Last night, my sleepy little fishing village, population seven thousand, managed to scrape together enough tax funds1 to afford to provide a free concert by two-time Latin Grammy Award winning artist, Rosario Flores. I became aware of her in 2002, shortly after dropping all my things and moving to England to live with my future wife, when our mutual flatmate, a Spanish girl, brought back a Rosario CD, Muchas Flores (one of her Grammy wins), from Spain. She also is a member of the elite group of five or six of artists for whom we have CDs that live in the glove box of our car, so over the years, I have learned some of her songs. The word that kept coming to mind during her concert was "professional". She had been performing and entertaining for decades, and it showed. Even down to the way that a crew member, dressed in black, of course, to be invisible, crawled out onto the stage when the electric guitarist moved across the stage, so as to make sure there was never enough slack in the cord for the guitarist to trip over. Her band was also amazing, and the backup singer is probably a better singer than her boss. She learned the name of our town and used it well, speaking to the audience as if we were her friends.
Rosario is a bit of a pop princess, as she is the daughter of a flamenco megastar, Lola Flores. Lola's wikipedia page uses the phrase "an icon of traditional Andalusian folklore", and every Spaniard I've ever had talk to me about Lola says that it's impossible to overstate how important she was. Rosario has never been pretty, even on her airbrushed album covers, but at age 52, she has an amazing body, and amazing hair, and she knows how to use them both to great effect. A few of her corporal stage antics, like galloping around whilst slapping her own bottom as if she were riding a horse, crossed the line from sexy to silly, but no one could say she's not a seasoned professional entertainer.
Gracias, Rosario. Que vuelvas pronto.
1 Computer nerd footnote: When I was in high school in the mid nineties, I suffered from a thankfully-brief addiction to a computer game called Civilization, in which the player has to govern a population and build the economy and military and eventually take over the world. If, however, you work your people too hard, they get unhappy and revolt against you. One of the things you could do when morale was low in the populace was to spend money on entertainment. I'm 90% sure that the icon for the entertainment, in those horrible VGA graphics, was a little pixelated representation of Vegas Elvis. One thing my town does very well – both the previous mayor and the current one, of the same socialist party – is spend public funds on entertainment.