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Gipsy Kings and new generations

keberoxu 11 Nov 15 - 07:39 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 12:19 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 16 - 12:27 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 12:44 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 12:48 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 16 - 12:55 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 01:06 PM
Monique 23 Mar 16 - 02:01 PM
keberoxu 23 Mar 16 - 03:21 PM
keberoxu 08 Aug 16 - 05:53 PM
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Subject: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 07:39 PM

The 2014 Grammy Awards included an album by the Gipsy Kings, whose albums and tours have kept them in the public eye for over twenty-five years.

When their music got my attention years ago, I found and read their official biography, "Parce que nous sommes gitans," whose author I forget. As their families live in the Camargue, in the south of France, their language for formal official occasions is French; they have acquired some Spanish over the years, but it is with French that they are more conversational, as the biography made clear.

This year there have been appearances and tours, which I only know about second-hand as I have not gone. Time, however, has brought a development which, when viewed in the long term, is natural -- but disconcerting to fans buying the music products.

Now that the original members of the group, in both families -- Reyes and Baliardo -- are old enough to have grandchildren (and some undoubtably have them), there are two things being expressed. One, is that some of these older men don't want to be touring anymore, especially when their health is more fragile. The other, is that some of them want to be making music with their adult children as well as with the relatives of their own generation.

It has not been easy for these developments to be accommodated by the existing group. Indeed, there are two groups now, where there used to be one.

There is still an official presence, for whom the publicity now reads: Gipsy Kings Featuring Nicolas Reyes (longtime lead vocalist) and Tonino Baliardo (longtime lead guitarist). They have some of their sons with them in the band now. It is their brothers who are missing.

Guitarist Tonino Baliardo in fact is the youngest amongst his own brothers; as the biography discloses, they were raised without a father, and oldest brother Diego was very much the surrogate parent. It was no secret, although spoken of discreetly, that Diego's health was challenged by the touring; with his younger brothers now off and raising their own families, he no longer needed to support them; and his only child had married and started a family. Now he no longer tours, but stays amongst his own people. By all accounts, his departure from the touring group was amicable and everyone wished him well.

With the five brothers Reyes, it is a different story. These men, all proficient with the guitar, are the sons of a flamenco singer, and they all sing themselves, some of them are songwriters and poets. You can have an ensemble of men singing in harmony for a while, anyway....and Gipsy Kings recordings have -- if you know where to look -- occasional tracks where the harmony singing is remarkable. That acoustic album "Alegria" is a good example, it was recorded before they had a backup band with drums and electrified instruments, and the vocal harmonies are really tight and clear.

Today Nicolas Reyes sings in harmony with his sons, nephews and cousins. His brothers sang with him on the Grammy-winning album; and yet, it seems, the writing was already on the wall. Not long after the award was received, two of Nicolas' brothers, Patchai and Canut, released brief statements in French: we have been thrown out of the group, and they are leaving for the Australia tour without us....

It is not a simple question of not wanting these older men around. It is about their adult children, and how each parent wants to sing with his own. The latest new configuration, managed by Miles Copeland and currently named Gipsy Royale (James Bond, anyone?), includes three brothers, Pablo, Patchai, and Andre, and their sons. Canut's children are much younger; and he himself is staying at home, although at last report he was on better terms with Patchai and company than with Nicolas.

Then again, the group lineups are subject to change without notice....some of the fans lament the breaking up of the brotherhood, but the groups keep going one way or another.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings: 2014 interview
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 12:19 PM

Two years ago, following their Grammy win, Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo returned to France, and agreed to a photo session -- in the Camargue, with caravan and horse -- along with an interview. All published in late February 2014 in Paris Match. Journalist, Benjamin Locoge. (Can be found online.)

[What are your earliest memories of music?]
Tonino
There was always music in the house. My relatives taught me to sing by the time I was five years old, but I always felt too nervous in front of them. So I gave it up, fast, to concentrate on the guitar.
Nicolas
There were always guitars around at home. After our grand-parents passed away, everybody applied themselves to singing. I would sit on the ground in front of them, listen to them singing: that is how I learned.

