Carrie Battan at The New Yorker:
The Spanish pop star Rosalía is the rarest kind of modern musician: a relentlessly innovative aesthetic omnivore who also happens to have a decade of Old World, genre-specific formal training under her belt. As a teen-ager living on the outskirts of Barcelona, she was introduced to flamenco music by a group of friends from Andalusia, a region in the south of Spain where the style originated. Hearing the music of the flamenco giant Camarón de la Isla, she once told El Mundo, made her feel as if her “head exploded.” The discovery prompted Rosalía to throw her entire being into the practice of flamenco, an elemental genre built around hand-clapping, acoustic guitar, and a fierce and improvisational vocal style. She took flamenco dance classes; she learned guitar and piano, and, most important, she enrolled at the Catalonia College of Music, under the tutelage of the decorated flamenco singer and teacher Chiqui de la Línea. Pioneered by the Romani people (the term for Spain’s Gypsy population), the vocals of traditional flamenco are like kites—they follow unpredictable and precarious paths but sound as if they’re being buoyed by an invisible force of nature. Rosalía did not merely train to become a singer; she strove to master the intense and distinctive styles of flamenco’s beloved cantaores and cantaoras.