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Uploaded on Oct 25, 2010

GIPSY KINGS is a group of Spanish-language musicians from Arles and Montpellier, France. Although group members were born in France, their parents were mostly gitanos, Spanish Romani people who fled Catalonia during the 1930s Spanish Civil War, with the exception of Chico Bouchikhi who is of Moroccan and Algerian descent. They are known for bringing Rumba Catalana, a pop-oriented music distantly derived from traditional flamenco music, to worldwide audiences. Their music has a particular Rumba Flamenca style, with pop influences; many songs of the Gipsy Kings fit social dances, such as Salsa and Rumba. Their music has been described as a place where "Spanish flamenco and Romani rhapsody meet salsa funk".

Background

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 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. Popularity did not come to Los Reyes right away, and their first two albums attracted little notice. At this point the Gipsies played traditional -- albeit passionate -- flamenco music punctuated by Tonino's precise guitar playing and Nicolas' exceptional voice. Though they had devoted fans, they still had yet to gain wider recognition until 1986 when they hooked up with visionary producer Claude Martinez, who could see that the Kings had the makings of a world-class band.

Career

They became popular with their self-titled first album, Gipsy Kings, which included the songs "Djobi Djoba" [1], "Bamboleo" [2] and the romantic ballad "Un Amor". The song "Volare" on their fourth album Mosaïque is a rumba version of Domenico Modugno's Italian hit "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu". The Gipsy Kings were enormously popular in France and throughout Europe, as well as in the Middle East. In 1989, Gipsy Kings was released in the United States and it spent 40 weeks on the charts, one of very few Spanish language albums to do so. Their cover version of "Hotel California" is an excellent example of fast flamenco guitar leads and rhythmic strumming (this version was featured in the Coen Brothers' movie The Big Lebowski as well on the HBO series Entourage). In the 2010 film, Toy Story 3, a version of You've Got a Friend in Me that was performed and recorded by the Gipsy Kings was featured except in the Spanish version titled Hay un Amigo en Mi played in a Spanish flamenco style.

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