[How did the two of you meet each other?]
Tonino
When we were young, we met where guitarists and singers generally meet each other: during the annual celebration at Saintes-Maries-de-la Mer. Those were the good times, when Gypsies loved to see each other, they embraced, they conversed, it was traditional, convivial. Those who were travelers would relate their adventures to the Gypsies who never left Montpellier or Perpignan. During the day, we stayed around the caravans for the celebration. Every night, we would adjourn to the big local houses ["mas", farmhouse in the Camargue] and to the local restaurants. It was music before everything else, we would get the guitars out and play all night long.
Nicolas
I am almost nostalgic about those days. We had the bare necessities, we had happiness, there were no luxuries, there was no television...We lived in our caravans, our sheets were hung up to dry outside, and we all slept inside [the trailers]. Life was simpler, and there was neither pride nor jealousy.


[Tonino, you joined the Gipsy Kings at the age of 19 years, in 1980. Everyone in your family supported this?]
Tonino
Yes, everybody approved. The group needed a solo guitarist, so off I went. When I first took off, I felt like laughing often. Even if, when it came down to playing the music, it was a serious business.
Nicolas
Myself, I only thought we might last for one tourist season making the rounds of Saint-Tropez. I never imagined that this would turn into this huge thing, The Gipsy Kings.
Tonino
Every day, we were busking on the beach. Every night it was arranged that somebody or other's Saint-Tropez villa would invite us to provide music for entertainment in-house. We met Brigitte Bardot that way. After meeting us, she would actually visit us in our caravans and dance with us there as well. She was still very beautiful in those days. We always treated her with great respect.

[Your first album came out in 1982. You took until 1987 to become successful. Did it seem like a long wait?]
Tonino
No, it allowed us to take our time. Then, when success happened, we were better musicians for it, we could not fool the public.

TO be continued


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 12:27 PM

To be continued

Could you not just provide a link?


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 12:44 PM

continued

[In retrospect, what do you think of your success?]
Tonino
A great time, also synonymous with great deprivation. The touring took us away from our families for months at a time. This was kind of hard, even if we were off seeing the world.
Nicolas
....I was so deeply impressed by the sheer number of people in the audience who wanted to see us.

[And what did you do with the money?]
Nicolas
I invested it with great care! But in the band, some of the others, they did I don't know what....
Tonino
The business is cutthroat, it always will be. We paid no attention to the contracts and the royalties. In our spirits, we had never left Saint-Tropez busking. When the concerts were finished, we would leave with a bit of money, and everything else disappeared. When the group lost Chico in 1992, we found out about all this.

[Did this break something in the group?]
Tonino
It made us stop and reflect. We have a better grasp of the business now. It also made us realize that we really are professionals from henceforth. Afterwards, the whole experience with Chico [Bouchikhi, married to a sister of Nicolas] leaving the group, with regard to our personal relationship with him and his family, could have been better handled: it is a pity.
Nicolas
It is the Gipsy law, the tradition, that former members of the group continue to receive some part of the royalties, even if they have not been with us for a very long time. Sometimes they rejoin us on occasion.

[And talking of relationships and families, what has success made possible for you?]
Tonino
It kept the family together, maybe too much so: My children have been too spoiled. But they are proud of their father. Besides, my first-born son plays in the group with us now.
Nicolas
Oh, as for me, I am a real mother hen! The family is the most important thing. Besides, the loveliest tune I ever wrote, "Habla Me," I wrote for my wife, whom I married when I was only fifteen years old. I left everything for her, and never looked back.

[Since 1990, Paris has seen only two Gipsy Kings engagements on stage. Why?]
Tonino
There were all the legal problems with Chico, and besides there were certain music groups appropriating our "Gipsy" name who were not "kings". Our tours took us to the United States very often. We complained to our managers, often, that we wanted to play live in France. And they always said the same thing: "Next year..." They left it too late, nothing happened. We were forgotten a little bit.

to be continued


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 12:48 PM

GUEST, if you want to read this in the original French, you go right ahead. Or use Google translate to pull up the original French and hack some English out of it.
I neglected to mention that the English translation is mine, and no Google, either.
And I have yet to learn how to cut and paste, so I can't do blue clicky yet. I'm a typist, not a word process student. Maybe someday I will learn what the young adults grew up with.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 12:55 PM

And I have yet to learn how to cut and paste

Please don't spout complete bollocks. It doesn't become you.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM

conclusion

[Do you feel yourselves to be French?]
Tonino
Yes. Every concert, we begin by saying that we are the Gipsy Kings who come from Arles and Montpellier. I feel very French myself, it is the country where I was born, where I vote. Abroad, I feel more French than Gypsy. We should sometimes like to be regarded as ambassadors for the country of our birth. But this is far from being the case; the latest thing is Daft Punk with the helmets. Our music is more communal than theirs. But we, since 1990, we have shown the whole world that we are French, and proud of it.
Nicolas
I too, I am proud to be French. But few people out there know of it. After our concerts, when people talk to us, they ask often, if we are Spanish or Mexican.

