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.
After their internationally successful 1988 self-titled debut, few have followed the the Gypsy Kings' noteworthy fusion of their distinctive flamenco-inflected pop with other international influences. Love & Liberte, a 1994 Elektra Records release, is one of their few compilations of all-new material, one that demonstrates this growth perhaps more than any of their other projects. One of their more extravagant songs, "No Vivire" implements a prominent bassline and strong brass accents in the chorus. Equally pleasant but slightly less authentic, "Escucha Me" crosses their Spanish guitar sound with a full reggae ensemble. The album's zenith hits with two instrumental tracks, "Guitarra Negra" and "Love and Liberte." "Guitarra Negra" shows off castanets with bongos. Every few bars, the intensity seems to reach a peak, only to retreat and regroup for another charge.
The Gipsy Kings are largely responsible for bringing the joyful sounds of progressive pop-oriented flamenco 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. Their eponymous 1988 album sold tremendously in France and appeared on the Top Ten album charts in 12 European countries, including England; in 1989, it spent 40 weeks on the U.S. charts and went gold, becoming one of the few Spanish albums to do so.
The mega-hit album that introduced the general public to the flamenco flavors, ebullient vocals and rushing rhythms of the Gypsies.
Formed in France, but rooted in Spanish flamenco tradition, the Gipsy Kings began incorporating pop into their buoyant Latin sound in the late 1980s, eventually leading to massive international success. Released in 1991, ESTE MUNDO finds the ensemble offering up a potent set of acoustic guitar-driven tunes that are marked by percussive strumming, dexterous lead work, and the husky, emotive vocals of bandleader Nicholas Reyes. The core group of six-string players is bolstered on some songs by bass, horns, and/or drums, giving ESTE MUNDO a vibrant atmosphere, particularly on songs such as the surging "Baila Me" and the dreamy title track. Although much of the album is upbeat, the Gipsy Kings also ease into a few mellow instrumental numbers, including the gentle "Lagrimas" and the slightly funky "Ternuras." One of the most consistent and confident outings in the Gipsy Kings' catalogue, ESTE MUNDO is sure to please flamenco aficionados and many other world music fans.
Allegria is the first album by the Gipsy Kings, released in 1982 in Europe. This album and its successor, Luna de Fuego, are very different from their later albums. They are both "unplugged" and traditional, using solely guitars, voices and hand claps. The Gipsy Kings are a band of musicians from the Catalan region in the south of France. Their roots are steeped in the Romany tradition and they demonstrate a love of Rumba Catalana - a love which they have brought to a more mainstream audience.
The Gipsy Kings are a band of musicians from the Catalan region in the south of France. Their roots are steeped in the Romany tradition and they demonstrate a love of Rumba Catalana - a love which they have brought to a more mainstream audience. The Gipsy Kings have been incredibly successful, selling in excess of 18 million albums worldwide, and they remain France's best-selling musical group.
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…