The music of Gipsy Kings, a world renowned French band, has often been described the kind of music that combines Spanish flamenco and gypsy rhapsody with salsa funk.
The band is all set to rock at Al Mayassa Theatre, Qatar National Convention Centre on October 24. The one night performance of the band called Gipsy Kings by André Reyes – “Tour Gipsy Unidos” features special guests Mario Reyes and Chico Castillo.
“The most popular International band with ‘Andalusian Songs & Music’ is coming to Qatar for the first time. Gipsy Kings is a Grammy winning band of flamenco, salsa and pop musicians from the south of France,” said an official from Bright Act Middle East, the company that is organising the music event.
“It has been many years since the Gipsy Kings embraced the world’s imagination with their album Gipsy Kings – a record that became a genuine sensation, certified gold and platinum around the globe, exciting millions of listeners with a unique and captivating fusion of styles, the official said.
The organiser further said: “’World Music’ is the right term to describe the talent as this is the authentic blend incorporating elements of Latin and Cuban styles, Arabic music, reggae and jazz guitar as well as transmitting history and culture in their melodies.
“This broad cultural mix has enabled the Gipsy Kings to capture the audience wherever they play – from China to Brazil, New Orleans to Russia, from Australia to Africa creating the huge demand for their distinctive style and having sold almost 20 million records worldwide. Their music performances are burning and passionate – an expression of the happiness – how Gipsy Kings face up to life.”
“The Gipsy Kings continue to delight the public with their Andalusian songs and music impressing the world with their great show Tour Gipsy Unidos in more than 40 concerts within the last year, featuring distinguished guests like Mario Reyes and Chico Castillo. Together, they will make everyone thrilled with great hits such as Bamboleo, Volare or Djobi Djoba among others. Tickets are available on: www.q-tickets.com”
The Gipsy Kings, born in France but brought up with Spanish culture, are largely responsible for bringing the sounds of progressive pop-oriented flamenco to a worldwide audience. The band started out in Arles, a town in southern France, during the 1970s, when brothers Nicolas and Andre Reyes, the sons of flamenco artist Jose Reyes, teamed up with their cousins Jacques, Maurice, and Tonino Baliardo. Manitas de Plata and Jose Reyes were a duo who triggered the wider popularity of rumba flamenca (also known as Spanish or gypsy rumba). It was famous singer Reyes, however, who was mostly responsible for the new surge of popular interest when he left Manitas de Plata and started a band of his own, made up of his own sons, which he called “Los Reyes” (as well as being the family name, reyes means “kings” in Spanish).
Los Reyes started out as a gypsy band. They travelled around France, playing at weddings, festivals, and in the streets. Because they lived so much like gypsies, the band adopted the name Gipsy Kings. Later, they were hired to add colour to upper-class parties in such places as St. Tropez, but their first two albums attracted little notice. At this point, the Gipsies played traditional flamenco invigorated by Tonino Baliardo’s guitar playing and Nicolas Reyes’ voice.
The Gipsy King line-up featured a combination of left, and right-handed guitarists; three of the Reyes brothers – Nicolas, Andre’, and Patchai – play guitar left-handed, and play left-hand, sometimes right-hand, guitars that are strung for right-handers for example with the low “E” string on the bottom, while Diego Baliardo plays a left-handed guitar that is strung for left hand with the low “E” string on the top. Together with right-handers Canut and Paul Reyes, and Paco Baliardo, these guitarists focus on delivering the strong underpinning rhythms while the more complex leads are performed by the right-handed and conventionally styled Tonino Baliardo.
They became popular with their self-titled third album, Gipsy Kings, which included the songs Djobi Djoba, Bamboléo, and the romantic ballad Un Amor. Gipsy Kings was popular throughout Europe and in Africa, as well as in the Middle East. Gipsy Kings was released in the United States in 1989 and spent 40 weeks on the charts, one of few Spanish language albums to do so. The band covered I’ve Got No Strings for the 1991 Disney video and compilation album Simply Mad About the Mouse. Their cover version of Hotel California was an example of fast flamenco guitar leads and rhythmic strumming: it was featured in the 1998 Coen Brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski. The 2010 film Toy Story 3 featured their rendition of You’ve Got a Friend in Me, a Spanish-language version titled Hay un Amigo en Mi and performed in a recognisably flamenco style.
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