ROSALÍA’S ‘MOTOMAMI WORLD TOUR’: WHAT IS A ‘MOTOMAMI,' ANYWAYS?
Written by Bill Le
December 1, 2022
Spanish musician Rosalía performed at the newly opened MGM Music Hall in Fenway on September 15th, the first U.S. show on the North American leg of her world tour.
Need not the colorful backdrops, nor the over-the-top lights, her dynamic dance movements and her operatic vibrato fill the stage. In a blue-armored sweater and a pleated mini skirt, she is a performer at her core. Global pop diva, personified.
The stage design of the show was simple, yet over-the-top in both ways: a white backdrop adorned the stage, displaying multiple camera POVs throughout the show.
Scribbles on the backdrop opened the pre-show which was met with an uproar of a Japanese punk song “Matsuri-Shake” and loud flashes. A bolt of energy to start things off, followed by roaring engine sounds and flashes of a motorcycle.
Glancing into the crowd, one would note a sea of phones raised capturing the rising pop idol and her Gaga-esque nerve. She sauntered onto the stage with her crew of dancers, pig-tailed biker helmets secured on their heads.
She then took off the helmet to reveal the jazz-fused “SAOKO” with some hip hop swagger, waving her arms around with an edgy, in-your-face dynamite of cool girl energy.
“Yo me transformo,” she shouts repeatedly throughout the song. And transform one does, through a listening of MOTOMAMI. Released in March of 2022, the conceptual album won 3 Latin Grammys including Album of the Year and reached a Metacritic score of 94, the highest score of the year.
Rosalía creates the framework for a woman of strength, a woman of emotion, and a woman of complexity: the motomami.
The motomami is a leather baddie who rides Harley Davidsons. She cruises with a cat ear helmet strapped to her head and a posse of motomami sisters by her side. Like a butterfly, she is transformative and she is sensual. Intune with her emotions, she exudes femininity with a bad-ass edge (refer to "SAOKO" music video).
The superstar then opened up her viral Tiktok hit: “BIZCOCHITO.” With a hand on her hip, chewing some non-existent gum, she whipped her pigtails back and forth during the cute and playful anthem.
MOTOMAMI fuses Spanish flamenco inspirations with jazz, rap, R&B, and percussive styles to make something wholly itself. An unexpected, yet pop style – she combines fun titles like “CHICKEN TERIYAKI” and “HENTAI.” But then sends a heartfelt love letter to her family in “G3 N15.” Rosalía can do both: the lighthearted, uptempo tracks and the emotional ballads.
After the sass of “BIZCOCHITO,” she turned to “LA FAMA,” a collaboration with The Weeknd on the album. Her dancers played the role of the paparazzi, each carrying a camera to capture a picture of the star. “LA FAMA” discusses the grueling superficiality of fame and the struggles of being a woman navigating the entertainment industry.
Rosalía’s entourage of dancers play a vital role in shaping this narrative. The eight-person crew poignantly integrated themselves into the show, displaying a diverse set of movements — from ballet to hip-hop. The choreography was a unique artistic element of this complex show, each song unpacking another story of the MOTOMAMI universe.
The title track “MOTOMAMI,” beginning with a simplistic, broken-down instrumentation, had dancers laying on top of each other to create an image of a motorcycle. Rosalía, the motomami herself, hopped onto the bike and rode.
Next, act two: she smeared off her black eyeliner and cut her pig-tails during “DIABLO,” peeling the layers to reveal the romantic ballad “HENTAI” afterwards.
She also twerked on stage which cultivated a dance party. She played a few high energy songs to get the crowd jumping with a medley of “TKN,” “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”, and “Gasolina,” even inviting a few fans to bump it with her on stage.
She eventually performed a few new songs from the deluxe album released a few days before the concert, MOTOMAMI+, like the summer anthem “DESPECHÁ” and the drug, sex, and love themes of “CHIRI.”
The encore, “CUUUUuuuuuute,” had Rosalía and her dancers riding on scooters. A culmination of the ‘Motomami World Tour’ experience: beginning with up-beat choreography, contrasted by soft, heartful chorus, closing with a punchy ending.
Provocative in its simplicity… provocative in its complexity, the concert deconstructed the album to its essence, communicating to fans what it means to be a motomami. Rosalía jabs at a subversive take on femininity, sexuality, and transformation in this live take on MOTOMAMI. It is a I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude, complemented by a loving cuteness — she imbues a continuing emotional duality. It is comedic, it is transformative, it is femininity.
The motomami is powerful, as is Rosalía; she is mounting her name as a global pop superstar.