How NOT to write about music – 36. Rosalía


I have never viewed it as my task to do research for other people. If I carry out research, it is either for my own benefit – because it enables me to understand music some more: throw a light into the grey: it is amusing – or because I have been paid to do so. I like the music of Rosalía. It seems an age since I stumbled across her (it was in an end-of-the-year list; it was not an age, just a few weeks ago) and now I am content to know that I enjoy her music, and that it soothes me. And that is enough.

Flamenco and R&B.

That’s it. She’s from Catalonia in Spain, she’s 25, she has a grace and style that I find bewitching, she spends a lot of time in hotel rooms doubtless, dreaming. The music sounds steeped in tradition. Interesting it should feel like that (to me). Signals and noise. I first encountered flamenco singing on a visit to Athens, Greece in the 1980s – the heat was oppressive and the noise and fumes even more so. I was tasked with uncovering the English-speaking Greek rock music scene when all I wanted to do was listen to flamenco at open-air concerts and watch the flames flicker, the dancers shift. I know little of the tradition it encapsulates and am content to be watching on the sidelines still, the dancers shifting shape and form around me, ribbons fluttering. The music here is not overstated.

I have little more to add. I wanted to post this up before the end of 2018 because then I could include it within my round-up of 2018 but now that 2019 has rolled in I find myself with little or no interest in writing same. My favourite music last year was silence. (Favourite is not an appropriate word to use here.) Silence. Always silence.

Many people have written eloquently and movingly about their own depression and isolation. I find that when isolation takes you it is easier to write nothing.

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