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…
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'.
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.
…is an especially dynamic introduction to the sound of the Spanish Gypsy ensemble.
Tierra Gitana - Over the years the Gipsy Kings - who hail from the Gypsy settlements in Arles and Montpelier in the South of France - have included singers and guitarists from the Reyes and Baliardo families. The band's vigorous guitar work and passionate vocals are the trademark of an indigenous musical tradition known as rumba flamenca.
There are no other examples of a non-English speaking band (the group's language is the Gypsy dialect of Gitane) with such a consistent winning streak in the US, where the group is the biggest selling French act ever.