[There is the perception that Western Gypsies are linked to the Roma. Does this pose a problem for you?]
Tonino
Hundreds of years ago, the Roma separated from us Gypsies here in the West, and the East is where they ended up. We don't seek each other out. We don't have the same language or the same culture. There is as great a difference between a Rom and a Western Gypsy as there is between somebody from Paris and somebody from Marseilles.

[What is your state of mind in this moment?]
Tonino
Our album won a Grammy award. This made us want to record another album. Well, the truth is, Facebook, Internet, we don't know how, and we're not interested in them. We would rather play music as usual and make good recordings.
Nicolas
You have to want to go on making music.
Tonino
We can't wait to see how it all turns out.

[Because the adventure is going to terminate?]
Tonino
I don't know. I really love this line of questioning...
Nicolas
Today, all is well with the group. With age, I have become a better singer, I have more experience, and I still enjoy myself. I have no desire to stop now.

the end
the translation is keberoxu's fault -- from the original French


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 01:06 PM

I have yet to learn how to cut and paste. That is a truthful statement. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: Monique
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 02:01 PM

Guest, here you are: Paris-Match article in French.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 03:21 PM

Much obliged, Monique. Truly decent of you.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 05:53 PM

Things can change in less than a year's time with the "gitans" from France's Midi-Pyrenees. Not that older posts on this thread are invalid, but they cannot contain the flux and shifting that goes on in multiple generations of these musicians and their families.

José Reyes, with much musical ability and very little formal education (illiterate), would sing years ago with the Baliardo/Ballardo family guitarist with the nickname Manitas de Plata, who over the years has had Mudcat members who enjoyed his recordings. Both men are deceased now, singer Reyes dying at a tragically early age due to lung cancer.

The children of José Reyes included sons, by birth order, Paul/Pablo, Francois/Canut, Patchai, Nicolas, and André. The sons initially sang with their father toward the end of his life; with his passing, they continued, using his family name, Los Reyes, which happens to be Spanish for The Kings. This family unit was strikingly cohesive for several decades, while these brothers had young families to support. The decision to leave their children at home while the brothers toured the world, following the international success of "Bamboleo," did not come easy for these musicians; but the tours and recordings allowed them to raise their sons and daughters in greater ease than they themselves had been raised.

In the meanwhile, the extended families under the name Baliardo experienced matters a little differently; it seems that Manitas de Plata was not the cohesive force to his sons and nephews, to unite them professionally and keep them together and bonded, that José Reyes was. So Los Reyes persevered in and around Arles, while the numerous Baliardos centered around Montpellier.

Diego Baliardo, the oldest of three brothers, is not a direct descendant of Manitas de Plata, although there is a blood connection; of his father, no one cares to speak in detail, except to allow that the father -- a different Baliardo -- was indeed a decent player of the guitar. But somehow, the father let the family down, and it was the older son who essentially brought up his siblings under straitened circumstances, ignored and disregarded by closer relatives of Manitas de Plata, and -- perhaps not shunned -- but regarded, among the "gitans," as just another struggling, somewhat broken family unit. Diego ("Maurice" on the papers) had a minimal education and performed whatever unskilled labor would support the household; with his two younger brothers, he was determined that they would complete schooling and was paternally strict. All three played the guitar, and it was the youngest, the soft-spoken, quiet Tonino, who would lock himself in a room for hours at a time, practicing his music so as to develop and master his guitar in private.

Today, Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, both with grown sons who also make music, remain an intact unit, and they continue as The Gipsy Kings. However, it was inevitable, with the strong personalities and talents of their other brothers and especially those of their young adult nephews, that at some point, one musical group simply was not big enough to contain everyone.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 06:17 PM

Much of the information given in English in the posts on this thread, can be sourced from "Parce que nous sommes Gitans," a French-language biography written by journalist Francois Mattei several decades ago at the time of the break-out success of "Bamboleo."

Figuring large in the detailed chapters of this book, was a young man who played guitar, contributed backing vocals, and worked very hard at "palmas," the hand-clapping with which "gitan" musicians accompany singers and guitarists. He went, and still goes, by the nickname "Chico" and he married a sister of the Reyes brothers, becoming literally a brother-in-law. His entry into Los Reyes dates back to the last years with José Reyes, and he was present for the inevitable family transition when the patriarch died.

