kneel in front of her.

With “Motomami” she released her most personal album this year, on which she deals with topics such as isolation, fears, feminism and self-empowerment. She was awarded four Latin Grammys for Best Production and Best Album, among others. On the cover she wears nothing but a motorcycle helmet, the album name is a compound that combines female vulnerability and mechanical dynamics.

“Motomami”, Rosalía, Columbia Records, 2022
© Columbia Records / Rosalía

Live, she translates the album into precisely that area of ​​tension: humanity and technology, soft tones and inflexibility, cool minimalism and full fleshiness. The audience is part of this production: the stage is equipped with numerous cameras, before everyone’s eyes an almost two-hour music film is created. Cuts and changes of perspective are easy, you don’t know where to look: screen and stage are equally appealing.

The musician’s outfit consists of knitwear and leather, motorbike cowgirl without being too harsh. She makes few announcements, but still seems extremely approachable, at the latest when she leaves the stage during the hit “La Noche de Anoche” and, equipped with a selfie camera, switches to the middle of the audience.

The question, “Hablas español?” is almost superfluous: Of course, most understand Spanish that evening, it seems as if the entire Spanish community of Berlin is in the Velodrom to celebrate their queen. And although the mood is heated, with dancing, laughing, screeching all the time (especially when the singer starts twerking) – on the quiet tones everyone is silent. You listen to Rosalía sing one of her ballads and her – real or well acted? – a tear rolls down the cheek.

With her live show, Rosalía has managed to create an excellent experience, beyond fireworks and confetti cannons. Instead, it is haunting, intense and entertaining, well accentuated and with a love of detail. When she ends the show on a ridiculously small e-scooter, taking aim at her martial motorcycle imagery, it’s clear: she also knows how to break up the drama. That’s how great pop works.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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