Like the Catalan star modernised flamenco, musical duo Lina_Raül Refree are updating traditional Portuguese fado for the 21st century
For a few glorious moments at the end of January, downtown Los Angeles was enveloped by a whirlwind of Iberian fervour, as Catalan singer Rosalía brought her dazzlingly modern take on flamenco to the Grammy awards. Rosalía, who performed two songs, is the most high-profile exponent of the current flamenco revival. But she is by no means alone, with the likes of Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés, Niño de Elche, La Favi and Califato 3/4 also offering modern interpretations of the flamenco sound.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Portugal, the duo Lina_Raül Refree have forged a bold new take on another traditional music, fado: a deeply melancholic style closely associated with the Portuguese idea of saudade, an untranslatable term defined by scholar Aubrey Bell as “a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist”. Even Madonna is getting in on the act: in 2019 she uploaded a fado version of Like a Virgin to her Instagram and has recently been incorporating fado into her live sets.