Gipsy Kings – Hotel California

Gipsy Kings – Hotel California

But it was famous singer Reyes who was mostly responsible for the new surge of popular interest, however, when he left Manitas de Plata and started a band of his own, made up of his own sons, which he called “Los Reyes”. The band would later become “Gipsy Kings”.

Los Reyes started out as a gypsy band. They traveled around France, playing at weddings, festivals, and in the streets. Because they lived so much like gypsies, the band adopted the name The Gipsy Kings. Later, they were hired to add colour to upper-class parties in such places as St. Tropez.

But popularity did not come quickly to the band and their first two albums attracted little notice. At this point, the Gipsies played traditional flamenco invigorated by Baliardo’s guitar playing and Nicolas Reyes’ exceptional voice.

The three left-handed guitarists in the Gipsy Kings’ line-up play guitars that are strung for right-handers, playing them upside-down. These left-handed performers focus on delivering the strong underpinning rhythms while the more complex leads are performed by the right-handed and conventionally styled Baliardo.
They became popular with their self-titled first album, Gipsy Kings, which included the songs “Djobi Djoba”, “Bamboléo” and the romantic ballad “Un Amor”. The song “Volare” on their fourth album Mosaïque is a rumba version of Domenico Modugno’s Italian hit “Nel blu dipinto di blu”. The Gipsy Kings were popular in Africa and throughout Europe, as well as in the Middle East.

In 1989 Gipsy Kings was released in the United States and spent 40 weeks on the charts, one of few Spanish language albums to do so. The band then covered “I’ve Got No Strings” for the 1991 Disney video and compilation album Simply Mad About the Mouse.

Their cover version of “Hotel California” was an example of fast flamenco guitar leads and rhythmic strumming: it was featured in the Coen Brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski as well as on the HBO series Entourage. The 2010 film Toy Story 3 featured a version of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” performed and recorded by the band; the Spanish language version was entitled “Hay un Amigo en Mi” and was performed in a more recognisably flamenco style.

The band have been criticised by flamenco purists, but one of the Reyes family responded by saying the flamenco world is not in great shape itself and that the band are proud of their success; the Compas album contains more traditional flamenco music.

Solo projects
Some of the individual members of the band have put out their own albums. For example in 1988 Canut Reyes released his solo project Boléro. He has since released a second solo album titled Gitano.

André Reyes recorded a solo album in 1992, but never released it officially although pirated copies found their way into the hands of fans and were released online. Tonino Baliardo released his own instrumental album Essences in 2001, it was re-released in 2003.


Gipsy Kings are members of two related families: the Reyes (‘Kings’ in English) and the Baliardos. Nicolas, Canut, Paul, Andre and Patchai Reyes are sons of the flamenco singer Jose Reyes. The Gipsy Kings are:

Nicolas Reyes: lead vocals, guitar
Paul Reyes: backup vocals, guitar
François “Canut” Reyes: backup vocals, guitar
Patchai Reyes: backup vocals, guitar
André Reyes: backup vocals, guitar
Diego Baliardo: guitar
Paco Baliardo: guitar
Tonino Baliardo: lead guitar
Jahloul “Chico” Bouchikhi was also a member of the Gipsy Kings, but quit after the album Mosaïque and the tour supporting it. He had issues with the album’s producers, which the other band members did not back. Bouchikhi, a co-founder of the band, lost the Gipsy Kings trademark. (He claims to have registered it after coming up with the name.) He founded a band of his own called “Chico and the Gypsies”.


1982: Allegria
1983: Luna de Fuego
1988: Gipsy Kings
1989: Mosaïque (European and North American track list varies)
1991: Este Mundo Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
1993: Love and Liberté (European and North American track list varies) Won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Album of the Year and Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
1995: Estrellas (European version of Tierra Gitana with “Forever”)
1996: Tierra Gitana (US version of Estrellas with “Los Peces en el Rio”) Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
1997: Compas Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
2001: Somos Gitanos
2004: Roots
2006: Pasajero
2013: Savor Flamenco Won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
Live albums
1992: Live Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album
2014: Gipsy Kings Live
Compilation albums
1990: Allegria (US Version) (merge of Allegria and Luna de Fuego minus four songs)
1994: Greatest Hits (includes new unreleased songs)
1995: The Best of the Gipsy Kings (includes new unreleased songs)
1996: Love Songs (European version of Cantos de Amor with “Gitano Soy”)
1998: Cantos de Amor (US version of Love Songs with “Gitano Soy”)
1999-2000: ¡Volaré! The Very Best of the Gipsy Kings (includes new unreleased songs)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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