Jorge Carrión’s article was translated by Erin Goodman, and appeared in the NYTimes on January 26, 2020, entitled “Rosalía and the Art of the Remix.”
Rosalía is new to me, but personal and professional ties to Catalonia and Spain incline me towards her, the more so in view of her absorption of flamenco into her style.
Rosalía, whose full name is Rosalía Vila Tobella, was 13 when she first became spellbound by the music of Camarón de la Isla — a legendary Spanish Romani flamenco singer. She went on to spend a decade training with the flamenco virtuoso, José Miguel “El Chiqui” Vizcaya, before releasing “Los Ángeles,” which she described as “it’s flamenco and it’s not.” The vocal-driven concept album, which melds traditional styles with modern influences, propelled the genre forward.
Carrión pushes back cogently on purists and appropriation-criers who scold artists for straying from norms or crossing cultural boundaries. “Cultural crossover is not limited to Spanish artists,” he writes, calling it “[these] porous, promiscuous phenomena.”
Artistic expression cannot be limited by geopolitical borders nor copyright. Many of today’s artists are aesthetic nomads. Their work embodies, whether intentional or not, the intersection of art and globalization — the remix. No material, rhythm nor narrative can escape the remix because craft and imagination do not belong to one singular community, and nothing that is human is alien.
“Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.” I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me. I remembered the saying from college Latin, but I needed Google to remind me that it’s Terence.
(c) 2020 JMN