Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gipsy Kings

The Gipsy Kings are rare thing - a household name famous solely for their music; the most successful French musical outfit ever are big in Brazil and popular in Persia, honoured at The Alamo in Texas and celebrated in China.This is a group from Arles and Montpellier in France.They are largely responsible for bringing the joyful sounds of progressive pop-oriented flamenco, called Sevillana in Spain, to the world. The group is composed of the Reyes(Pablo, Nicolas, Patchai and Canute) brothers and the Boliardo(Tonino, Diego and Paco) brothers, who are cousins and descendants of Spanish families that migrated to France. The Reyes were strongest as singers while the Baliardos were master guitarists and so, after an all-night jam session, they decided to go on together.

Nicolas says their new name was given to them by accident, "An American woman, after asking us our name and origin, exclaimed 'Oh, you are Gipsy KINGS!' We kept the English name." Lead singer Nicolas Reyes is the son of famed Flamenco singer José Reyes, who, with Manitas de Plata, sold millionsof records in the 1960s and 70s.

All fame they achieved without MTV videos, hype, reality TV appearances, famous girlfriends, bad behaviour... an international audience won over purely by the music and the big, welcoming soulfulness of its creators.Nicolas said that they began playing rumba flamenca because:"we liked to watch pretty girls dance”.

Though they had devoted fans,Gipsy Kings 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. The first record after this proverbial meeting was Gipsy Kings (1987), which included their first great success, Bamboleo, a rumba version of the song by Julio Iglesias.This album became their platinum-selling eponymous album.
Since then the Gipsy Kings have dominated the World Music charts and sold more than fourteen million albums worldwide—more than four million in the United States alone. Their platinum compilation, The Best of the Gipsy Kings, was on thecharts for more than a year.

The song "Volare" on their second album Mosaique is a rumba version of Domenico Modugno's Italian hit "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu".

In the late '80s, the Gipsy Kings, debuted in the U.S. at a New York New Music Seminar. This led them to sign to Sony in America. In 1989, they were invited to perform at the inaugural ball for George Bush, but they chose to return home to rest and be with their families.The ensemble’s music has been used in numerous motion pictures, including Peter Weir’s “Fearless”and Joel and Ethan Coen’s “The Big Lebowski.”

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).In 1991 the Gipsy Kings provided flamenco guitar and backing vocals on Bananarama's version of "Long Train Running", using the pseudonym "Alma de Noche" ("Soul of the Night").

A documentary, “Tierra Gitana,” which aired on hundreds of public television stations in 1996,explores the band’s roots in gypsy culture and the members’ rich family heritage in flamenco music.

Their 1993 album "Love and Liberte" won the Latin Grammy Award for "Best Pop Album of the Year," and contained the enduring song "Montana," an emotional account of gipsies chased from their birthplace by prejudice and persecution.

The group's album, "Compas",realised 1997, was produced by Chris Kimsey. The material boasts a lightly applied melange of fresh influences, ranging from Samba to Salsa, but remains overwhelmingly true to the formula their fans have come to expect.
In 2004 the Gipsy Kings settled into a stone villa in the small town of St-Andre-de-Bueges in the south of France, where they collaborated with producer Craig Street on the Grammy-nominated acoustic release, Roots. For the first time in years, the band recorded without a drum kit, synthesizer, or electric bass, bringing the music closer to its Flamenco origins. Billboard called the record a “treasure”.

Albums "Mosaique," "Allegria," "Este Mundo," "Gipsy Kings Live," "Love & Liberte," "Tierra Gitana," "Cantos de Amor" and "Volare! - the Very Best of the Gipsy Kings" went gold.Gipsy Kings recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live From Abbey Road in the summer of 2006. The episode also included performances by Natasha Bedingfield and Iron Maiden and aired on the Sundance Channel in the USA and on Channel 4 in the UK.Latest album “Pasajero”realised 2007 is the sound of musical legends celebrating their heritage.The title track acknowledges how essential for Gypsies is to keep moving.Gipsy Kings' total album sales worldwide now exceed 18 million; they're touring worldwide again in 2007. They are the world's best-selling music group from France in history.

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