His official name is Jahloul Bouchikhi, and he is what the French call a "Beur" in the backwards argot of 'verlan.' I understand this to mean that he was born in France of immigrants who came from North Africa. He was known as "chico" from an early age, playing and going to school with children who spoke mixtures of French, Spanish, and Catalan; and, after he married into Los Reyes, his own children would be raised much the same way, in the south of France.

Chico Bouchikhi would do much to keep Los Reyes going during the lean years, not truly a leader but often the go-between in business dealings, as the musical group became more successful. When Francois Mattei's book concludes, the Gipsy Kings are in happily-ever-after mode, one cohesive group, with one Bouchikhi, three Baliardo brothers, and Nicolas Reyes the most fixed and stable of the brothers Reyes while his brothers would come and go and come back to the group with periodic regularity.

Real life intruded only a few years after the book was published. By now The Gipsy Kings was a money-making machine with best-selling recordings and world-wide tours; and inevitably the musicians realized that their management was the opposite of transparent, and that money was not being accounted for. Chico Bouchikhi, fairly or unfairly, was caught in the crossfire. The dispute ended up in civil court, with royalties, copyrights, compositions, and group names under negotiation. It proved simplest for Chico to leave the group and to continue making music with different musicians, under more modest circumstances. Today, with his children grown, Chico is philosophical, answering questions by maintaining that all has turned out for the best.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 03:27 PM

It seems that with the recording of a studio-based, Grammy-winning album, the Gipsy Kings as they have been since roughly the year 2000, were due for another great passage of transition, changing the membership that had been maintained in front of the public for so long.

Now a generation or two of listeners and fans have grown up with this international attraction. I don't know, can't guess, what percentage have sat down, as I have, and read the French-language biography, with all its reminiscences and details about the band members. The brothers Baliardo are close-mouthed, and grudgingly answer questions about their own circumstances; on the road, they are characterized by their punctiliousness with regard to time, as in, what time is the airplane flight that takes us back home at the end of the tour? The brothers Reyes are more expansive, emotional, and spontaneous. Careful reading of Francois Mattei's chapters can disclose which of the Reyes brothers is the practical joker of the group; which one is most literate, and tends to read written texts for the benefit of the other brothers and tell them what a document says; which one is most passionately supportive of the music-making of his own growing children; which one likes touring the least....

Something else has caught up with the brothers/brothers-in-law/cousins/etc. who make up what is really an extended family within the musical band. That is the Internet and social media. Note, on posts earlier on this thread, the disclosure by lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo that social media and virtual news-media/communications by computer do not interest him, "us" he says. He has a point, as he comes from a generation that is now aging, which can remember life without Facebook, Twitter, and online fan forums.

Those forms of online communication and social media, however, are here to stay. And this aspect of life in the twenty-first century is one of the things that makes the family break-ups and relationship changes different, in these years of 2014 -- 2016, than they were when the Gipsy Kings and Chico Bouchikhi lawyered up at the end of the 1990's. Not only are some family tensions and transitions being played out in the public eye, because of relatives being fellow members of a hugely successful performing arts enterprise, but all the notoriety of journalism and fan/audience response through online channels is being brought to bear upon these musicians and their fluctuating situation.

Does that mean there are things you can view online that dish the dirt about the latest Gipsy Kings changes? Heck, yes, it does. And some of it is as prurient as you might guess, while other search results sound more formal and official. But that is for a future post.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Aug 16 - 07:38 PM

With an Internet search engine, as remarked above, you can rake up a lot of recent muck about the musicians who used to play and record all together, first as Los Reyes, then as the Gipsy Kings (Francois Mattei claims that Chico Bouchikhi insisted, years before fame and success on an international scale, on switching to an English-language group name). It's easier to do muck-raking, as such, with some knowledge of French, as this is their official native language, as France is the country of their birth and where they make their homes. And if any of the prurient tacky notices get reproduced on this thread, it will not be by me; I can't stop others from doing so, but I choose not to do it myself.

To demonstrate that there is more music-making going on, currently, than one group can contain, here are links to a number of websites.

the group Chico & the Gypsies This group will perform in August in Monte Carlo.

Gipsy Kings with Nicolas Reyes & Tonino Baliardo, coming to a North American casino resort near you

the newest and most surprising Post-Gipsy-Kings combination


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 19 Oct 16 - 04:51 PM

To follow the developments in the relationships of musicians, blood relatives, and in-laws in the long-lived Gipsy Kings musical undertaking, one cannot be limited to English. The most consistent detailed results come in the French language, as all these performers are French born and raised. Spanish-language results are scarcer, but they exist.

