Grammy-award winners Gipsy Kings to play Silver Legacy
With two of its founding members still in the group, the Gipsy Kings is continuing its mix of world music, pop and jazz for a loyal audience. Still, the two founders -- Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo -- do see a time when they will also hang up their flamenco guitars and retire.
“Even though it’s been 25 years, we want to keep on making new music because it’s our life, it’s who we are,” Nicolas Reyes said recently on the band’s official website. “But I think there will be a time when we pass down the Gipsy Kings to our sons.”
The band plays Sept. 8 at the Silver Legacy.
Baliardo agreed with Reyes that continuing the band’s distinctive music is still a priority, even as the band approaches 30 years in the spotlight.
“Music has always been a passion,” lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo said. “Even after all this time, after all these years of touring and working. It has given us so much. We have matured, we have developed in music, and it has been so good for us.”
Those good times began in France in the 1970s, as brothers Nicholas, Canut and Andre Reyes started a band with their father, Jose Reyes, and their cousins Tonino, Jacques and Maurice Baliardo in a group called Los Reyes. They played a mix of styles with a lot of influence from the band’s roots as gitanos, a Spanish people who fled the Catalonia region during the Spanish Civil War and immigrated to France.
In its early days, the band played at French weddings and festivals mostly, adopting the gypsy style of music that mixed rhumba and flamenco music. It eventually changed its name to Gipsy Kings and began recording and releasing its own albums.
The group’s U.S. acclaim began when its third, self-titled album was released in the States in 1989. The album sold a million copies and featured one song, “Inspiration,” that was used on the TV show “Miami Vice.” From there, the band continued to release albums and tour around the world. Two of its albums -- “Love and Liberte” from 1993 and “Savor Flamenco” from 2013 -- won Grammy awards.
Over the years, the Gipsy Kings incorporated elements beyond their European roots, including Latin and Cuban styles, Arabic music, reggae and acoustic jazz. Gipsy Kings’ best known songs include “Bamboleo,” “Volare,” “Vamos a Bailar” and “Baila Me.” The group has also covered several well-known songs for some projects, including a cover of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” that was featured in the film “The Big Lebowski,” and a cover of the “Toy Story” theme song, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” that was featured in the third “Toy Story” animated feature.
Eventually, most of the Gipsy Kings retired or left the group, leaving Nicholas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo to continue the group for albums and shows.