I have a trauma with Spanish music.
A trauma born and basked in my Neapolitan origins that made bachata and reggaeton melodies the nightmare of my puberty.
The same motifs have become a reference point for neo-melodic music, an essential genre of the common basic tamarro, the one who pulls up by car while you’ve been in traffic for hours and burps to you and whispers “you’re a stone” to compare you to a precious jewel.
Rosalia she evokes all this wonderful imagery and if she weren’t an internationally acclaimed singer, I would think of her as a specimen of vrenzola with a passion for neon colors and gel nails. However, the ascendancy that she has over the most refined palates arouses so much curiosity in me that I want to understand the reasons for these obvious points in common with my subculture.
Rosalía appears on stage in a completely restrained manner and completely made up of dancers. She clad in black and white leather, with an almost awe-inspiring helmet, atop a mass of bodies meticulously locked in formation.
This physical theatre, which accompanies the overture, is devoured by the sold out – and sold out – crowd of the Assago Forum. Reaching the center of the stage, Rosalía removes the helmet and releases that crystalline voice, with howling high notes, for the opening number “Saoko”.
The concert is a non stop of music with her never leaving the stage but still serving up one hit after another to an indomitable audience in eternal motion. I feel the friction of foreign bodies bumping against mine in grotesque attempts at botched twerk – unlike Rosalía who gives us continuous close-ups of her bottom endowed with its own vibration – I confess that the temptation to awkwardly imitate those movements touches me all evening, but I give up, I am surrounded by a parterre of souls who could call me mother.
The show progresses and the expansive and bold musical palette of “Motomami” – which scored an 8.4 on Pitchfork and caught the attention of Cardi B and Tyler the Creator – emerges even more on stage than in the studio; its sonorities are combined with an impressive stage production. I admit that it is a concrete demonstration of the clear artistic image that Rosalía has of this project, dominated by creative choreography, unusual props and well-studied scenarios.
There are some quieter moments amidst the pompous chaos. The splendid “G3N15” sees her physically lifted by her fops, in an atmosphere halfway between a pas de deux and a scene. Then she moves on to rock on “Dolerme” where he picks up an electric guitar, before playing on a grand piano for the brilliantly dirty “Hentai“, a remarkable display of very sentimental light and dark.
Despite the lengthy 31-song setlist, there are no costume changes or breaks. Even the mid-concert makeup touch-up is part of the show: Rosalía sits in a styling chair and continues to perform.”Diabloas her glam team gets to work. Their efforts, however, ultimately come to naught: moments after they’re done, he pours a bottle of water over his head.
The star also delights his audience by mimicking a few words of Italian and declaring his boundless love for cacio e pepe and pizza, then reads the handwritten placards in the crowd (which are many, held tall and proudly) and walks along the barriers during “La Noche De Anoche”, allowing those present to sing along with her and at the same time take some selfies. This euphoric climax culminates in a lengthy mash up where Rosalía’s team joins her on stage to shake and fuss about “Yo x you, you x me”, followed by “Papi Chulo” and a part of “Gasoline” by Daddy Yankee being spread around the arena before the mambo-belter “Despecha“, dance hall song and undisputed hit from eighteenth.
The finale gives us an encore of three songs and concludes with a “CUUUUuuuuute” full of strobe that offers one last reminder of all that Rosalía can do: leading the charge on rapturous percussion, she delivered a flawless ballad with which she gave one last complicit look at the audience, inviting them to take the next round.
The lights go out leaving my ears dizzy and I wonder what I just experienced. Everything is clearer to me. Rosalía does not offer the usual maximalist pop of the information age. It’s not a moodboarding worldly or of coolness. It is something much more intimate, futuristic and precious, and inextricably so – a new kind of pop music that seems fully aware of the unfathomable breadth of life.
His music does not exist in a single space, does not present a single sound and does not stick to a single language and his success, which involves perhaps the most diverse audience I have ever seen, lies precisely in this.
Spanish music no longer scares me now, but Rosalía would still be wonderful it girl Neapolitan.
ROSALÍA – the lineup of the concert in Milan
‘DE AQUÍ NO SALES / BULERÍAS’
‘THE NIGHT OF ANOCHE’
‘PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ’
‘Perdóname’ (La Factoría Cover)
‘THE VERSACE COMBI’
‘Relationship’ (Sech Cover)
‘Yo X Ti, Tú X Mí’
‘LIKE A G’
‘DELIRE OF GRANDEZA’ (Justo Betancourt Cover)
ROSALÍA, born in Barcelona in the province of Naples – Reportage of the Milan concert – Rockon.it