In one interview, the Mexican press reported on an engagement of the Gipsy Kings in Baja California; on this occasion, the spokesperson for the Gipsy Kings was neither lead singer Nicolas Reyes nor lead guitarist Tonino Baliardo, who often do interviews in tandem; this time, it was Baliardo's oldest brother Diego Baliardo. The latter volunteered that his father was born in Figueras, a detail I had not discovered elsewhere before; this to illustrate Diego Baliardo's point, that relocating to the Midi in the South of France, for Catalan-speaking "gitanos," was a question of bringing the traditional lifestyle with them, that Camargue-area "gitans" were raised, in France, much the same way that their Spanish-born ancestors had been.

Diego Baliardo, who in recent years had stayed closer to home and participated less in the big international touring schedule of the Gipsy Kings, has recently joined forces with Pablo Reyes, the oldest of the brothers of lead singer Nicolas Reyes. While Nicolas and Tonino tour with their sons and with musicians young enough to be their sons, without their brothers as of old, their brothers continue to perform without participating in the big touring machine. The official Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo continue to make the rounds of stadiums, arenas, and casinos the world over, without their brothers. Pablo Reyes and Diego Baliardo, in the meantime, are part of a French organization -- "gipsy bookings" -- based in the South of France, promoting the "rumba flamenco" of Camargue and the Midi, keeping local musicians before the public eye in the local area; and these two older brothers perform together and record music, while staying closer to home and no longer running all over the globe on high-profile tours.

Two men who have made music and performed together from their adolescence, Canut Reyes and Chico Bouchikhi, respectively the brother and brother-in-law of lead singer Nicolas Reyes, remain friendly with each other, stay close to their Southern-France home bases, and perform together on occasion. There is reason for these two Gipsy-Kings old-timers, each of whom left the big band with a sense of having been pushed out due to relationship tensions, to feel like they understand each other as none of the others understand them. Nicolas, faithful to the spouse that he married in his teens, says today (French media) that he cannot forgive Chico Bouchikhi for breaking off with his wife and their children; the ex-wife is Nicolas' sister. For his part, Canut also eased out of his youthful marriage, and his more recent partner used to post on his behalf in online social media; some unpleasantness online came to a head, and Canut no longer dispatches updates to forums and webpages and online blogs.

Patchai and Andre Reyes, also brothers of Nicolas, have sons of their own with whom they naturally want to make music and perform. There simply were too many adult sons and adult nephews to crowd into the big international Gipsy Kings touring machine, but opportunities remain for these singers and songwriters to perform with their adult children, and their appearances can be followed from their Facebook pages.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 20 Mar 17 - 05:28 PM

Royal Albert Hall will see a Gipsy Kings performance in April 2017. What is unclear is who will be in the group. There are already conflicting accounts online. One is that the April appearance will feature Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo, cousins and middle-aged men who have recently exercised their prerogative of admitting their grown children to the touring group. Another is that Diego Baliardo, Tonino's older brother, and Pablo Reyes, Nicolas' older brother, will bring THEIR grown children on a tour, of which this is one performance.

There is no mention in these promotional notices of Canut Reyes, Patchai Reyes, Andre Reyes, or Paco Baliardo, all of whom were for decades a part of the international touring Gipsy Kings attraction.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 20 Mar 17 - 05:47 PM

Mudcat has longtime members who first heard Manitas de Plata, in some form or other (not necessarily live), many years ago. Older Mudcat threads may be found in which these Mudcatters are polarized, pro and con, on the Gitans who live in France, and on any connection their music has, not to Django Reinhardt's jazz, but to Andalusian traditions of flamenco and to Gitanos who live in Spain.

It is because a connection, however tenuous or twisted, does exist on a historical level, that the discussion may never be settled one way or the other.

For musicians who speak English, and come from the UK or the US, flamenco is mostly a remote experience. Some posts defending Manitas de Plata allow that the poster had never been exposed to flamenco before hearing the guitar music of Manitas de Plata. There are those in a younger generation who might well say the same of the Gipsy Kings and their internationally successful recordings and concert tours. So, in a funny way, history repeats itself.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 21 Mar 17 - 03:32 PM

Publicity for two generations of French Gitan musicians takes a particular theme this year. It was thirty years ago that the single "Bamboleo" became a hit record and catapulted the Gipsy Kings into wealth, international tours, and fame. The musicians who were part of the group then -- roughly eight or nine men, some of whom came and went, some of whom were constant -- will observe, during 2017, a number of commemorative, anniversary reunions in public.

