Rosalía review – flamenco dragged thrillingly into the 21st century

Village Underground, London
Repackaging an age-old art form for a modern audience is a risky business – but the Catalonian executes it with aplomb in an evening of gloriously global pop

As Latin pop continues to send shockwaves through the charts, young artists from the Spanish-speaking world are taking advantage of the renewed interest in their rich musical heritage. Over the past year, Bad Gyal has been perfecting her moody, heavily Auto-Tuned take on reggaeton; now, 25-year-old Rosalía, also from Catalonia, is winning fans by hauling the folk art of flamenco into the 21st century, fusing that tradition with the sounds of bleeding-edge electronica and nu-R&B.

Judging by her debut London show – a slick, storming set that pulses with aggressive self-assurance – Rosalía has no doubts about her brand of flamenco 2.0. The genre’s rapid-fire hand-claps underpin much of the rhythm and the musician frequently deploys the style’s typically haunting wail – a low, vibrato cry of primal despair that renders the language barrier largely redundant. Aesthetically, she nods to tradition with an excessively tasselled all-red outfit while her dancers play on the snappy poise of traditional flamenco dancing.

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