It has been over 30 years since the Gipsy Kings captured the world’s imagination with their self-titled debut album—a record that became a genuine phenomenon, certified gold and platinum around the globe, introducing millions of listeners to a unique, irresistible blend of traditional flamenco styles with Western pop and Latin rhythms. Since then, the band has toured virtually non-stop, sold almost twenty million albums, and won a Grammy, all the while retaining the same line-up of virtuoso musicians.
“World Music” is often a meaningless catch-all phrase, a marketing shortcut, but as one of the acts that first helped define the phrase, the Gipsy Kings create music that really does cross all borders. Over the years, the music of the Kings has incorporated elements of Latin and Cuban styles, Arabic music, reggae, and jazz guitar reminiscent of the French Gypsy master Django Reinhardt, while never losing the group’s intense connection to the traditional flamenco of their heritage.
From the beginning, their sound has reflected the constant travel and diverse influences of the gypsy heritage. Their 1987 debut album, which spent forty weeks on the US album charts, introduced the world to “Rumba Gitano”—South America’s rumba rhythm married to the fleet attack of flamenco guitars. That record’s “Bamboleo” became a huge, break-out worldwide hit (more than twenty years later, it even turned up on an episode of the TV series Glee).
The Gipsy Kings have spent a remarkable three decades at the top, in a category that’s all their own. They return to the Centre In The Square on Thursday, September 20 @ 8PM. Get your tickets now for a night of true world music.