Jahloul "Chico" Bouchikhi, who has composer and copyright co-credits on "Bamboleo" and, very likely, will live in comfort and ease on some of its royalties for the rest of his life, has scheduled one such reunion. It will be in Paris, as a headliner concert spectacle, at "l'Olympia"; and the promotion says that Chico, with his current musical group, will be joined by three brothers-in-law: the oldest, Pablo Reyes, with two other siblings, Patchai and Canut. All very telling, in light of the break-up in the last five years: it is these brothers Reyes who were released from the big Gipsy Kings tours, some less politely than others, while their younger brother Nicolas Reyes continued as THE lead vocalist of the Official Gipsy Kings, and, significantly, replaced his brothers with his grown children and his nephews.

So the older brothers Reyes will reunite with Chico Bouchikhi in Paris for this concert in early June 2017.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 18 - 07:49 AM

Thank You very much, keberoxu and Guest,( Et. Al.), for your efforts in providing helpful information and some answers to questions that I have had. I have just recently found this site and am very grateful. I knew of the "Gipsy Kings" many years ago, possibly sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and had purchased one album as a result of catching them in a performance on TV, maybe on PBS, and by pure chance / luck.    Only very recently -- and suddenly, 'out of the blue,'-- have I become very interested in their music and in the members as individual people. I do hope that there will be more information here, again. (Today is May 21, 2018 which, I think, is Diego Baliardo's Birthday. I wish I could send him my best wishes, but I don't know how one can do that!). Again, thanks so much for obviously truly caring about the Gipsy Kings members, past and present. You write very well and with sincerity. I am sorry and I regret that I can only post a message to you here, for I can't yet send nor receive email !


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 21 May 18 - 12:25 PM

Guest, thank YOU -- you made my day.
Where you stand now, so once stood I. I'm old enough to have gotten clear through post-graduate education without word processors or computers. I too had to learn about e-mail. There is still a lot that I don't know. Embarrassed to admit, there are still things that I have not learned to do.

Regarding Diego Baliardo: do you know the Gipsy Kings album, "Roots" , released I believe by Nonesuch in 2004? He had just become a grandfather for the first time, and the little song that closes the album, 'Petite Noya,' is how he welcomed his first grandchild into the world: he sings it himself.

A great deal of what I know about personal computers, the Internet, and e-mail, I learned with the help of the staff at 'Kinko's'. Today 'Kinko's' has been absorbed into Federal Express and its services are provided at those branches called "FedEx Office." Now, these public computers are NOT free of charge; they are rental stations, they take credit cards, and they are not cheap! But by renting computer time on the public computers at 'FedEx Office', I have access to those wonderful, patient, knowledgeable staffpeople. And although they have a lot of other things to do, many of these employees have been happy to help me. I owe them a lot. Just a word to the wise there.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 21 May 18 - 05:18 PM

Right now, if I'm not mistaken, is the time of year
for the annual pilgrimage to
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in La Camargue,
which is like homecoming week for the Catalan-speaking Gitans in the south of France.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: Helen
Date: 21 May 18 - 05:43 PM

Hi keberoxu,

Thanks for all of your hard work translating the French article. I'll come back to this thread and read it all when I have a bit of time.

The first time I ever bought CD's was back in the late 80's. It was even before I owned a CD player.

I worked in the public library and we had a very musically knowledgeable librarian who was responsible for buying the library CD collection so Gipsy Kings CD's had arrived at the branch library where I worked and I loved them immediately. I went into the music shop near the library and found two Gipsy Kings CD's, so I bought them both - self titled Gipsy Kings, and Mosaique. I then went and bought a CD player a few days later, because I couldn't wait to hear them at home. I played those CD's over and over and over, and I still listen to them and love them.

(Thread creep: Buying a recording without the means to play it seems to be a repeat habit of mine. When I was an extremely poor student, I heard a piece of music on my tinny little transistor radio and I had to buy the vinyl record even though I had no record player. It was a couple of years before I moved in with some other students who owned a record player and that's when I finally heard the record. It was a classical piece called
Erbarme Dich from 'ST Matthew Passion' BWV 244 played on the flute by Thijs van Leer (of the Focus band) and Letty DeJong on vocals. I upgraded to a CD a few years ago because my record player is packed away so I can hear it again.)


