Gitanos music ambassadors to the world, The Gipsy Kings, kicked off their 2015 world tour in Australia, with a stop at The Palais Theatre in St. Kilda, which is where I, along with the most culturally diverse audience ever, got to enjoy their amazing music (to the left of me, Chileans, in front, French, to the right, Greek, in the back, Japanese).
The Gipsy Kings, composed of two families, the Reyes from Arles and the Baliardos from Montpellier, France, have been performing since the 1960s, in theatres such as Carnegie Hall in New York, and for the likes of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Brigitte Bardot, among others.
Their first album, Gipsy Kings, was released more than twenty years later in 1987, featuring familiar flamenco-like music and vocals with a twist, with which they literally took the world by storm.
The Gipsy Kings’ roots are from Catalonia, Spain, so it’s no surprise that their music should have the same source of inspiration, but it’s been reinvented and transformed by these musical geniuses into a very unique style of music, which has been referred to by some as "Spanish flamenco and Romani rhapsody meet salsa funk," the result of which is mass appeal to all ages and all nationalities.
An example of this: their music has been featured in many diverse films, among them, the two polar opposites, The Big Lebowski (1998), ‘Hotel California’ and Toy Story 3 (2010), ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ (Buzz Español).
The Gipsy Kings’ performance at the Palais highlighted many favourite songs, such as ‘Djobi Djoba,’ ‘Un Amor,’ ‘Volare,’ and of course ‘Bamboleo,’ probably their most famous song, which the audience sang along to en masse.
Nicolas Reyes, the raspy yet soulful sounding lead singer, seems to have stepped straight out of one of The Gipsy Kings’ albums, sounding exactly, EXACTLY like he does on the recordings, usually a difficult feat, and making the experience even more amazing.
Due to safety reasons, audience members were not allowed to dance in the isles... some tried, but were immediately advised by Palais staff to return to their seats, which prompted boos and hisses from the rest of the patrons.
Alas, the show was unfazed, and the people could be seen bopping, shaking and shimming in their seats to the music which was clearly “electrifying” everyone down to their soul. I’m surprised there wasn’t an audience revolt. Eventually though, after the encore, everyone poured out into the aisles and released all the penned up energy they had been bottling up during the whole show. It was crazy fun.
The Gipsy Kings delivered, and they delivered good! The whole concert was mesmerizingly fabulous. It’s impressive, that after all these years, they still are kings in their craft (yes, pun intended).
Catch them before they leave Oz. They have one more show in Perth before taking off for their U.S. leg of the tour.
Venue: Palais Theatre | 12 Lower Esplanade , St Kilda Vic
Date: 10 Apr 2015
Tickets: $205.65 – $97.85