Rosalia – El Mal Querer

This was one of my albums of 2018, though I’d never mentioned it before then. There’s actually a lot of albums that it takes me while to get around to mentioning, some going back several years, I’ll get to them eventually. So, in the best of 2018 I wrote this: I like modern flamenco, who knew? Not me for sure, until I was told what genre this actually fell into. Apparently the album is based on a Occitan novel from the 13th or 14th century and documents a toxic relationship where the mans jealousy drives him to imprison a woman. This was part of her degree thesis I believe and the whole album was under her complete control, delivered to the record company for distribution only. It is a triumph.

And here, through the magic of the interwebs is a wonderful performance of the lead single on Later with Jools Holland:

Flamenco is often seen nowadays as something cheesy put on for the tourists amusement and is discounted as a result, but Rosalía Vila Tobella has ripped up whatever rule book there was and created her own, new version of the traditional genre that could be listened to without the knowledge that there was any link at all. It is seeped in modernism, deploying production techniques that are more akin to the chart toppers of today than the castanet wielding dancer of yesteryear.

My only complaint would be its brevity, clocking in at around 30 minutes, I have 12″ singles that play for longer, however, that is because I want more of the good stuff and I would rather it be short than padded out with fluff. It does come in a nice gatefold sleeve with a good 12×12 booklet so that does help justify the price a little.

There are a couple of earlier releases for me to investigate, and I do hope that the success that Rosalia is currently enjoying is used as a springboard to greater things, although this album will be a difficult one to top.

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