Sold-out halls, gold and platinum awards in more than fifteen countries: at the end of the eighties, the Gypsy Kings stormed the charts with the songs “Bamboleo”, “Volare” and “Djobi Djoba”. With their rhythms of flamenco, rumba, rock and salsa, they perform in elegant discos, including in Saint-Tropez. Since then, the members have been trying to build on old successes. With the upcoming album “Renaissance”, guitarist Tonino Balliards begins a new generation.
The last significant Gipsy Kings album with new compositions was “Savor Flamenco”. The band won the prestigious Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2014. The 2020 pandemic year was the time for Tonino Baliardo to get back to work on a new album, but this time with new, young promotions. Among the younger contributors is his six-year-old grandson, Milan, who sings at the end of “Folando.”
Released on Friday by Winworld, “Renaissance” is a mix of flamenco, rumba and pop – mixed with Arabic and Latin American sounds. Released as a single in the summer, “Campana”, “Mundo loco” and “Chica Del Sol” are reminiscent of big hits like “Bamboleo” and “Volare” with their vocals, talented guitar playing and passionate vocals.
“Amadeo” is a tribute to the classical music that Tonino Ballardo loves. The song “Abandonado” is a song with an orchestral finale. All songs are in Spanish except for “The Dream is Gone” which is only a piece of music. Altogether the album contains eleven tracks with a lot of variety.
The history of the French Gypsy kings is full of ups and downs. It began in the 1970s in Arles, southern France, when the sons of flamenco singer Jose Reyes—Nicolas, Paul, Canute, Bachai and André—joined his son-in-law Chico Bochichi to form the Jose Reyes and Los Reyes group. . When they later teamed up with their cousins Tonino, Diego and Paco Balliardo, sons of world-renowned guitarist Manitas de Plata, they called themselves Kings of Gypsy.
At the height of her career, she separated from Chico Bouchikhi in 1991, who a year later founded his successful band Chico & the Gypsies. When Reyes’ three siblings – Bachai, Canute and Paul – joined him in 2017, he started The Original Gypsies. For legal reasons, they were not allowed to call themselves gypsy kings.
Old Gypsy Kings hit songs are burned in many people’s memories, but hardly anyone knows the names of the band members. And for good reason, when group members come and go—cousins replace uncles and nephews or brothers. Guest musicians often participate in performances. In the past there were more than 20 people on stage.
With the guitarist “Renaissance”, Tonino Ballardo wants to create a new generation of gypsy kings. But whether they were old or young – their talented guitar playing and emotional rhythms remained the same.
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