Courtesy of Red Bull

Review: Ros­alía at Red Bull Music Festival

The Catalan singer enraptured audiences at New York’s Webster Hall.

Rat­ing: 4.5÷5

Ros­alía, la joven Cata­lan singer who has been cred­it­ed with, among oth­er things, rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing fla­men­co for younger audi­ences, has played in New York City two times before. One per­for­mance was at Joe’s Pub (capac­i­ty 184) as part of Fla­men­co Fes­ti­val NY. Then in the base­ment of the Pub­lic Hotel (capac­i­ty 400), before she’d reached glob­al super­star sta­tus. So when the 25-year-old Span­ish pop fire­brand returned to per­form for night two of Red Bull Music Fes­ti­val at Web­ster Hall – the recent­ly reopened East Vil­lage venue (capac­i­ty 1500) – on Tues­day, it was almost as if her voice was too big for the space. This girl needs an arena.

The two video screens flank­ing the stage trem­ble to the beats of her open­er, PIEN­SO EN TU MIRÁ. As she undu­lates in a fire engine red PVC two-piece, a troupe of six dancers dressed all in white sur­round her like a mov­ing ren­di­tion of a lotus flower. That sounds cheesy, per­haps, but the idea of this nascent star com­ing into bloom isn’t lost on the diverse crowd in atten­dance. From there, she moves through many of her run­away hits – her James Blake col­lab Bare­foot in the Park, QUE NO SAL­GA LA LUNA and J Balvin team-up Bril­lo – stop­ping at points to let her four back­up singers shine, pos­si­bly for a breather after a marathon of vocal gymnastics.

In between her big­ger, pulsi­er tracks, Ros­alía appears on stage solo to sing a cap­pel­la. Per­haps it’s trite to point out that the sound she projects belies a frame that can’t be above 5 foot 5. But it’s sur­pris­ing to wit­ness the sheer pow­er. When her most recent sin­gle Con Altura hits, she takes it in turns to let the audi­ence repeat the lyrics – not that they need per­mis­sion to immod­est­ly holler the words back at her. Though no tears are shed, near the show’s end Ros­alía pro­fuse­ly thanks the audi­ence, vis­i­bly over­whelmed at the response to what has felt like her true Amer­i­can arrival. She’s an import we’d like to keep around for much longer, and next time, most cer­tain­ly, at a much larg­er venue.


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