Gipsy King F.A.Q.

The Questions:

Who are the Gipsy Kings?
What kind of music do the Gipsy Kings play?
Have the Gipsy Kings been on any soundtracks?
Have the Gipsy Kings ever been on TV?
Do the Gipsy Kings have an official website?
How many albums have the Gipsy Kings released?
What language do the Gipsy Kings sing in?
What languages do the Gipsy Kings speak?
Why are some of the GK's guitars strung upside down?
Where, exactly, do the GK live?
What type of guitars/drums/keyboards do the GK use?
How do they manage to clap so fast?
How well do Gipsy Kings albums sell?
What's with the Burger King ads?
Have the Gipsy Kings covered any songs by other artists?

More questions: (Answers forthcoming!)

How did the Gipsy Kings get where they are today?
What music awards have the Gipsy Kings won?
How old are the Gipsy Kings? What are their birthdays?
How are the Gipsy Kings connected to other Flamenco artists?
What are some artists similar to the Gipsy Kings?


The Answers:

  1. Who are the Gipsy Kings?
    The Gipsy Kings are a group of related French gypsies: The Reyes and Baliardo families (two sets of brothers) They all play guitar and most of them sing as well. The lead singers tend to be from the Reyes clan (Nicolas, Canut, André, and Patchaï) and lead guitar is provided (if such a pale word can be used to describe it) by Tonino Baliardo. Other members of the group include/have included: Paul Reyes, Paco and Diego Baliardo, and Chico Bouchikhi.

  2. What kind of music do the Gipsy Kings play?
    The Gipsy Kings originally played a fairly traditional style of Gypsy Flamenco. To this they added percussion, bass, keyboards, and a host of other instruments to produce a unique sound which captures the flavor of many types of music from across the world. Their style has been dubbed (as many of their songs are rumba- based) Rumba Flamenca.

  3. Have the Gipsy Kings been on any soundtracks?
    The movie Fearless contained Sin Ella, A movie called Zocker Express (never heard of it) had Bamboleo in it, and the recent release The Big Lebowski haf the Gipsy Kings' contained of Hotel California.

  4. Have the Gipsy Kings ever been on TV?
    Several of their concerts have been broadcast, primarily on PBS, including a concert at Wolf Trap (Washington DC) and a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Gipsy Kings also make regular appearances on Jay Leno's and David Letterman's programs, and have been on SNL as well. Additionally, PBS just filmed a documentary about them called "Tierra Gitana" which has aired several times.

  5. Do the Gipsy Kings have an official website?
    Yes. The site is located at www.gipsykings.com.

  6. How many albums have the Gipsy Kings released?
    This is actually a difficult question to answer, because the Gipsy Kings tend to release the same album at different time in Europe and the states, and the albums often differ in terms of cover art, track order, and sometimes the counterparts have slightly different versions of tracks or one version has an extra or different track. The Gipsy Kings have also released a large number of singles, remixes, and so forth. The major releases in the U.S. have been:
    1. Gipsy Kings
    2. Mosaïque
    3. Allegria
    4. Este Mundo
    5. Live
    6. Love & Liberté
    7. Best of the Gipsy Kings
    8. Tierra Gitana
    9. Compas
    10. Cantos de Amor
    In Europe, the releases have been:
    1. Allegria
    2. Lune de Fuego
    3. Gipsy Kings
    4. Mosaïque
    5. Este Mundo
    6. Live
    7. Love & Liberté
    8. Greatest Hits
    9. Estrellas
    10. Love Songs
    11. Compas
    See the discography for information regarding US and European releases.

  7. What language do the Gipsy Kings sing in?
    Except for a few lines of English here and there, the Gipsy Kings sing in Gitane, their native Gipsy language. Gitane (which some people consider merely a dialect of Spanish) is a mixture of Spanish, French, and Catalan.

  8. What languages do the Gipsy Kings speak?
    Besides Gitane, the Gipsy Kings speak French and Spanish, and most of them probably know at least some English.

  9. Why are some of the GK's guitars strung upside down?
    The Gipsy Kings all grew up playing the guitar, but they couldn't all afford to have their own. Thus, the younger Reyes brothers (Nicolas and André had to use their older brothers' (Canut's and Paul's) guitars. Unfortuantely, Nicolas and André are left-handed, where their older brothers are not. When the younger brothers restrung the guitars for themselves, they received beatings from their older siblings. Thus, it became easier for them to learn to play their older brothers' guitars upside-down.

  10. Where, exactly, do the GK live?
    The Gipsy Kings hail from Provence, in the south of France. The Reyes brothers live in and around Arles, with their families. The Baliardos live in Montpelier.

  11. What type of guitars/drums/keyboards do the GK use?
    Right now, the Gipsy Kings use Còrdoba guitars.

  12. How do they manage to clap so fast?
    The rhythmic clapping is a technique called palmas. One clapper claps on the beat, the other on the off-beat. Thus, together, they can clap twice as fast as either could alone. The technique is very difficult to learn, but one way to learn is for the partners to face one another, one person to clap up-and-down, the other side-to-side, in such a way that they have to get out of each other's way. The Gipsy Kings manage to do it without this aide. Probably some of them always calp on-beat and some of them always clap off-beat.

  13. How well do Gipsy Kings albums sell?
    The Gipsy Kings are the most popular World Music group. They have sold over 13 million albums worldwide, including over 3 million in the United States. (A notoriously xenophobic market). Their debut album has been certified gold or platinum in at least 15 countries.

  14. What's with the Burger King ads?
    Some time ago, Burger King launched an ad campaign feauturing various popular songs by popular artists. The Gipsy Kings' Bamboleo got the nod for the background music to the "Southwestern BBQ" burger. (Or something like that). Why a group of French Gypsies should inspire people to eat a hamburger is beyond me.

  15. Have the Gipsy Kings covered any songs by other artists?
    Much of the Gipsy Kings' music is based on traditional flamenco tunes, including songs performed by José Reyes & Los Reyes. The Gipsy Kings have covered a few "modern" songs as well. These include A Mi Manera (My Way), Volaré, I've Got No Strings, Hotel California, and Funiculi Funicula.


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