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: Mr Red
Date: 22 May 18 - 04:51 AM

Wychwood Festival Cheltenham UK 1st - 3rd June 2018 - Headliners.

UK tour June & July. return to US in August


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,Oceana
Date: 23 May 18 - 02:35 PM

Thank you so very much, keberexu, for your additional information regarding the "Gipsy Kings." I found a little video on YT with dear Diego singing "Petite Noya" !                                    ( I also enjoyed Helen's Gipsy Kings comment and the "Thread creep" comment. :) Grazie for all.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 May 18 - 05:19 PM

The two record albums named by Helen,
"Gipsy Kings" and "Mosaique,"
were the first two albums, as I understand it,
released by the Gipsy Kings in the United States.
Some twenty-five to thirty years of albums have been released since,
and the United States has remained a constant in
the Gipsy Kings' international tours.
(I'm in the US and I've never been; I only know them from records, books, and interviews.)

But these recordings were hardly the first time that
the Gipsy Kings had been inside a recording studio.
In fact they were thoroughly seasoned performers,
both in public and for hire in private,
by the time they recorded those two albums.

"Parce que nous sommes Gitans," the official French-language biography,
goes into considerable detail, with interviews from several Europeans,
about the years before the breakthrough hit song "Bamboleo,"
and that may in fact be the greatest strength of said book.
The Gipsy Kings, in those days -- let's say, before 1990 --
were in demand on the French Riviera for
wealthy socialites' house parties, wedding receptions, and so on;
those private soirées were big money-makers for the group,
who continued to busk on the beaches as well.

"Parce que nous sommes Gitans", in two or three specific chapters,
goes into detail about the two occasions during the '80's
when the Gipsy Kings went into a recording studio in France,
and made recordings of what was on their set-lists
for one of these engagements.
They went into the studio, set up, the tape started rolling,
and the group launched right into the list of songs,
behaving exactly as they would behave if they were crowded together
on some platform or stage, with the party guests dancing around them.
That means,
no second takes, and lively conversation within the group between songs. It is all played out on the recording.
There is no big back-up group of pop musicians:
no bass guitar, no drums, no keyboards.
It's just the singing, the guitars, and "las palmas" -- the handclaps.

The result, years after their big success,
was compiled on a single album titled "Allegria."
Well, in Spanish it ought to be Alegría with a single l, not a double ll as in Italian, but too bad --
what's done is done.

When this collection was finally released in the USA,
cassette tapes were still in vogue, so it came out on cassettes,
on Compact Discs, and finally went digital.

Also the publishing company changes with the formats, it seems.
"Allegria" as a compact disc was released on the Nonesuch label.
"Allegria" as a cassette album was released by WEA which is, what? Warners of old?
"Allegria" on MP-3 is copyrighted by Passport Songs Music.

The personnel on the "Allegria" compilation consists of:

Jahloul "Chico" Bouchikhi, handclaps, guitar, backing vocals, and most of the cheering shouts (or, "jaleo") between verses
Paul "Pablo" Reyes, vocals, backing guitar
Francois "Canut" Reyes, some lead vocals, backing guitar
Patchaï Reyes, some lead vocals, backing guitar
Maurice "Diego" Baliardo, backing guitar, handclaps
Paco Baliardo, backing vocals, backing guitar
Hippolyte "Canard" Baliardo, some lead vocals, backing vocals, backing guitar
Tonino Baliardo, lead guitar
Nicolas Reyes, lead vocals and backing guitar

Note: "Canard," officially named Hippolyte Baliardo, is NOT a Baliardo brother; there is a blood relationship but it is kind of remote, more of a cousin situation. He was only a Gipsy King for a handful of years, because he wanted to stay closer to home.
"Canard" is interviewed in depth by journalist Francois Mattei in the book,
"Parce que nous sommes Gitans."

In short:
I recommend this collection, "Allegria." It is the Gipsy Kings Unplugged,
how they sang and played before they had backup musicians
(to whom they good-naturedly refer as "les rongeuers,"
which means "the varmints".)


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 May 18 - 02:35 PM

I have overlooked these interviews before now, they are decades old. In English (with a translator's interpretation)

Los Angeles Times 1992

Los Angeles Times 1993


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:11 PM

A word about the journalist Francois Mattei.
He was already something of a veteran, scars and all, of French journalism, writing features for periodicals,
when the story of the Gipsy Kings became an opportunity for him.

