Having become a planetary star since her first hit, the flamenco fusion singer gave two sold-out concerts this weekend in Barcelona, the city that saw her emerge. In the world of traditional flamenco, many turned their backs on him, but others immediately believed in his chances of success.
Youtube has just elected the most listened to female artist of the year, for her reggaeton hit “Con altura” with more than a billion views. A “buzz” that propels Rosalía onto the screens of her young fans around the world and delights her producers. But the young 26-year-old artist does not forget that it is in Catalonia that the roots of her success germinated…
One evening not so far away, the singer notably walked the boards of the Tablao de Carmen. The guardians of this flamenco temple, located right in the middle of Poble Espanyol de Montjuïc, are still proud of having welcomed the artist before she became a planetary star. This Saturday and Sunday, Rosalía is back at the top of Barcelona’s sacred mountain, where she will perform two sold-out concerts in a row at the Palau Sant Jordi.
It was May 14, 2016 and Mimo Agüero, the boss of “Tablao”, remembers: “She went on stage and sang for 45 minutes, only accompanied by a guitarist, whom she had brought from Andalusia, in front of about fifty people. It was to be one of her first paid concerts, before that she mostly played in bars in the center of Barcelona. I was sure she was going to be a big hit, it was obvious!” For Augustin De Beaucé, current director of Tablao, “it’s as much his voice as his attitude, his presence” who was going threw her on the front of the stage. “It was felt even in the very small concerts where I saw her, at her debut, in front of four spectators”remembers this former promoter of artists, who had spotted and introduced the future star to Mimo.
In the small world of Barcelona flamenco, many took a dim view of Rosalía la “paia” (not a gypsy)… How could this Barcelona suburbanite, not even vaguely Andalusian, rub shoulders with the sacred art of the gypsies? “Even today, there are some who don’t like him. But I think it’s jealousy”, considers “Juaneke” Fernández, flamenco singer with thirty years of experience at the Tablao de Carmen and who has toured with greats, such as Diego el Cigala. “Juaneke” grew up in the Barcelona district of La Mina, in a gypsy family originally from Granada. He recognizes in Rosalía a great merit, that of “succeeding in the fusion between pure flamenco and other musical genres”. “It’s not easy for everyone. Fusions can quickly become ridiculous and only the greats like Camarón de la Isla or Paco de Lucía had managed to make good fusions”, concludes the artist. The 35,000 spectators that Rosalía brought together this weekend, in her city, confirm it: the magic has indeed worked.
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The debut of the star Rosalía, back in Barcelona
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