20 tracks of their most requested songs from one of the world's most famous vocal groups. The Gipsy Kings' distinctive and passionate brand of world music has won them the respect and admiration of devoted fans everywhere. Their formula is a successful mix of raw flamenco with Latin American and Arabic influences along with rai and rock.The Gipsy Kings are largely responsible for bringing the joyful sounds of progressive pop-oriented flamenco, called Sevillana in Spain, to the world. The band started out in Arles, a village in southern France during the '70s when brothers Nicolas and Andre Reyes, the sons of renowned flamenco artist Jose Reyes, teamed up with their cousins Jacques, Maurice and Tonino Baliardo, whose father is Manitas de Plata. They originally called themselves Los Reyes and started out as a gypsy band traveling about playing weddings, festivals, and in the streets. Because they lived so much like gypsies, the band adopted the name the Gipsy Kings. Later, they were hired to add color to posh parties in St. Tropez.
After ten years of playing in the streets, at weddings, and in restaurants, the Gipsy Kings were swept away in a feast of commercial and critical success in the late '80s. By the late '90s, they had sold over 15 million albums worldwide and become one of the best-selling all-Spanish language acts in U.S. history. Their Greatest Hits collection, released in 1998, aptly reflects the time-perfected technique and soulful delivery that allowed them to transcend ethnic and age differences as few bands have. The introductory sequence of songs simply explodes out of the blocks. If consecutive hip-shakers "Djobi, Djoba," "Baila Me," "Bamboleo," "Pida Me La," "Bem, Bem, Maria," and "Volare" don't have you at least tapping your feet, someone ought to take your pulse…
As leaders of the flamenco music genre, the Gipsy Kings have thrilled audience's worldwide for over 16 years. Here, they are captured in a live performance at the legendary Kenwood House in London. At this majestic setting on the water in front of thousands of fans, the Gipsy Kings play some of their greatest hits, including 'Baila Me' and 'Volare'.
As leaders of the flamenco music genre, the Gipsy Kings have thrilled audience's worldwide for over 16 years. Here, they are captured in a live performance at the legendary Kenwood House in London…
The Gipsy Kings had major crossover success with their splendid and innovative third album, which used drums, bass, percussion, and synthesizer to beef up the sound. This French import is their first album from 1983, and it is a much more traditional affair, with only acoustic guitars, voices, and hand claps. It shows that artistically the sound did not need to be beefed up; the music is still wonderful. How can an array of seven guitars and full-throated passion not be wonderful? Commercially, the additions to their sound helped break The Gipsy Kings through to a larger audience, but now that their name is known, it should be possible for more people to go back and appreciate this album. It is in no way crude or unpolished, and the artistry and playing are of an equally high quality.
The Gipsy Kings are never going to have the kind of critical acclaim that Paco de Lucia has, but their popularization of poppy rumba flamenca among non-Spanish speakers is nothing to be ashamed of. Nonetheless, here on Roots, the octet turns back to the tradition while making their own imprint on it. Having the band record in an old farm house, producer Craig Street, it seems, simply told them to sit down to play their bittersweet songs. Without electric instruments or a drum set to clutter the mix, brisk acoustic guitars will sweep listeners up in the driving rhythms as lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo soars overhead, particularly on the instrumental songs. When Nicolas, Canut and Patchai Reyes take turns on lead vocals, Street adeptly captures the timbre and nuance of the singers' voices while also delicately balancing the guitar, hand percussion and bass. No pop songs or bombastic rock beats:here's one that purists cannot argue with.
The Gipsy Kings' main strength is their consistency. Throughout their career, they have managed to craft an accessible, pop-oriented version of flamenco and gypsy music that also pushes boundaries. During it all, they recorded classy, satisfying albums like Compas. There's not much different about Compas, but since the album is so well made and enchanting, that isn't a curse; it's a blessing.