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Interview: The Gipsy Kings!

Frances most successful musical outfit ever, the Gipsy Kings, will kick off their UK Tour this Saturday at the Manchester Apollo. We have a chat to the band to find out more.

Richard Dyer

Date published: 19th Oct 2007

France’s most successful musical outfit ever, the Gipsy Kings, will kick off their UK Tour this Saturday at the Manchester Apollo, followed by their debut at landmark venue for the arts, the Sage in Gateshead this Sunday, 21st October.  The tour culminates in two nights at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall on Monday 22nd & Tuesday 23rd October.

“The Gipsy Kings have made a specialty out of blending the passion and sounds of flamenco with the flavours of Latin America and Jazz” Daily Express

“The Gipsy Kings still sound remarkably fresh, classy and commercial” The Guardian

To celebrate, the Gipsy Kings have answered questions on their past, present and future, detailed below.
You come from humble beginnings and now are France’s best-selling musical outfit ever.  How do you stay grounded?
We have always lived in our gipsy community - there are more than 2000 people around us living together.  It helps keep us grounded.

Many people mistakenly think you are Spanish when in fact you are French.  What languages do you speak amongst yourselves?
We speak Catalan and also patois from Provence, sometimes we mix the two.  Our grandparents came from Barcelona that is why Catalan is our primary language.
Given your very extensive repertoire of work, is there one song you enjoy performing live above all others?
There are many that please the audience and us at the same time:  ‘un amor’;  ‘djobi djoba’; ‘baila me’ and many classics for us from the early times .  Also fandangos, which are traditional gipsy songs.
As well as writing your own material, you have covered other people’s songs such as Volare and Hotel California and completely made them your own.  Are there any other songs you would like to cover in the near future and if so, why?

Sometimes songs of other people work in our rumba way.  Yes, there are more songs to be done like this, many more, and maybe it could be a whole album of covers songs.  We will do it if we like those songs.

In addition to preparing for the tour what else are you up to at the moment?
Also working on a new recording album and finishing a broadway musical of Zorro.

Which artists who you would recommend to fans of your music who would like to learn more about the ‘gitano’ style?
First the master, Paco de Lucia, then singers like Camaron and many more flamenco classics.

Your line-up includes two bands of brothers and a brother-in-law!  Are there any problems which arise from working with family?

With family there are problems as with everyone else but the solutions are also easier than with everyone else.

Who in public life do you most admire and why?
We admire the people who are committed to do their best for human kind:  Ghandi, Mother Theresa… people like that.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever had and who was it from?
The best advice we got was from Ray Charles who told us to stick to our sound and never try sounding like someone else…..
Apart from your own band, which artist/band have you most enjoyed working with previously / is there any artist or band that you would find attractive collaborating with?
We like many bands.  We would like to collaborate with people like Eric Clapton, also great singers like Joe Cocker, Neville Brothers and many more….

Tour dates are as follows:
Sat 20th                 Manchester Apollo                                         0870 401 8000
Sun 21st                Gateshead, The Sage                                     0191 443 4661
Mon 22nd             London Royal Albert Hall                               020 7589 8212
Tue 23rd                                              

£35, £30 Manchester
£35 Gateshead
£40 (box seat), £38.50, £35, £30 London
For 24 hour booking please call the hotline 0870 735 5000 or visit
(agency & credit card bookings subject to booking fee)