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Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Gipsy Kings: Kings of Rumba Flamenca

GK001The Gipsy Kings are a group from Arles and Montpellier in France. Their parents fled from Spain during the Spanish Civil War. They are Calé (Gypsy) musicians, best known for bringing Rumba Catalana, a pop-oriented version of traditional flamenco music to mainstream audiences, a kind of Rumba Flamenca.

They became popular with their album, self titled Gipsy Kings, which included the songs "Djobi Djoba", "Bamboleo" and "Un Amor". The song "Volare" on their second album Mosaique is a rumba version of Domenico Modugno's Italian hit "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu". The Gipsy Kings were enormously popular in France despite harsh criticism from flamenco purists. Gipsy Kings was successful throughout Europe, especially France and England. 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 classical guitar leads and flamenco strumming (This version was featured in the Coen Brothers' movie The Big Lebowski).

The Gipsy Kings are members of two related families: the Reyes and the Baliardos (Reyes means Kings in Spanish). They are cousins of the flamenco great Manitas de Plata. Vocalist, Nicolas Reyes is the son of flamenco great Jose Reyes.GK002

Gypsy Kings - Live at Hammersmith, London 2006

BBC radio 3 DAB broadcast

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