His book, "Parce que nous sommes Gitans," was published in 1990
by Hachette Filipacchi in France, entirely in French.
As stated in earlier posts on this thread,
the book is wrapped up with everything appearing unified and harmonious
in the group :
even, one hesitates to say it, sounding settled and stable.

Well that was then, and things ... changed.
Especially for Francois Mattei.

If you read French, you can read Mattei's side of the story here:
French journal Libération, 2006 interview

Briefly, for those who do not read French:
this is how I understand the sequence of events, and mark you,
I might be mistaken here. But here goes:

Years -- only a few years, actually -- after Mattei's official group biography
of the Gipsy Kings was published,
began the legal, financial, and familial quarreling.
Did Mattei get caught up in it? He certainly did.

Chico Bouchikhi, who for so many years, before the big hit record,
had been the manager and go-between for the Gipsy Kings and their patrons,
found himself in a confrontation with the Gipsy Kings' high-powered management company.
Allegations and accusations were made about money.
Posts earlier in this thread, of English translations from a Paris Match
interview with Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo,
refer to this confrontation.

The outcome is messy. Both sides lawyer up.
Bouchikhi still, to this day, receives royalties for certain hit songs that were released before the Gipsy Kings fired him.
But, indeed, his own band did throw him out.
And, in time, there would be further bad blood between
the remaining Gipsy Kings and those same high-powered managers
in Chico Bouchikhi's absence.

Francois Mattei, he whose book/biography is the result of long intervals traveling on tour with the group, conducting interviews, getting increasingly close and intimate with the musicians,
becomes someone who steps into the gap left by
the agents and managers with whom the group breaks up.
With his book out there in the shops,
Mattei becomes the interpreter, for a time, in the Gipsy Kings' interviews with non-French-speaking journalists.

And then, as the "Libération" interview above relates,
things go too far.

My rough and tumble English translation, one small paragraph:
"Francois Mattei's career as a journalist branches off in 1992 when
he becomes the manager of the Gipsy Kings. Or, rather, an imposter:
'Andre Reyes and the Gipsy Stars'.
"In 2003, the 'Gipsy Stars' management catches up with him [Mattei].
After returning [to France] from a voyage to Morocco, he is arrested and detained in prison, where he will spend two months. "I had been sentenced in absentia without knowing of it," he explains.
The notification of the trial and the verdict had been sent to an old, invalid address [of Mattei's].
A new trial is held, with the consequence that Mattei is acquitted."

It will be recalled that Andre Reyes is the youngest Reyes brother, younger even than Nicolas Reyes, the lead singer.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 24 May 18 - 03:16 PM

Keberoxu you have become Mudcat No.1 binge poster.

no-one reads all this stuff.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 May 18 - 02:39 PM

"Chico" Bouchikhi, of course, has his own side of the story.
The Francois Mattei book leans heavily towards Chico's point of view anyhow,
since, out of the whole Gipsy Kings line-up at the time,
Chico was the one who spoke at the greatest length and depth to author Mattei.

There are at least three places to learn more
about Jahloul "Chico" Bouchikhi for those who wish to.

Biographer Gwenndoline Sauval collaborated with Bouchikhi for
an authorised biography titled
Chico, L'âme des Gypsies, published in 2006, French language, in France.

Bouchikhi has since published a more informal paperback called
Mes plus belles rencontres, in 2016, also French language.

Then there is Chico's homepage, which includes English and French.


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: keberoxu
Date: 26 May 18 - 04:55 PM

Online there is an attempt at an English translation of
the Francois Mattei biography;
I think a chapter or two may be missing, but most of the book is represented.

This English translation is a mystery to me, by the way.
I have no information about the translator,
or the website that hosts the pages.
The question of how legal this is, is a good question,
and I do not know the answers.

Table of Contents: Because We Are Gypsies


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Subject: RE: Gipsy Kings and new generations
From: GUEST,Oceana
Date: 28 May 18 - 01:22 AM

Greetings, Mr. Dave H.,   Please forgive me, for I am one who reads it all !   I'm grateful for keberoxu. I do sympathize with you, though, Mr. Dave. I imagine that you must be looking for different, new things to discover and read about here and are feeling disappointed.   I'm afraid I don't understand French and there isn't much detailed information available in English about the Gipsy Kings group story and their wonderful music.   I'm learning from keberoxu and there probably others learning, as well. May you soon be blessed with an abundance of that which will bring you much pleasure and happiness, Mr. Dave !   (Oceana).


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