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The work of the Gipsy Kings has made them one of the top-selling pop-flamenco ensembles in the world.
Hailing from the caravans of a gypsy community in Arles and Montpelier in the south of France, this band of tightly-knit brothers and cousins, known as the Gipsy Kings, are World Music's most acclaimed artists.
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 U.S., where the group is the biggest-selling French act ever. Since the 1987 release of the international hit single "Bamboleo," from their platinum-selling eponymous debut album, the Gipsy Kings have dominated the World Music charts, and sold more than 14 million albums worldwide – more than 4 million in the United States alone. The platinum compilation "The Best of the Gipsy Kings" charted for more than a year. Their music has also been used in numerous motion pictures, including Peter Weir's "Fearless" and Joel and Ethan Coen's "The Big Lebowski."
With the lightning strumming of multiple acoustic guitars and the signature of their expressive passionate vocals, the brothers Reyes and Baliardo – who speak in the Gypsy dialect of Gitane – have mined their musical and cultural roots, consistently drawing enthusiastic listeners whose language, in most cases, they don't share.
The triumph of the Gipsy Kings is revealed most vividly through a telling myriad of charts, awards, reviews, and sold-out appearances. Since the phenomenal debut of "The Gipsy Kings" in 1988 (Top Ten in more than a dozen countries, receiving fifteen Gold and Platinum records), their ensuing albums – "Mosaique," "Allegria," "Este Mundo," "Gipsy Kings Live," and "Love & Liberté" – have provided a steady fuel of hits to Billboard's World Music, Latin, and Top 200 charts.
With every one of their albums on the Pop Latin chart, the Gipsy Kings were Billboard's #1 charting World Music Artist and #1 Latin Artist of 1994. The 1995 Nonesuch release, "The Best of the Gipsy Kings," presented a brimming catalogue of the band's most memorable hits, plus a new single, "A tu Vera," and a club-mix medley bonus track – both previously unavailable. Shortly after its release, the group's first two albums achieved platinum and gold status in the U.S.
Still, the exotic appeal of the Gipsy Kings' sound, stemming from their unique ethnic background – a mixture of Spanish, French and North African influences – is at the heart of their success. They are the sole act performing a musical hybrid which has been dubbed "Rumba Flamenca."
Lead singer Nicolas Reyes is the son of famed Flamenco singer José Reyes, who, with Manitas de Platas, sold millions of records in the 60s and 70s. Over the years, the band has included singers and guitarists from the Reyes family (Francois, Canut, Nicolas, Pablo and Patchai) and the Baliardo family (Diego, Paco, and Tonino), with numerous additional musicians contributing to the rich brocade of the group's organic sound.
The Gipsy Kings' Nonesuch release, "Tierra Gitana," is yet another milestone in the band's success story. The first album of all new material since 1993, "Tierra Gitana" is a long-awaited gift to the Gipsy Kings' millions of fans throughout the world, and will keep them dancing furiously to its irresistible rhythms.
Two PBS-TV specials contributed to the Gipsy Kings' ongoing success story. A documentary, "Tierra Gitana" – which aired on hundreds of public television stations in 1996 – explores the band's roots in gypsy culture and their rich family heritage in flamenco music. Filmed in concert and in the Gypsy camps of Arles, "Tierra Gitana" provides a glimpse at the vanishing lifestyle of a vibrant and traditional people. A second program, filmed in performance at Washington, DC's Wolf Trap, captures the band's live show in a 60-minute special, and aired on many PBS stations the following year.
Hit songs include --
The Gipsy Kings may be available for your next special event.